Flakey Jake’s

Do you remember Flakey Jake's?

In the early 1980s, Seattle-based seafood company Sea Galley Stores Inc. introduced the first Flakey Jake’s restaurant, drawing inspiration from the popular Fuddruckers concept. Both establishments boasted freshly baked hamburger buns and in-house ground hamburger meat, creating a unique dining experience. However, shortly after Flakey Jake’s opened its doors, Fuddruckers filed a lawsuit, claiming that Flakey Jake’s had copied their restaurant model. The legal battle escalated to the U.S. District Court in Seattle in 1983, with Flakey Jake’s responding by filing a countersuit.

In an interesting turn of events, the owners of Flakey Jake’s decided to sell a majority of the restaurant to a group of investors, which included Frank Carney, co-founder of Pizza Hut. However, despite their efforts, Flakey Jake’s struggled to match the profitability of Fuddruckers. By 1985, Fuddruckers had expanded to 75 locations, while Flakey Jake’s trailed behind with 50. Fuddruckers enjoyed positive first-quarter earnings, whereas Flakey Jake’s incurred a first-quarter loss exceeding half a million dollars.

As time went on, Flakey Jake’s gradually faded from the dining scene, and by the turn of the 21st century, it had all but disappeared. In 1991, only three corporate-operated Flakey Jake’s remained, while a handful of franchise locations, mainly in California, soldiered on. Many of the closed Flakey Jake’s sites found new life as Red Robin restaurants, another renowned gourmet hamburger establishment.

In 2017, a group of devoted fans created a Flakey Jake’s Facebook page, providing a platform for reminiscing about their favorite memories from the restaurant. Although the page is relatively inactive, it has amassed over 60 followers who eagerly share their nostalgia for the once-beloved Flakey Jake’s dining experience.

Despite its eventual decline, Flakey Jake’s left an indelible mark on Seattle’s culinary history, representing a unique chapter in the city’s vibrant restaurant landscape. The echoes of its memorable burgers and warm ambiance still resonate among those fortunate enough to have experienced Flakey Jake’s during its heyday

The Rise & Fall of Flakey Jake's

Flakey Jake's was Founded

Created by a team of Sea Galley Stores Inc. officials, who were in search of an expansion concept in 1983, Flakey Jake's served large, grilled burgers on house-baked buns. Some of the units, which had a decor suggestive of a visit to an old Western town, complete with fake storefronts, featured a full bar. Early in its run, the Bellevue, Wash.-based chain was hauled into court by Fuddruckers Inc., a competing burger chain that claimed Sea Galley had copied its trade dress to create the Flakey Jake's concept. As a result of the court action, Flakey Jake's agreed to change some of its design and decor package. Sea Galley spun off Flakey Jake's and took it public in 1984, realizing a multimillion-dollar windfall from the sale of its stock. At its high points, Flakey Jake's stock sold for as much as $9 a share, and the chain operated 22 company restaurants and franchised more than 30 to others. However, the company never turned a profit and ended up costing investors millions of dollars before it filed for bankruptcy, at which point it owed creditors about $25 million.

The End of Flakey Jake's

Ultimately, the company was forced to close or sell all 50 of its locations by 1991.

Flakey Jake’s restaurant holds a special place in the history and hearts of the community. From its humble beginnings to its reputation as a culinary gem, Flakey Jake’s created a lasting legacy of exceptional dining experiences and cherished memories. Though the doors may have closed, the spirit of Flakey Jake’s lives on, reminding us of the power of good food and shared moments. As we look back on this culinary icon, let us celebrate the memories and toast to the enduring legacy of Flakey Jake’s.

Click through the gallery above for some of the most popular forgotten restaurant spots that are now gone, but never forgotten. Did we miss one of your favorites? Share your memories in the comments.

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