Author Topic: Not your former Round Table or Shakey's Pizzas  (Read 3842 times)

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Offline Mad_Ernie

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Not your former Round Table or Shakey's Pizzas
« on: March 28, 2012, 09:56:03 PM »
I made a bi-annual pilgrimage to northern California from March 22-27, and of course on my to-do list were stops at least one Round Table Pizza restaurant and the Shakey's restaurant in Oroville.

On March 22, we stopped at the RT restaurant in Gridley, CA.  I have posted pictures of my previous visit there 2 years ago.  Before I continue, let me tell you that I will be posting more photos of this place, our pizzas, and the Shakey's in Oroville, but I am still catching up from our trip and have not gotten to downloading them from our camera yet.

Round Table Pizza, Gridley, CA:  We strolled in around 12:15 on a Thursday and by-passed the lunch buffet to order my two favorite topped pizzas: Italian sausage with mushrooms, and a standard Hawaiian pizza, both medium size.  While we were waiting, I started snapping off a few shots of the restaurant.  The owner was there and brought us our pizzas when they were ready.  He asked why I was taking photos, and I told him we were from out of town and don't have Round Table in the Heartland.  He nodded and went on his way.  A little later, he came back to check on us and asked what we thought of the pizzas.  I told him they were great.  He said "good", because ...  "Due to the new health laws in California, we recently had to change our dough recipe to take out the fat."  After he mentioned it, I began to detect a slight difference in the taste, but nothing drastic.  He said he has been a RT manager/owner for 31 years in that area (he opened one in Oroville and one in Yuba City before this one) and enjoyed making pizzas, but not as much eating them.  He said he liked the new crust better.  The owner said they do still use scraps from the day before, but in general the only difference to him is the dough does not last as long.  "Two days tops, then you have to throw it away."  He said the dough also rises a lot higher now, too.   I noticed the crust seemed a little crispier without the fat, but the flavor was not significantly different from what I remember about RT.  Granted, I only get an RT fix about once a year, so someone who goes more frequently and with less down-time in between might notice a difference.

This got me thinking (dangerous, I know).  Would RT's in locations outside of California (like Hawaii) have the same new dough formula, or would they continue to have the same old recipe?  And what about other pizza restaurants?  Like ... Shakeys??

So, on March 23, we spent some time in Oroville and then hightailed it over to the Shakey's restaurant there.  We ordered a vegetarian delight and my standard sausage with shrooms.  The pizza tasted as good as the last time I was there (2 years ago).  They use the old deck ovens, btw.  So, after a while, I saw the manager and I went up to her to compliment her on the fine cuisine.  She said her brother bought the place 5 years ago, and it has been there a total of 29 years.  She helps manage it.  I asked her about the dough.  She said that Shakey's had in fact changed the dough formula a week ago, but she was not sure if it was due to health laws or some other reason.  She then said that Shakey's had also gone to premade, frozen Mojo potatoes.  I had ordered some Mojo's with our order and found them to be better than I imagined (I am not a huge Mojos fan to begin with).  She seemed to think the reason for going to the frozen Mojo's was not only quicker and easier for the restaurants, but also because they cut out fat due to the California health laws.  Again, I might have noticed a slight change in the crust, but not a huge one.  I think this is partly because the sauces that RT and Shakey's use are rather herby and spicy with a "zing" to them, and they carry a fair amount of the flavor, as well as some of the toppings we had on our pizzas, like Italian sausage.  I will say the Shakey's did not seem as crisp as I expected, certainly not as crisp as the RT.

So, there you have it folks.  Any attempts to replicate what we remember about RT and Shakey's will have to be done without the aid of any further diving into dumpsters to retrieve discarded bags of flour mix.  Unless non-California locations are using the same old recipes (like Washington or Alabama for Shakey's or Hawaii for RT), they will be lacking any fat ingredient like shortening, vegetable oil, etc.

When I get my photos of the experience downloaded, I will post them in the restaurant review forum.

Keep on making those pizzas.   :pizza: :pizza: ;D

-ME
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 09:58:09 PM by Mad_Ernie »
Let them eat pizza.


Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Not your former Round Table or Shakey's Pizzas
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2012, 10:57:45 AM »
Interesting. Is this the much delayed trans fat law? or is this something new? Do you have a source to the law's content?

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: Not your former Round Table or Shakey's Pizzas
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2012, 10:31:44 PM »
Dan:

They did not specifically tell me what the law was.  I have done a little searching on the internet and from what I can tell, i think it has to do with the trans fat law.  I am puzzled as to why both restaurant chains recently made the change, though.  It looks like the law was meant to go into effect in 2008 or 2009.

publichealthlawcenter.org/sites/default/files/.../phlc-policy-trans-fat.pdf

-ME
Let them eat pizza.

Offline lightmeter

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Re: Not your former Round Table or Shakey's Pizzas
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2012, 08:48:07 PM »
I'm just back from the gocery store having purchased a shaker jar of Kraft Shredded Parmesan, Romano and Asiago cheeses. Smells just like vinegar feet. Sure, let's add that to our pizzas!  ;D

This is shredded cheese, not grated, so it isn't a dead-on replacement. However, it should suffice as a test ingredient to determine if this is the elusive missing ingredient, or one of them.

I'm really stretching my memory on this, so don't hold me to it, but I have the most vague recollection that the Shakey's shaker cheese was also from Kraft. It came in a 5 gallon bucket lined with a plastic bag. We always just called it Parmesan, or shaker cheese, so either we just finally gave up on the 7 cheese thing and were actually using just parmesan, or in fact we did use a blend, but just called it parmesan for short. I'm certain I never read the label. Maybe Old Shakey's Cop has some more details?

