After 3 1/2 years I came up with a reasonable match for the cheese presently in use at the Shakey's corporate (Jacmar-owned) stores in California. With 20/20 hindsight, I am now kicking myself for not realizing this sooner.
El Segundo's original post was of no help to me when I first saw it because I didn't know anything about foodservice back then. But he nailed it. That cheese was frozen Leprino cheese. Maybe it can be called mozzarella, maybe it has to be called pizza cheese, but it is not the cheese discussed by Old Shakeys Cop and Lightmeter in their posts about the cheeses that were blended in the restaurants back in the day.
You know what's funny? Vistar used to be called Multifoods Distribution until 2002:http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=2456246http://www.answers.com/topic/international-multifoods-corporation
Even funnier, Leprino used to also have a foodservice business. They sold it to International Multifoods in 1994:http://www.answers.com/topic/leprino-foods-company
Thanks to this post from our member Jet_deck,http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=12806.msg124446#msg124446
I bet the farm and hauled my neighbor out to a Godfather's to taste their pizzas. He tells me the cheese was a close match for the cheese on the Shakey's he gets fresh out of the oven in California. So I froze some samples of Godfathers pizza and had a bakeoff of frozen Godfathers and frozen Shakey's brought back from California. Pretty close.
If any of the regulars want to PM me, I'll tell them how I connected the dots. Leprino probably pays someone to monitor the Internet so I gonna say 'nuthin publicly as well. The interesting thing about this cheese is that is has a long holding time even when kept warm. I have not found any other cheeses close in this regard. Earlier posts of mine discussing the characteristics of this cheese never elicited any solid leads.
I don't know if the formula of the Godfather's cheese and the Shakey's cheese is EXACTLY the same. It may contain flavoring as well. But it is a good cheese and seemingly better than what the Big 3 chains use on their pies.
Since Shakey's fills up their restaurants at lunch with their Bunch of Lunch buffet, I can see that they would like a cheese that has a long holding time. Godfather's franchisees also sell slices in their convenience stores, so this would be a good choice for them as well.
I don't have much chance of buying a 15 pound box of their foodservice cheese within a reasonable distance from home. I am considering hoisting up the white flag and using a quality blend of conventional cheeses instead. But the thrill of the hunt.........