Shakey's cancels plans for Minnesota pizzerias [UPDATED]

Shakey's cuts Minnesota out of its expansion plans.

Shakey's cuts Minnesota out of its expansion plans.

Are you sitting down? Do you have your inhaler on hand? Please try not to panic, but Hot Dish is going to have to break some bad news: Shakey's pizza has scrapped its plans to return to Minnesota.

You've lived without its paper mustaches, player pianos, and Styrofoam boater hats for nearly a decade, so you can hold out just a little longer, right?


Earlier this summer, Shakey's was publicizing its plans to open five new restaurants in the Twin Cities metro area. Thousands of rabid Shakey's fans passed the news around on Facebook and shared their favorite Shakey's memories in the comments with a fervor unlike any other seen on the Hot Dish.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Pioneer Press reported that Shakey's was planning to open its first new Minnesota store in Plymouth in April. But after a reader tip, (thanks, David!) the Hot Dish confirmed with Shakey's corporate office that the deal was off: No Shakey's would be coming to Minnesota in the immediate future.

A call to Shakey's vice president of franchise administration, Sonia Barajas-Najera, who was the source of the Pioneer Press's report, was not returned before publication, but Cindy Staats, director of marketing, acknowledged that due to a recent "unforeseen setback" the Minnesota expansion is on hold. Shakey's did have a franchisee lined up, Staats says, but specific sites had not yet been secured.

The good news is, Shakey's management was very disappointed to see its previous plans halted and still sees Minnesota as a target state. "Everyone has been overwhelmingly welcome," Staat says of the Midwest's hunger for Shakey's. The company is now looking for qualified franchisees for the area. Perhaps you could be the savior who resurrects the long-missed pizza chain?