The Ghost of Shakey’s Pizza Parlor

What you’re looking at on the east side of the Broadway Theater is the ghost of Shakey’s Pizza Parlor. Notice the outline of the chimneys and the roofing tar.

It took a little time to figure out what had been there because the 1968 City Directory didn’t have a listing for the Broadway Theater, but it DID have Shakey’s Pizza Parlor (Rivermart, Inc.) at 801 Broadway. The 1979 directory listed both businesses.

Pair charged in Arson in 1981

The front page of the May 24, 1981, Missourian showed a photo of Shakey’s Pizza with a story that said that two Cape Girardeau men were charged with arson and burglary as the result of a fire that heavily damaged Shakey’s Pizza Parlor at 801 Broadway early Saturday morning. I won’t name the two because I didn’t bother to track the outcome of the case.

Sgt. Jack Reubel, a special arson investigator … said there were “five points of origin of fire” in the basement and dining area of the pizza parlor. The resulting fire heavily damaged the rear areas of the basement and dining area and caused extensive smoke damage to the upstairs portion of the building, according to firefighters.

Shakey’s and Broadway sold in 1985

  • A June 9, 1985, business column by Frony said that the old Broadway Theater and a building adjacent to its east side were acquired by Vinyard Christian Fellowship from Kerasotes Missouri Theaters, Inc.  The theater closed March 15, 1984. The adjacent two-story building had been unused since a fire several years ago had gutted the ground floor, occupied by Shakey’s Pizza Parlor. The second floor was once occupied by offices of the old Southeast Missouri Telephone Co.
  • Fred Lynch has Frony pictures of the Blizzard of ’79, including photos of Broadway being plowed.
  • Ray Owen’s January 10, 1994, business column reported that “the fire-damaged structure which housed Shakey’s Pizza Parlor more than a decade ago, is being demolished to make way for a parking lot for Kerasotes Theaters. The building was recently acquired by Kerasotes Theaters, which owns the movie house adjoining the structure. [This is a little confusing because Frony’s 1985 column said Kerasotes sold the property in 1985 and that the Broadway closed in 1984. Did the deal with the church fall through and did it reopen as a theater later?]
  • Shakey’s Pizza and Dino’s Pizza must have had something good called Mojo Potatoes, based on the number of references I saw to them. Susan McClanahan ran a recipe for some that were supposed to be similar.
  • Recent photos of the Broadway Theater







29 Replies to “The Ghost of Shakey’s Pizza Parlor”

  1. Ken, we originally owned and operated Shakey’s starting back in the 60’s. We sold it when we got busy with McDonald’s. Wish I could remember exactly how to make the mojo potatoes,but the ones Dino’s serve now are close .

  2. I drank many a beer, ate many pieces of chicken, ate many mojo potatoes and pizza slices at the Shakey’s on Broadway back in the late 60’s (while under 21) to the late 1970’s. Their claim to fame were the 750 degree ovens that were never shut off. I remember it was owned by a man whose last name was Breeding. They had great food and good specials for beer to attract customers. One of my roommates worked there, Mike Ebert, in the summer of 1973. Those were the days.

  3. In the mid 90’s Kerasotes used the Broadway Theater for $1 show theater. I don’t really remember when it opened or closed but I remember going there.

  4. My Shy Reader friend sent this info:

    Before it was Shakey’s, that building housed the Cape Girardeau Bell Telephone Co. The company bought the building in June 1910 from Will and Jacob Stone, who
    had used it as a grocery store.

    It apparently took some time to move into the new quarters. I found a note in January 1911 that the telephone personnel were settled in the building.

    The company moved across the street to its new building in about 1930.

    By the way, I’m old enough to remember Shakeys, somewhat fondly.

    They always had the greasiest pizzas! I remember we stopped there after a movie one evening. When the pie arrived, we found a napkin pasted to the underside of
    the pizza. Don’t think we ate there much after that. 🙂

  5. My brother Tim Luckett and his football friends use to wait until patrons would leave then go sit down and finish their pizzas and beer. Those were hard times
    back in the day. There was also a p;iza bar named the Last Chance right down the street from shakeys. I use to make pizzas there. Does anyone else remember the Last Chance Saloon?