ME - do you recall in your recent Shakey's visit if Shakey's still offers cheese shakers at the tables? If so, that's the same stuff they're topping the pies with before cooking. It shouldn't be too difficult to get a sample of something left on every table...
« Last Edit: May 06, 2012, 12:18:24 AM by lightmeter »

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: Not your former Round Table or Shakey's Pizzas
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2012, 10:24:04 PM »
Lightmeter:

I honestly don't recall.  I never add grated parmesan or red pepper flakes or whatever else pizza restaurants put out to add or cover-up flavor, so I never pay attention to that stuff.  I went back and looked at the photos I took at the Shakey's in Oroville in March but they were close-ups and nothing of the entire table, so I don't even have that to rely on.

However, we visited the same Shakey's in Oroville exactly two years prior and I have a photo which I have attached of one of the longer table set-ups (remember those long tables from the old days with the bench seating?) and it shows napkin holders and salt & pepper shakers, but no other condiment shakers.

-ME
Let them eat pizza.

Offline Zing

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Re: Not your former Round Table or Shakey's Pizzas
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2012, 11:59:39 PM »
I have on my desk here 1 each of portion control packets of Parmesan and Crushed Red Pepper brought back from a corporate Shakey's. They come from Castle Importing and look exactly like in these pictures:
http://www.castleimporting.com/cheese/portioned_1g_crushed_red_pepper.php
http://www.castleimporting.com/cheese/portioned_3.5g_parmesan.php

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Not your former Round Table or Shakey's Pizzas
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2012, 12:04:57 AM »
Nice intel Zing.
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends

Offline lightmeter

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Re: Not your former Round Table or Shakey's Pizzas
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2012, 12:17:52 AM »
... (remember those long tables from the old days with the bench seating?) and it shows napkin holders and salt & pepper shakers, but no other condiment shakers. -ME
Ha - I do remember those long tables and stools. I actaully bought one of those tables from the owner just as he was shifting to a brass/fern theme in the store and replaced the tables. I had the table in the basement for about ten years before I finally moved it to the backyard and weather ate it up. I still have two of the stools. They're bullet proof.

As for the shakers on the tables, I'm having a rethink... They may not be on every table. We didn't place them on the tables either. It was too expensive and joe creepy public would steel us blind of the stuff. Red pepper too. They'd take a paper napkin, open it up, pour out the entire contents of a shaker jar, fold it up and stuff it in their wife's purse. Instead, we placed a dozen or so shaker jars on the pickup counter and customers would either use it there or take a shaker to their table. If, as Zing indicates, customers now have only tear-open packets available, then the question would be whether the prep stations are using the same product in bulk, or not.

Also reminds me of the day when one of our managers almost tackled a guy on the front porch. He had filled his entire brief case with Bunch-a-lunch chicken.


Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Not your former Round Table or Shakey's Pizzas
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2012, 01:58:56 AM »
Does the cheese blend ever need to be refridgerated? I worked at a parlour before and every night the shakers were collected, dumped out on baking paper, dumped into a bag and put in the cooler. If the shakers were put in the cooler directly they collected too much moisture and would not shake easily. 

We too kept them at the pick-up window. Not really to keep people from stealing, but because the employees were lazy and didn't want to put them out in the morning, then have to re-collect them at night.


Offline lightmeter

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Re: Not your former Round Table or Shakey's Pizzas
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2012, 10:05:02 AM »
Does the cheese blend ever need to be refridgerated?

I'm not one to speak about food safety, or cheese storage, but we never refrigerated the shaker cheese. It stayed in the plastic bag with a twisty to seal, in the plastic bucket, under the pickup counter. I can't imagine we went through more than a couple of buckets per year. Certainly, anything with oils and fat would risk going rancid but compare that to the image of aged cheeses hanging from the cellar rafters. There must be something in the hard cheeses that allows ambient storage.


Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Not your former Round Table or Shakey's Pizzas
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2012, 11:01:52 AM »
I think it just depends on the cheese and the moisture content. Certainly there are room temperature varieties that have most the moisture driven out of them. I would think this lends more to the fact that it was some cheese flavored powder. Could it have been a completely dry cheese with a coarse grind? Do you recall any moisture content to it at all?  Perhaps the storage requirements changed sometime since?

The place I worked did not use the little teardrop shaped shakers, they used the big fat tall ones which are very prone to the cheese packing down in there into a rock. I just remember we were always told NOT to add more cheese to the shaker when it was low, but rather to start a new one. If they get packed at the bottom, then you fill it with fresh cheese it never mixes in there and the bottom of the shaker gets rancid or grows stuff.

Do you know if this was a blend as you describe on the pizza?

Offline lightmeter

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Re: Not your former Round Table or Shakey's Pizzas
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2012, 03:43:19 PM »
I'd have to go with the dry cheese option, course grind - not a cheese flavored powder. It was very dry. Filling a tall shaker was mostly an exercise of using the plastic shaker jar as a shovel to dig and scrape the top of a very settled, hard packed, pre-grated cheese. Once in the jar, it stayed loose until used. In the heat of a rush, we'd refill an empty jar on the run, but every couple weeks, all remaining contents would either be dumped to trash or the bucket while all shakers were washed - and then refilled. I doubt you'd get away with that these days.

I can't answer whether we used a blend or not. We called it Parmesan, but who knows. It's stinky either way.

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Not your former Round Table or Shakey's Pizzas
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2012, 04:58:45 PM »
Perhaps it was so stinky because it was rancid in the shaker!  :-X

Offline lightmeter

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Re: Not your former Round Table or Shakey's Pizzas
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2012, 05:47:51 PM »
Stinky, rancid, feet. Finally, we've located that elusive aroma unique to only one pizza :-D