A Magical Place

shakeys-pizzaThis is a rerun of a post from November 14, 2008. Talking about discontinued foods the last couple weeks made me think of it again. And I doubt there’s more than two or three of you out there now who were here back then. Enjoy!

There’s more to going out to eat than just “going out to eat.” Sure, sometimes we just need to grab a quick bite, but to truly go out means so much more than going for the food and staying for the pie. It’s an event, a special occasion, or perhaps even a ritual. We do it to celebrate. We do it to meet old friends—or to make new ones.

I’m sure it would only take most of us just a minute to think of one significant memory that happened while eating out. It might have been a first date. (Or a last date.) It might have been that time you got a big promotion at work. (Or lost a job.) It could be something as simple as the time you ate that twenty pound hamburger in less than five hours. (What? You don’t remember that?)

I’ve heard it said that the greatest comic book ever written was the one you read when you were twelve. One could probably say the same thing about restaurants. Because nothing you’ll ever do as an adult will ever have the same magical quality of the place you went to as a kid.

One of these places for me was Shakey’s Pizza, as evidenced by the wonderful photograph above. To me, this was what “going out” was all about. It was fun, it was different, it was special, and it just might be the place I honed the excellent pizza-eating skills I possess yet today. My memories now are fuzzy, of course, but a few specific things still stand out clear. It was dark. I loved that. It made you feel like you were leaving the waking world behind and truly entering a new domain. (Not to mention it made swiping extra slices that much easier.) They played old movies and cartoons up on the wall. How awesome was that? I remember popcorn—or maybe it was peanuts—but you could throw a handful in the general vicinity of your mouth and it didn’t matter how many hit the floor.

It would be nice to be able to go back and re-live that. But, as the saying goes, you can never go home. If for whatever reason you did try to track down an old haunt, you would now find it:

  1. Run down and dirty (and depressing)
  2. All modernized and shiny (and even more depressing)
  3. Torn down and replaced with a Starbucks (no comment)

So perhaps these things are best left to our memories. And I’m okay with that. Because there are still plenty of places out there to create new memories and hone new pizza-eating skills.

What magical place did you go out to eat at as a kid? Share your story below. One lucky winner will receive a free slice of memory pizza.

6 Responses to “A Magical Place”

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said
May 23, 2011 at 4:39 am

I remember Shakeys! I used to go there with my family when I was a kid. And yes, all I can remember are cool booths and it was DARK.

I also remember a place called the Anchor Inn. I remember going there with my parents and it was a treat. I suppose it is similar to Red Lobster now. I think I developed my love for shrimp there.

Biz said
May 23, 2011 at 9:23 am

I don’t remember the popcorn, but I definitely remember shelling peanuts and throwing the shells on the floor!

Happy Monday Chowlee! 😀

Love, your prettier sister, Biz

Richard said
May 23, 2011 at 11:43 am

Coincidentally, I had just turned 12 while on vacation at the Jersey shore. We visited Zaberer’s in Wildwood, NJ.

It was memorable because they had rolls of every kind, even chocolate!

Only it wasn’t chocolate, it was pumpernickel. Yuck.

    Charlie said
    May 23, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Chocolate. 🙂

Jenn@slim-shoppin said
May 23, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I also think a memorable place was the Howard Johnson’s rest stop in Breezewood PA, on our way to vacation where we got to get sundaes!

And I also remember there being a window where you could watch them make pizzas – or did I make that up? 🙂 Love Shakeys!!

    Charlie said
    May 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    You know, I was thinking of that too. I just found out that they closed about every HJ. I think there’s only three of them left.