  6. I’ll have a medium, pepperoni and shrimp,onions, bell pepper and mushrooms!!!!! Bring on the Guiness!!! Oh, my loving mind and memories of Shakey’s from ’65-’68, way too many calories ago!!! What gustatory revelations were achieved there remain secreted within many hearts!!!! Loved the trip down “Shakey’s” lane!!!! Be Well.kkr

  7. Ken, I am one of the Ghosts. I worked at Shakey’s and lived upstairs in “69” and “70” as did my roommate Bill Lee. Bill and I did a lot of Dirt Bike Racing during those years and on any given night the back office of Shakey’s doubled as our dirt bike workshop. Bill was on the SEMO Cross Country team in “68” and owned an Orange GTO Judge that some of you might remember seeing around town about that time, usually speeding according to Officer Jack Reubel’s claims. He was never able to catch us but would come by Shakey’s later and give us HEQQ. Jerry and Judy Davis sold Shakey’s to Bob Breeding in early “70” and I stayed on until I left for the Army in April. Bill Lee, who also worked at McDonalds stayed on for a few more months before leaving Cape.

    I’ve lived in Kansas City for the last 20 years. Bill Lee has been in Colorado since the mid “70s” and is the Sole Propreitor of Laughing Valley Ranch. Here’s his Website for those who might be interested. It’s my guess that few will recognize him on his website. Before you click be prepared and get a grip:)

    What fun memories. Thanks for all you do. We always link to Amazon through your site, hope it helps.

  8. This site looks like the 1950s Tinkoff Drug Store where we enjoyed fountain service cherry cokes, shakes, and sundaes.

    1. My Mom worked at Tenhkoffs behind the counter. Probably in the 40’s. I remember her talking about it. Also….I believe my grandfather, John Herbst built the building that formerly housed Howards Sporting Goods. I know he had a business there before Prohibition. Mom said they ran a little cafe there too. It was bought several years ago by SEMO and torn down.

  9. Not sure about the Bell Telephone Story, Jerry and I Started Shakey’s and the building was previously a pharmacy. They used a bank vault to store prsecription drugs in and Jerry and I used Jack Hammers and scaffolding to remove it from the middle of the building space. It took two weeks to get it out. My understanding was that a bank had owned the building before the pharmacy. I miss my piano player!! Never found a better pizza.
    I have a picture of Shakey’s on the site

    1. Yo’ Bob… I was one of your pizza makers in Cape while attending classes at SEMO. The “Shakey’s Way” of making a pizza was the absolute best, enduring the toppings were generous. The place was fun, too, with music and conversation that was only interrupted by the speaker announcement, “Pizza order number such and such, pick up please”.

  10. My favorite Shakey’s pizza was Italian sausage and black olives. Their lunch buffet was awesome. I got the only swat of my life from taking Gay Gilbert there during lunch one day when we were supposed to be doing page layouts for the Cape Central school newspaper. Mrs. Lockhart somehow caught us. Coach King really wound up on me. It was a swat or a detention, which during football practice would have resulted in one of Coach Lynch’s favorite Memory Drills. All it took was one of those and you never forgot. Keep up the great work, Ken!

  11. Minor detail: Frony did not get out in two feet of snow to take those pictures, I did. (I’m sure if you would have been there he would have sent the kid to do it.) Thanks for the post. I remember the MoJo’s while watching a Three Stooges movie shown on the wall at Shakey’s.

    1. Sorry for not giving credit where credit was due. Yeah, in 1979 you’d have still been The Kid.

      Interesting how Frony tended to tell ’em to “send The Kid” back in my day, too, when it involved getting up early, staying out late or getting cold and wet.

      Just goes to show that with age comes wisdom.

  12. Mike Tayloe left out the part that he and Bill kept their motorcycles in the deep cellar underneath Shakey’s and had to ride them up and down the steps.

    He also didn’t mention our captured Horned Owl that was a guest upstairs for a few weeks that got loose at least once and was running around on top off the suspended ceiling downstairs.

    While in college friends and I spent a lot of time in the pharmacy drinking Cherry cokes before Shakey’s came into being.

  13. I worked with Bob Breeding who owned Shakey’s after purchasing from the Davis’ until some of his employees torched it. During the 1970’s Shakey’s had everything including beer, great food, streakers, and fights.

  14. Wonder whatever happened to Smitty, the piano player??
    Great guy and lots of good music! Old upright piano, I think!

