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Shakey’s fundraiser brings back chicken and mojos in Elkhart

Forget about Flashback Friday — next Saturday is all about the brief return of Shakey’s in Elkhart.

The Elkhart Knights of Columbus is hosting 1,000 people from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, at the hall, 112 E. Lexington Ave., for as many chicken and mojos as they can handle.

The fundraiser, which is in its third year, will bring in more than 3,000 pieces of chicken and about 1,500 potatoes for all-you-can-eat chicken and mojos — just like the original recipe, organizer Steve Riikonen said.

After a Friday night football or basketball game, families in Dunlap and Elkhart used to go out for chicken, mojos and pizza.

And it was always Shakey’s.

“I think the nostalgia of going after a game on Friday night is what gets people excited,” Riikonen said. “It brings out fond memories from when you were younger. Shakey’s was a family place. You’d go and get pizzas and pitchers of pop.”

The restaurant shut its doors in the area in the late eighties, Riikonen said, after owner Joe Eppers retired. Eppers sold the business to new owners, who eventually closed the restaurant.

Fried chicken and mojos are still in the family, though.

“We have the benefit at this fundraiser of the owners of Shakey’s all being members of the Knights of Columbus, so they have the inside knowledge of the recipes to make it taste as close to what people remember,” Riikonen said.

The fundraiser, which last year raised $6,000, will help the Knights of Columbus’ charitable events throughout the year, Riikonen said. These include scholarships for high school seniors and the food basket program during Christmas, which just wrapped up.

The hall also hosts spaghetti and fish fry dinners each month, except for July. The fish fry dinner originally planned for Friday night, Jan. 16, was canceled after a sewer line was damaged in downtown construction. The line should be repaired by Monday, Riikonen said, so Shakey’s Night is still on.

Tickets for the Shakey’s fundraiser can be picked up 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday at the hall. One thousand tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Last year was such a great turnout by everyone so we said we would do it again,” Riikonen said. “This community has a lot of fun doing it and it’s a great fundraiser for the Knights.”

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