Slice of history: a Shakespeare’s timeline

Shakespeare's pizza exterior
Courtesy Kurt Mirtsching.

Published on Show Me Mizzou April 27, 2023

June 4, 1973 Shakespeare’s Pizza opens.

Jan. 12, 1976  Jay Lewis buys Shakespeare’s from Bill Hahn.

Jan. 13, 1978 Shakespeare’s moves from 223 S. Ninth into 225-227 S. Ninth, taking over the Campus Edge space with a dining room.

Oct. 10, 1978  Kurt Mirtsching gets tired of working in the dorm cafeteria; gets a job at Shake’s delivering.

June 15, 1981  Shake’s knocks a hole in the bricks between 225 and 223, takes the space of 223 (previously occupied by Al’s Tapes and Records, which moves up the street) and turns it into a bar.

July 9, 1981 Bar opens; Shake’s takes over 223 S. Ninth

Jan. 1, 1984  Shake’s signs lease for entire building but does not yet occupy it all.

June 6, 1989 Lone Sock Laundry starts.

Oct. 15, 1991 Shake’s takes over the parking lot (date is an estimate).

June 15, 1994 The first eight Shakespeare’s frozen pizzas are made and sold at the Pierpont Store. 

June 15, 1995  Lone Sock Laundry closes. Shake’s takes over that space for a badly needed second kitchen. The alley between 809 Elm (the laundry space) and 227-223 S. Ninth is enclosed and becomes a party room.

Jan. 1, 2000 Kurt Mirtsching becomes minority owner.

Oct. 15, 2002  Lori Group starts as office manager.

May 17, 2003 West Shake’s opens.

Nov. 15, 2011  Shake’s wins Good Morning America’s “Best Bites: College edition”

July 25, 2012 South Shake’s opens.

Oct. 15, 2014 Shakespeare’s learns its original building will be demolished; this is kept secret until all plans are made.

May 24, 2015 The last day of partying at the original downtown location.

May 29, 2015 “Tempspeare’s” Pizza starts partying.

July 17, 2016 Godspeed, Jay Lewis.

Aug. 15, 2016 Shakespeare’s reopens in a new building at Ninth and Elm.

June 4, 2023 FIFTY!!!

Read more about Shakespeare’s 50-year anniversary

Subscribe to

Show Me Mizzou

Stay up-to-date with the latest news by subscribing to the Show Me Mizzou newsletter.