Choose Shakey’s for nostalgic family-fun dining

Telegraph correspondentMarch 29, 2013 

If you have lived in Middle Georgia for a while, you might remember going to Shakey’s Pizza Parlor and watching the staff toss the pizza, listening to ragtime music, wearing their styrofoam Dixieland hats. It was the perfect family outing, a place were your dad didn’t mind ponying up the cash for a family night out.

The Shakey’s in Warner Robins is the very last one left in Georgia, one of only three east of the Mississippi. What’s the secret to their endurance of more than 40 years? That same family-friendly atmosphere and price.

A trip around the parking lot reveals car tags of pilgrims from Crawford, Peach, Bibb, Monroe and Twiggs counties. If you were to ask, I bet you would find out that most of them make the trip weekly. You’ll even see out-of-state tags of visitors who have business with Robins Air Force Base and make sure to pay tribute to a longtime love.

While the appearance can be daunting, diehards will tell you they barely notice their surroundings as soon as that unique smell of Shakey’s pizza greets them at the door. From the looks of the paper cup encouraging donations for fixing the parking lot, it may be time to consider a new location, one central to all their fans.

A family of four can visit the pizza and more buffet for less than $20 plus drinks. After eating from the pizza, fried chicken and salad bar, the kids can run off to play video games while mom and dad take a moment to chat like adults.

Other items on the hot bar include meatballs and rice, country-style corn, green beans, spaghetti, battered potatoes and battered mushrooms. The cinnamon rolls can be addictive, so be careful.

When you enter and pay, the folks in the visible kitchen will ask you for your pizza preference. Side note here: Some people order a pizza of their own instead of getting the buffet. Since they will make any pizza you want for the buffet, and you can eat all you want, why would anybody do that? I suppose it might be cheaper, but then you miss out on the cinnamon rolls.

Some of the more interesting pizza requests are the beef and onion, the taco pizza and the cheeseburger. The cheeseburger pizza has special sauce and pickles; the Bullfighter is topped with pepperoni, sausage and jalapeños; and Mikey’s Special has sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms. You can also make any combination of toppings you like. The Shakey’s Beef (note the capital B) is a special secret recipe that I suspect has some pork sausage in it. It’s a nostalgic taste you’ll recognize if you grew up with Shakey’s.

If you’re looking for a great family night out that includes veggies and video games, give this restaurant a try. Shakey’s Pizza Parlor serves up an evening of family fun.

Shakey’s Pizza Parlor

Address: 785 N. Houston Road, Warner Robins

Phone: (478) 923-5381

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily

Payment: Cash, credit

Smoking: No

Alcohol: Yes

Kids Menu: Yes

Noise Level: Medium

Health Rating: 93

Price range: under $10

Rating: 2.5 stars

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