Shakers is a not so much a restaurant as it is a combination time warp/American archetype. Imagine a hybrid of Edward Hopper's Nighthawks and the diner where Honey Bunny and Pumpkin went crazy in Pulp Fiction. Throw in little details of every happy evening out to dinner with your parents in the 1970s -- complete with a little white porcelain container of crackers and breadsticks -- and you might get an inkling of what it's like at this legendary South Pasadena diner.
Several great local restaurants are owned and operated by the same family -- the quaint French bakery-inspired Wild Thyme (just down the street from Shakers,) Pasadena's sophisticated Central Park Cafe, Beckham --the cozy English pub and grill (also in Pasadena) and fifties-themed Diner on Main in Alhambra. Each is a local favorite, but none quite compete with the flat-out comfort and coolness of Shakers. Not poseur cool -- you know, like the kind of hipster nouveau diners that have a juke box turned into an aquarium, pop art retro advertising lithographs and a drink menu that includes a "Bogart Martini." I'm talking authentic cool. At Shakers, you half expect Dean Moriarty to walk in and sit down at the counter.
The food is yummy and affordable, the coffee is strong and the kid's menu comes with crayons and a coloring page. Come hungry, savor a meal of good, old fashioned favorites and be sure to take home a loaf of the famous zucchini bread.