A sudden wave of nostalgia washed over me as I read Marshall King’s latest Quick Bites dispatch.
It brought back memories of Friday nights after football games, Saturday nights after basketball games, laughing with my high school buddies on just about any other occasion and playing video games in the back corner.
Shakey’s — or at least its much beloved fried chicken and mojos — is making a one-night comeback in Elkhart at the Knights of Columbus hall. The family who owned the local franchises will be preparing the two customer favorites from 3 to 6 p.m. Jan. 26. See Marshall’s post to find out how to buy tickets.
Why was Shakey’s so beloved? For me, it was the quintessential high school hangout for my generation. Its Nappanee Street location was only about a mile from Memorial High School, where I graduated in 1988. After football and basketball games, it was the place to be. When we talked about going out after the game, we didn’t have to say where. Everyone understood.
The food was reasonably priced and its lunchtime buffet of pizza, fried chicken and mojos (fried wedges of potatoes with a salty/crunchy coating) was right in the wheelhouse for hungry high school students. All you needed were a few bucks for pizza, pitchers of Coke and a handful of quarters for Galaga and you were set.
The Shakey’s on Nappanee Street closed down sometime in the mid-1990s. The building is gone (a car wash occupies the property) and I hadn’t given Shakey’s any thought for years. But it turns out they’re still around, with locations mostly on the West Coast. The chain changed hands several times in the 1980s and ’90s, during which time many locations closed before some franchisees took over the company.
It’s a little before my time, but here’s a commercial from the 1970s:
Maybe I’ll see you at the Knights of Columbus next month. Some friends plan on getting a group together to eat up the chicken and mojos and drink up the nostalgia.
What are your favorite memories of Shakey’s?