Shakey's Pizza & Buffet to close on June 30
By Pat Miller
Posted: June 24, 2008
Shakey's Pizza & Buffet on 96th & National in West Allis is closing after 37 years in business. Built in 1971, this Shakey's location was one of six in the Milwaukee area and is the last in Wisconsin.
The Shakey's Pizza chain began in Sacramento, CA in 1954 when Sherwood "Shakey" Johnson and Ed Plummer opened a parlor in a remodeled grocery store. They served beer and pizza and provided jazz band entertainment which eventually evolved into banjo and piano "sing-a-longs" with the words to the songs projected onto a screen. Long wooden tables with stools and an open kitchen further encouraged the family style atmosphere that made the Shakey's Pizza Parlors a wildly popular meeting place in the 1960's and 1970's.
The chain modified its concept in the 1980's and early 1990's to include buffet lines that included not only the traditional pizza, chicken and mojos but also a great variety of other foods and an extensive salad bar. In addition, large redemption game rooms were added to replace the live entertainment in order to keep the "fun" in a visit to Shakey's.
As the parent company of Shakey's struggled under the burden of frequent ownership changes, franchisees began closing their restaurants in large numbers in the mid to late 1990's until only a handful remained east of the Rockies. Today there are just two in Georgia, one in Wisconsin and about fifty on the West Coast.
The last day of operation for the Shakey's Pizza & Buffet in West Allis will be June 30. While it is still a popular destination for large groups and those who crave its signature pizza, chicken and mojos, its owners have decided to focus on other business interests.