Diner A and his ohana made a first-time visit to the newly-opened Shakey’s Pizza Parlor in Waipahu Town Center this past Sunday evening, and left fairly satisfied by their first impression.
Being a new and exciting restaurant — add to that the nostalgia factor (which will be explained in a bit) — it’s no surprise Shakey’s was PACKED, even on a Sunday night. Luckily they were able to get a booth without a problem.
Wait, booth you say? One of the most memorable things I remember about the “old school” Shakey’s were their communal style wooden bench tables and seating. LONG tables and benches.
How do I remember that? Well, Shakey’s was once a very popular Pizza chain on Oahu back in the 60’s up until somewhere around 1980 when they finally pulled out. Back then, Shakey’s had locations in Waimalu, Waipahu, Honolulu (where Sorabol now is) and, yes, in my hometown of Kaneohe.
Another key feature I remember about the old Shakey’s was the window in front where you could watch the Pizza chef prepare and spin the dough, tossing and spinning it in the air. Which as you may imagine for very young keiki like me and pals at the time, was absolutely CAPTIVATING. Add to that, back then when we didn’t have the likes of Pizza Huts, Domino’s or Papa John’s, and Shakey’s was really the only game in town at the time. So pizza was a novelty for just about everyone.
Do I remember how good (or bad?) Shakey’s Pizza tasted back then? Heck no. You could probably give a 5 year old ketchup on toast with a little cheese melted on it and tell them that’s pizza and they’d run off with it as a happy camper. lol
What other things about the “old school” Shakey’s in Kaneohe do I remember? Not much, as I was way too young. Just the small arcade room in the back, which being during the “pre video game era”, most of the games there were electronically-scored mechanical Pinball Machines and I think one Skee-ball game. Some folks mentioned they had a live Banjo Player, which I think I VAGUELY can remember the Kaneohe location did indeed have one.
Location-wise, Shakey’s Kaneohe was formerly on the lot on the makai side corner of Kamehameha Hwy. and Lilipuna Rd., across the street from American Savings Bank (corner of Kamehemeha Hwy. and Kahuhipa St.), which back in the day was HonFed. Remember that bank? Talk about OLD SCHOOL!
Fast-forward to Shakey’s 2010, they’re back with a fresh and modern look…
Decor-wise, the only thing I also VAGUELY remember is that the Kaneohe location had high ceilings (perhaps with ceiling fans) and was very “rustic”. Perhaps a brick house tavern or pub look, but I can’t specifically recall. Gosh, I wish I had photos!
I’m just VERY DISAPPOINTED this new Shakey’s doesn’t feature the “window” in front showcasing Pizza cooks/chefs spinning fresh dough. Us kids REALLY loved watching them do that. According to Diner E, the only window is a “view” of the kitchen in back, which is about chest-high from an adult’s vantage point, and that’s about it. Boo!
While not available for dinner, Shakey’s offers an all-you-can-eat lunchtime buffet for $12.99. This includes Pizza, Pasta and a Salad Bar, which are presented on this (at the time vacant during dinner) buffet station…
The dining room is surrounded by booth seating…
While in the center are open tables that can be arranged into one or however many connected tables your party requires. This is where the nostalgia comes into play, as that I suppose is their 2010 “modular” answer to the circa 1965 communal-length wooden bench tables and chairs.
There’s also a number of big screen TVs throughout the place broadcasting live sports, so once beer and wine service kick, this place can act as part sports bar as well; except sans the bar, as there is none.
Just like the old school setup, the new school Shakey’s continues the tradition of keeping the keiki (and keiki at heart) entertained with an arcade room in back…
Don’t mind the “smiley” faces on those folks. They aren’t “Pizza Parlor robbers” or anything like that. That’s just Diner A’s wife and son (anonymously) enjoying some of the game room action. They sure LOOK happy! lol Oh, the games are $1 each via tokens.
This is the arcade room’s prize redemption counter…
Man, I wish I could rewind the clock and be 5 years old again. That would be SO AWESOME. Damned it. lol
Moving on to the GRINDZ.
The way the system works here is that there’s a menu board that greets you just as you enter. But don’t dwell there yet. Diner A recommends before deciding what you want to order to first go hunt for an open table, have someone in your party sit there and reserve your table, while you go back to the menu board in front and decide what to get.
