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The First Shakey's Pizza 1954


Last Edited: January 9, 2015, 5:08 pm

Yes,this is it,lol. I took this picture back in the 80's while waiting for my sister to get off work. It is just a few blocks from my house. This was her first job, my second. We both worked together here for awhile.

Ah...the old days. I can still smell the pizza. My sis wound up being an assistant manager. Me? I did everything. Made the pies, worked the bar,mopped the floors. I think my favorite time was spent in the dishwashing room. I liked to hide away and listen to smooth jazz on the radio all night. There wasn't even a dishwasher, besides me. Everything was washed by hand.

On Friday and Saturday nights there was a live dixieland jazz band. We were always packed. I loved the little stage in the back. It had a piano there and after we closed I'd go play sometimes. So I had my 15 seconds of solo fame,lol. It was probably the only time Beethoven's Fur Elise was played on that stage.

Upstairs were a bunch of rooms that used to be apartments. We used it for storage. There was always talk of it being haunted. I never witnessed a ghost but always felt a little "spooked" especially at 1 O'clock in the morning when I used to get stuck closing up. Luckily I was never there by myself.

The building is still there. It closed as Shakey's in the mid 90's but 2 other restaurants have come and gone since then. It's closed at the moment,nothing there. Before the first restaurant opened I peeked inside the window and saw how much remodeling they did. It was sort of disheartening...it didn't look the same, of course. 

One time I was on the phone during my shift with a friend of mine. He'd just been to see the Rolling Stones and was telling me all about it. My back was to the register. I wasn't paying any attention but I did heard some rustling. My co-worker was talking to a customer (I presumed) and I heard the register open.

A few seconds later, my co-worker was jabbing his finger in my arm saying, "Get off the phone, we just got robbed!" LOL. The guy actually had a gun. Here I was 2 feet away and I didn't notice a thing. Crazy. Must have been a dumb robber...who robs a pizza joint on a Monday night? I think he got away with about $300. And it was EARLY in the night too. LOL

My mother told me when she was a teenager,she and her sister used to wake up their dad at midnight on the weekends to go get a pizza here. Same place,lol. She always talked about how delicious it was.

Well...by the time I got there in the 80's it was still okay but as time progressed the quality of the ingredients got cheaper. The sauce came out of a box and the cheese was like little pellets, not freshly grated. 

It's too bad when you watch an institution go down the tubes. This place was really rockin' in its day but gradually, like most things, went downhill through the years. Near the end of my time here, my boss quit and they had nobody to replace him. So guess who wound up with the keys to lock up? Yep, me. I used to put the bag of money in the floor safe every night. (Not that there was that much,lol) Then I'd lock the door and my dad would be waiting for me in front to drive me home.

One late night I was locking the door and this drunk man came up and was trying to get past me to go inside. I saw my dad watching from the car...I could see his mouth moving like he was yelling something but the windows were rolled up so I couldn't hear what he was saying. He was also beeping the horn trying to get the guy's attention I guess. (big help,dad,LOL) I wound up pushing the dude real hard and he stumbled away and I got into the Ford Granada and we made our escape.

Funny the things you remember. I didn't feel like I was in danger or anything. (Maybe I should have seeing as my dad didn't even get out of the car to help me,lol) It all just happened so fast,I don't think anyone knew what to do.

This was my second pizza job. I was a traitor coming from Round Table,lol. But me and RT had an ugly parting. (That's another blog) Talk about fresh pizza,though. They had 2 prep people working in the morning, one for just the salad bar! (That was me!) I used to chop the lettuce,cut the cucumbers,tomatoes,onions. Open and drain the cans of kidney and garbanzo beans. Chop up eggs.

I eventually became the main prepper later on. Yep, making dough,(man,was that heavy!) putting the sauce together, grating all the cheese,slicing mushrooms. I also had to slice all the deli meats and onions. (Had to wear goggles for that) They used to have the greatest sandwhiches back then but no more.

Pizza Pizza! For years after I quit those jobs I rarely ate it. Even to this day I don't crave it.

I left them all behind with arms full of burn marks from taking pizza out of the brick ovens. They've finally all faded.

But my memories will live on........   

Entry #110


Coin TossComment by Coin Toss - January 9, 2015, 4:55 pm
Great post lottolaughs, thanks for sharing.

I was stationed at Ft Ord, CA (Monterey) in the mid 1970s and going to Shakey's on payday was our out for the month. (Military pay wasn't much then and at that I was an E-6 over 10 years service).
jarasanComment by jarasan - January 10, 2015, 2:35 pm
I miss Shakey's in Bethesda MD. they had beer taps coming out of the wall and the pizza bar was fantastico.

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