Restaurant of the Week: Shakey’s Pizza, Rancho Cucamonga

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Shakey’s Pizza, 12455 Victoria Garden Lane (at Monet), Rancho Cucamonga

While it’s rare that I write about a chain restaurant, I have a soft spot from childhood for Shakey’s, and the new location at Victoria Gardens, which opened in December 2009, was mentioned in our paper recently for its “green” features. It has bamboo flooring, recycles its oil for biofuel and has 100 percent recycled napkins. Oh, and they serve pizza, too.

The ragtime music, straw boaters and picnic seating are long gone, I’m afraid, but this Shakey’s still does a lunch buffet ($6.99) plus soda ($1.99) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, with chicken, “Mojo” potatoes and plenty of pizza. At the peak of lunch they had 10 pizzas on the buffet. Shakey’s is my favorite corporate pizza. I like the crispy crust. The buffet also has salad, as well as a watery pasta that should be avoided.

This Shakey’s has a bar with 12 beers on tap, including Sierra Nevada, Newcastle and Blue Moon. I sat at the bar because it’s the best seating for a solo buffet diner, read a Jack Smith book and sipped a Pepsi. The bar is said to be a twist on the “Ye Olde Public House” identity of the chain and an appeal to adults, not just families and youth sports teams.

The restaurant also plays up its own kitsch to good effect with vintage advertisements and signs from the chain’s glory days.

“Ye Olde Notice,” one reads. “Take advantage of Shakey’s generosity…Persons over 90 accompanied by parents receive free pizza.”

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  • Kathy

    I too have a fondness for Shakey’s that traces back to childhood. I was at the new Rancho location last week (which is definitely nice but is a far cry from the Shakey’s of my youth – what, no piano player?!) and I noticed another funny version of “Ye Olde Notice,” something to the effect of “In case of emergency, please remain seated until all employees have exited the building.”

    [Yeah, that one cracked me up too! -- DA]

  • Bob House

    In the early ’70s, Shakey’s pizza, fried chicken and mojo potatoes buffet (and a couple of beers, of course) made a great, cheap lunch. Amazing that after 40 years and 5 or 6 ownership changes, they’re still serving the same combination.

  • James Rodriguez

    As a kid in the mid to late ’60s this is where my parents took us for our birthday parties (pre Chuck-E-Cheese). It was fun, bench seating etc. We went to the one in La Puente and there was also one in El Monte?

  • Bob Terry

    Glad you made an exception from your chain ideals, because I am of that same mold. But Shakey’s has been a great addition to R.C., from being active members of the Chamber of Commerce, donating to non-profits and also participating in “Reading Buddies,” whereas business people read to local kindergarden children once or twice a month. They also have a great video game room for all the little (and big) ones.

  • Linda Frost

    I remember the first Shakeys Pizza on Holt Blvd, in Ontario? Montclair? It was next to a new shoe storeThom McAnn (sp). It was the first of the pizza parlors and got our high school dollars quite often. The whole concept of eating pizza with ones fingers was new. I did not know it was at Victoria Gardens, where I usually have lunch at CPK when shopping. I will have to branch out.

    [That Shakey's (in Montclair) is still in business and is the oldest continuously operating chain restaurant location in the Inland Valley, for whatever that's worth. I'll probably do a Restaurant of the Week about it sometime. And you're right about Thom McAn having been next door. -- DA]

  • Bob Terry

    Stop the presses! Pomona had a Shakey’s, too. Of course it was in North Pomona…shangri-la. It was on the corner of Garey & La Verne Ave…behind an Orange Julius and across the street from M & I Surplus.

    [It's now a Sizzler. -- DA]

  • Charles Bentley

    GREETINGS:
    Sorry to say, David, you’re a bit north on your visualization of the Shakey’s in Pomona. As Bob Terry said, it was on the NE corner of Garey & La Verne, which today is a Mexican Restaurant (Las Margaritas?). The Sizzler is further north, closer to Arrow Highway.

    This was the “bunch-o-lunch” buffet of choice when I was in college. Very popular, especially on beautiful spring days when you could go and have lunch and then enjoy a warm afternoon — unless of course you had a one o’clock class and ran the risk of falling asleep during the lecture!

    When I was growing up, the two local pizza places my family frequented were Capri Pizza on Fourth Street in Ontario (it was in the Alpha Beta Center, now the newly refurbished JAX Market center) and the Straw Hat Pizza Palace on Central Avenue in Montclair (what was then the K-Mart Center, located where Costco is now).

    [You're right, I mixed up the location. I do remember a Shakey's in existence circa 1999 with a pole sign along Garey, an image that matches the Sizzler location today. Either I'm totally wrong (quite possible) or the Shakey's you two remember later relocated north and then went out of business. -- DA]

  • Bob Terry

    The Sizzler is a block north, closer to Arrow. The Shakey’s on La Verne sat back from Garey Ave. and is now a mexican (mariscos something) restaurant. A taco stand fronts Garey which used to be the Orange Julius.

    [So there's no chance Shakey's moved in the '90s and the Sizzler only came later? Well, maybe not; it seems that way to me, but memory can be tricky. In any event, I ran a photo of the Shakey's message sign in March 1999 (just found the clipping) in which the "everyday lunch buffet" appears to be priced at "$49" (the final 9 fell off). Ha ha. Oh, and I love that taco stand and am delighted to know it's a former Orange Julius. -- DA]

  • Bob House

    I just saw a mention on the “Daily Taco” website of Guasalmex restaurant on Holt in Pomona (guasalmex.com) and I’m wondering if you have been there. Sounds interesting: food from Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico, hence the name.

    [I have. Not for a writeup, but I believe if you search for the name on my blog, you'll find a mention of it back in '07 when the mayor of Pomona and I ate there. -- DA]

  • Ygnacio Palomares

    As “we” like to say…”no way, Jose.” They did not switch locations at anytime. The Sizzler is just down the street from my beloved Adobe…which is open to the public only on Sundays. I urge all of your followers to stop by and visit. Vaya con dios!

  • robert bunch

    i wonder if james remembers hanks pizza and pool in la puente. it was the place to go.