    I also remember the pharmacy and cherry cokes! Anyone have pictures of the soda fountain or the inside of Shakeys??

  15. I moved to Cape Girardeau in 1950 to 118 N. Ellis Street. The drug store on the corner was Tenkhoff Drug Store until Bill Smirl bought it and moved it across the street and it became Bill’s Pharmacy. In the back of Tenkhoffs Mr. Freeman opened the Sea Drift Cafe. There were three Freeman girls, Martha and Christy ’64. I cannot remember the third one. Martha was on KFVS TV. Tenkhoffs became Shakey’s pizza parlor. Tenkhoffs was still around in 1964-1965 because I used to use the pay phone there.

  16. In 1992 I was in Manila, the Philippines, to get married. A couple of days before the wedding the
    future Mrs. K. took me to a place called Shakeys,
    both of us being fond of fried chicken. The place
    also served pizza, beer, — and mojo potatoes!
    My memories of the Shakeys in Cape were already dim,
    but I could swear the sign outside and the decor
    were the same as the one in Manila …and the
    restaurant was on Broadway!

  17. Ken I’m one of the ghosts of Shakeys also. I worked for Bob Breeding from May of 1971 to May of 1972 when I graduated. Bob had the old Datsun jeep.Bob called everyone “Chief” in those days. But when I moved to San Diego in 1974 wrote a letter of recommendation for me. Whenever myself and another friend of mine would visit Cape to party from St. Louis after we graduated we would stop by & see Bob. If it was busy he would ask us “Chief can you get those guys a beer at the bar” just as it we still worked there. I made a recent trip just last month to visit St. Louis to visit my sister. We drove to Cape to pick up her daughter my niece completing her freshman year. This was my first visit to Cape since 1974. I didn’t expect it to look the same after 40 yers but was sad to see that parts of Broadway were run down and boarded up.I also remember the Last Chance. It was nice to see that Sheivelbines Music was still in business. I bought my first guitar there for $35. I also remember Bill Lee and his orange Judge but don;t think he remembers me. Great article
    Bill Baluka Escondido CA SEMO class of 1972

  18. So were the employees that burned down Shakey’s brouht to justice? Why did they burn it?

    I graduated CHS in 1996 so this was a bit before my time, but I find all this Cape history so interesting.

  19. I lived at the very top of the chance in the attic for 1 year. Carl charged us $65/month “all utilities paid” 1 big room with a kitchen that stuck out over the roof on broadway. Bob Burgess, the chance manager lived below us and used to yell at me for playing “freebird” too loud after drinking downstairs in the bar. I used to bartend there as well with “jughead” a sig ep. this was all in the early 70’s

    1. henbo

      my brother tim & i used to frequent the last chance
      and shakeys. i too lived above the chance in 1974.
      carl didnt charge me rent. i left with ron bnarks &
      steve drury for california in april of 1974. what a
      lost 3 years

  20. Hi. We are hoping to find Bob Breeding, owner of the Shakey’s pizza parlor on Broadway in Cape in the late 60’s early 70’s. We enjoyed some good times with he and his wife Carol and were hoping to just get in touch and see how the years have passed and treated them. If you can help us get in touch, let us know. Thanks for any help. Karl and Jennie

  21. I worked there briefly in he late 60s. Delivered pizzas driving a 1940s or early 1950 something with floor rusted out on the drivers side. Senior year ate dinner there almost every Monday – all you could eat pizza, fried chicken and mojos. I still consider the fried chicken the best

  22. I worked there for about 3 weeks. Bob Breeding was a slave driver, he would not give employee’s a break even though it was required by Missouri state law. Long hours and a greasy unkept back room area. But the Mojo’s Potatoes and Pizza were good. Each day at noon was Bunch of Lunch buffet which also had the Sunshine Fried Chicken. I loved eating there until I worked there and saw how it was all done. Thank God I was offered a better job shortly after starting, and I remember Bob was not gonna pay me when I quit because I didn’t give him two weeks notice. I had only been there 3 weeks. I told him if he kept the check I would call authorities on him. He paid me with a sneer and I left never to go back. A few months after I quit I heard a couple of disgruntled employees set a fire in the basement and burned it down. It never reopened. Now there are no Shakey’s Pizza Parlors in Missouri, there are several in California.

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