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Heard the Latest? Shakey's Pizza Still 'World's Greatest'
Foodie Fare

Heard the Latest? Shakey’s Pizza Still ‘World’s Greatest’

Story By Sarah Pacheco Photos By Lawrence Tabudlo
May 29 - June 4, 2011

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There’s pizza, and then there’s pizza from Shakey’s Pizza Parlor. Touted as the “World’s Greatest Pizza,” a slice from the international chain tastes distinctly different from other major pizza brands.

  • Shakey's Special, featuring salami, pepperoni, Italian sausage, seasoned ground beef, mushrooms and black olives ($10.49, small; $17.49, medium; and $22.99, large).
  • Shakey's owner Brad Vandeman has fun on one of the many games available inside of Shakey's Game Room.
  • Golden Fried Chicken breaded in a secret recipe and fried to a crisp golden brown, ($9.49, 4 pieces) served with Mojos ($18.99, 8 pieces).
  • Spicy Wings served with a choice of sauce ($5.99, 4 pieces; $10.99, 8 pieces; and $15.99, 12 pieces).
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“The Shakey’s traditional thin crust is well-known, and the sauce is more on the sweeter side tomato sauce, which I think, with all the different kinds of toppings and specialty pizza options, really bring out the flavors of the pizza,” says local owner Brad Vandeman. “I don’t want to knock the competition, because we’re all different, but you’ll just have to try it for yourself!”

With a menu that boasts eight unique specialty flavor combinations, Vandeman says the No. 1 seller among locals is the Shakey’s Special. A true meat lover’s dream, the popular pie comes loaded with salami, pepperoni, Italian sausage, seasoned ground beef, mushrooms and black olives all piled atop Shakey’s traditional thin crust (a thicker pan crust may be substituted for $1 extra).

“Shakey’s was here 30 years ago, and I think a lot of people remember the Shakey’s Special,” Vandeman says. “And it’s a good pizza!”

Other pizzas worth trying include the Big Island BBQ, a sweet-spicy blend of barbecue sauce, ham, jalapeno sausage, sweet pineapple and bacon, as well as the Rustic Chicken, a pasta-inspired pizza made with sliced chicken breast, mushrooms, fresh cilantro and Alfredo sauce.

“My favorite pizza is the Firehouse,” Vandeman admits, referring to the hot ‘n’ spicy dish made with hot sliced sausage, spicy Italian sausage, pepperoni, red onions, diced tomatoes and fresh basil.

“We also have a Garden Veggie pizza that’s really popular with the vegetarians,” he adds. “Really, you can’t go wrong. I love any of the pizzas.”

All pizzas are available in small ($10.49), medium ($17.49) and large ($22.99) portions, or create your own from a list of meats and veggies (prices vary).

Make the meal complete with a side order of Shakey’s spicy chicken wings, golden fried chicken and Mojos, which are thinly sliced potatoes that are lightly battered in a special blend of spices and fried until perfectly golden brown.

“Mojos are our version of french fries, if you will, and they’re one of Shakey’s signature items,” Vandeman says, adding that for a real deal, customers can sample all of Shakey’s signature items in the Bunch of Lunch all-you-can-eat buffet, open between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Starting June 1 through Aug. 31,” he adds, “it’s going to be $9.99 ($4.99 for keiki) all summer long for the lunch buffet, which includes pizza, pastas, our famous Mojo potatoes, garlic bread and all-you-can-eat salad bar.”

On the Side

While Shakey’s Pizza Parlor may be new to foodies younger than 30, older generations hold fond memories of trips to the family-friendly franchise for some pizza, potatoes, fried chicken and fun.

The first Shakey’s opened in 1954 in Sacramento, Calif., by Sherwood “Shakey” Johnson, and by the 1970s, additional Shakey’s locations had sprouted up throughout the nation, including locally in Honolulu, Pearl City, Kaneohe and Schofield Barracks.

All four Hawaii Shakey’s closed before 1980, but by 2010, Brad Vandeman decided it was time to reintroduce Shakey’s to the local dining scene.

“It’s been 30 years since Shakey’s has been in Hawaii, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to bring it back,” says the Hawaii franchise owner.

“My plan is to open two more,” he adds, “and it can be anywhere in the state. I don’t have exact locations yet, but we have started to put feelers out there.”

Shakey’s opened last February in Waipahu Town Center, near American Savings Bank and Longs Drugs fronting Farrington Highway. Housed within the 5,624-square-foot space is a dining room equipped with long, communal tables and cushy booths for more private gatherings. There also are five flat-screen TVs that broadcast sports games and, immediately behind the eating space, a game room filled with numerous pursuits for keiki and keiki-at-heart.

“Shakey’s is very big on family, food and fun, and what’s great about that (concept) is that parents can come here to watch a game and kids can go have fun in the game room,” Vandeman says.

Another way Shakey’s puts its patrons first is through offering fundraising opportunities to sports teams, schools and other organizations.

“We call it ‘fun-raising’ because you can basically come in here and we do everything — we cook to order, they have a 2-hour time period to raise their funds, and 20 percent of food sales goes back to the charity,” Vandeman explains. “And what’s great about it is that people can come in here, eat and leave, and we take care of all the cleanup.”

To learn more, visit shakeyshawaii.com.

Shakey’s Pizza Parlor

  • Where
    • Waipahu Town Center
    • 94-060 Farrington Highway
    • Waipahu, HI 96797
  • Call
    • (808) 677-1919
  • Hours
    • 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Sunday – Thursday
    • 11 p.m. – 11 p.m.
    • Friday – Saturday
  • Notes
    • Ample free parking available.
  • Website