After that, you go to the front service counter and place your order and pay, to which they’ll give you an electronic tracker “key” with a number on it. Then you go back to your table and stick this electronic tracker key (lucky #13) in a puka (hole) on the top of this contraption (where it says “3 easy steps”). This in turn tells the food runner which table you’re sitting at so he/she knows where to bring your order when it’s ready. This electronic key tracking “contraption” looks like this…
Pretty cool. Perhaps they’ll one day introduce an iPhone App’ for Shakey’s Pizza Parlor customers, so they won’t need to use this, but will be able to have their order delivered wherever they or their iPhone are located. Shoots, I bet that already exists!
There’s no host/hostess or wait service here, but strictly self-serve, along with a manager on duty to make sure you know what’s going on. The only personalized service you’ll receive are food runners who bring you your order.
Need another drink? All self-serve. Need more food? Go back to the order counter, place your order, get another tracker tag, and return to your table and the food runners will bring it to you when it’s ready.
Speaking of drinks, while not yet available, draft beer and wine service will be coming soon.
With that, Diner A’s gang decided to try ‘Shakey’s Special’ Pizza…
Diner A noted that he wanted the ‘Thick Crust’, but was told they were sold out of that style and only had ‘Thin Crust’. Can’t they just take two ‘Thin Crust’ dough, combine it together and make a ‘Thick Crust’? Nah, that would throw of their inventory numbers. Common’ now, this is franchise involving corporate. Gotta’ keep the number “right”. Tell that to a mom ‘n pop Pizzeria and they’d probably have the mob aftah’ yah’. lol
Accompanying their ‘Shakey’s Special’ was a side of their ‘Mojo’s’…
Rounding out their dinner, some Wings…
Here’s a closer look at each one of that on a plate…
An even closer look at that what I would have aptly named “Meatlover’s Pie”…
A bite-through view of the ‘Mojo’s’…
So what’s the verdict?
Pretty good, but certainly not “The World’s Greatest Pizza” as they declare on their menu.
He said the thin crust had a great toasty “thing” goin’ on, while having good rigidity and substance; not being soggy or saggy in the center (which thin crusts can suffer from for various reasons). While he has yet to try Shakey’s ‘Thick Crust’, until then, he’s giving “Best Chain Pizza” to Pizza Hut’s Deep Dish model, which is one of my faves for sure!
Oddly enough, he says the Marinara sauce tasted a bit on the sweet side. Not where it ruined it, but enough where you noticed it. Which has me asking you folks who’ve been to Shakey’s recently whether you had that same impression. I’m curious.
Along with that toasty thin crust, the generous toppings certainly satisfied their pizza hunger, with that one large pie more than enough for the four of them (2 adult, 1 teen and one child). I’m personally (at least vicariously) digging all them olives and ‘shrooms tossed on there!
As for the ‘Mojos’, they were very tender inside the fairly-thin scallop-sliced potatoes, and golden-crispy-fresh-made outside, or “GBD” (golden-brown-delicious), with just a mild hint of spicy seasoning mixed in the batter coating. Diner A did say the Ranch Dipping sauce from the Wings was a big help kickin’ it up. While they enjoyed it, he thinks for the extra price, the ‘Mojo Supreme’ with all the Nacho style toppings would be the way to go next time around.
The wings had a sweet honey glaze to it, while being tender inside, but he didn’t necessarily say juicy. Although he could be wrong, he thinks they’re shipped frozen and baked (not deep-fried) to order. Definitely not made from scratch, which is nearly impossible to find at franchise operations. It’s just the nature of the business. Everything from the dough to the sauce to the sides are all centrally-made and shipped out frozen.
Overall, considering the clean, fresh and modern theme, family-fun atmosphere, the nostalgia factor (for Diner A and his wife as adults who grew up and remember the original here in Hawaii), overall good-yet-not-great pizza and sides and fair prices, they give the new Shakey’s in Waipahu 3 SPAM Musubi.
Shakey’s Pizza Parlor
Waipahu Town Center
94-060 Farrington Hwy #D3
Waipahu, HI 96797
Tel. (808) 677-1919
Shakey’s Waipahu location menu (<—click to download PDF)
P.S. Diner A’s Shakey’s Pizza “Doggy Bag” (or should we call it “Banjo Bag”)….