Flakey Jake’s


In the eighties, there was a war of competing hamburger chains: Fuddrucker’s versus Flakey Jake’s.  I liked them both but slightly preferred the latter, particularly the Flakey Jake’s on the northwest corner of the intersection of Pico and Sepulveda in West Los Angeles.

The premise of both chains was simple.  They sold pretty good hamburgers, a notch above McDonald’s and Burger King at a correspondingly (but not exorbitant) price.  They both had other menu items but you went there for the burgers, which were served on a bun cooked on the premises in their own bakery.  The bakery also made cinnamon buns and other goodies which you could purchase to take home.

One thing I liked about them was the “dress-it-yourself” bar that I first encountered at Woody’s Smorgasburger, which has become the major topic of this site.  You got your burger nude and you carried it over to an area where they had ketchup and mustard and onions and lettuce and tomato and cheese sauces and other toppings.  The hamburgers at Flakey Jake’s were pretty darned good and I ate at the Pico-Sepulveda one often.


The two chains were in fierce competition to open up new locations across the country — some company-owned, some franchised. In a few cases, they competed head-to-head: There’d be a Flakey Jake’s literally across the street from a Fuddrucker’s.  Fuddrucker’s also sued Flakey Jake’s charging “infringement of trade dress” (copying its format) and then Flakey Jake’s counter-sued Fuddrucker’s charging “restraint of trade” and in ’82, they settled out of court on undisclosed terms.

Around this time, Flakey Jake’s, which had been founded by a Seattle-based seafood restaurant chain, sold out to Frank Carney (co-founder of Pizza Hut) and a group of investors. Apparently, they couldn’t make a go of it. Before long, all the Flakey Jake’s closed…or seem to have closed. Fuddrucker’s, meanwhile, continues to thrive and currently has around 200 outlets across the U.S. — few of them, I’m afraid, in areas where I travel. I’m curious why one chain succeeded and the other didn’t because they were, after all, pretty much the same thing.

72 Responses to Flakey Jake’s

  • Marc Conner says:

    I worked there during high school
    in the late 80’s at Northridge Ca location. Their fries were the best. The burgers, teriyaki chicken, taco salad I would get extra meat(the seasoning was awesome), the shakes and malts, the brownies and cookies, even when they introduced pizza was really good.

  • Paul G says:

    I used to go to the Flakey Jake’s in Anaheim. Sometimes, we’d leave Disneyland and walk to FJ’s for lunch, rather than pay the inflated prices in the park. I loved both FJ’s and Fuddruckers and still eat at the latter fairly regularly. Every once in a while, I get a craving for the distinctive taste of an FJ’s burger and how they toasted the buns. I was really bummed when I learned that FJ’s was no longer around. It would be great if someone brought it back, but only if the burgers were the same.

  • Kena Llamas says:

    My family owned the Flakey Jake’s in West Covina. Was the best experience. My dad, Rigo Llamas started with corporate in Washington. I sure miss all the awesome food

  • Wendy Y says:

    I live in Indianapolis and Flakey Jakes was the best!!!! Please someone bring it back to Indy!!!!

  • RG Lambert says:

    Trying to settle a disagreement with my sister as to where the Flakey Jake’s was located in Federal Way Wa?
    I recall it being located on 320th street, next to Taco Time, across the street from SeaTac mall.
    The building I remember also housed Abigail’s, a French restaurant, and home to Red Lobster!
    Can someone help settle this?

  • Barry says:

    I worked a the Houston location from ’85-86, before I moved. Without a doubt the best, most fun job I’ve ever had. I worked in three different departments: prep cook, Sweet Shoppe, and Bakery. I LOVED the food. One of the managerial assistants would make my burgers for me; and they were perfection every time. She knew just how to cook the meat, and even told me that she would put the Swiss cheese on the griddle to soften it up so the entire sandwich was juicy and soft. The whole staff was great to work with. Even made some great friends. If there was ever a chance they were to start up again, I’d be there in an instant!

  • Susan Williams says:

    Flakey Jake’s!! Oh, those were some great times! I was an Assistant Manager at the Anaheim, California location then Co-managed the Pico/Sepulveda, Los Angeles location with Lorenzo Shaw! Bill Steele was the owner when I left the LA location. Although they were known for awesome burgers, their pizza was even better! Still crave the pizza crust! We used to book the restaurant for after hour parties in LA and they were so much fun! I remember April the bartender too. Great times at Flakey Jake’s!

  • Henry says:

    I also worked at the Flakey Jakes in Tempe worked the grill on opening night. Then was a bartender for the last couple of years that I worked there. I also had a hotdog named after me on the menu.

  • Frank says:

    In the late 80’s I worked at the So. Rural Rd. Tempe, Arizona location while attending ASU. I began “Flaking” as a line cook, moved on to the butcher shop then finally the bakery. I enjoyed the experience & co-workers. Management was top notch!

  • David says:

    I worked at Flakey Jakes corporate in the 80’s building new restaurants or stores as they were called. They were expanding like crazy and signing up franchisees. Concept didn’t take off due to cost of building new stores, competition with Fuddrucker’s and baby boomers being more health conscious in their diet. Fuddrucker’s didn’t put as much into their interiors and built stores cheaper but I think they eventually stopped opening stores on the west coast.


    What a lovely place to work and eat, I was a Kitchen Manager, baked buns in the bakery, make the burgers in the butcher shop, definitely had a lot of fun working there, flipping burgers, grill chicken,teriyaky chicken sandwich, steak, fish and chips, bbq ribs and wadges fries. at Corbin @ Nordhoff in Northdrige CA, late 80’s early 90’s; I miss the Place

  • Dolores Monnett says:

    Flakey Jakes was awesome. We had one in Olympia Wa love to have it back. Red Robin isn’t. Nearly as good and the quality is inconsistent. Flakey Jakes you could put your own toppings on much better burger. Call your stock broker if you want to know if the stock is still good.

  • Matthew R says:

    My first job. Danville Ca. 1986

  • Dan Mackey says:

    I was a bartender at the Flakey Jake’s On Corbin @ Nordhoff when I first started tending bar in 1988. Loved it there. Food was great too.

  • L. Leong says:

    Flakey Jake’s was our “go to” place when we felt like a burger. We frequently drive by the old location on Sepulveda and Pico Blvds. with comments of how we still miss it. It was a sad day when it closed.

  • Tom Watson says:

    Flakey Jakes started in Redmond Wa., now the home of Microsoft. I used to go, weekly, to the original one at the corner of Willows Road and Redmond Way.

    When Jakes imploded, the company stores closed but the privately owned ones could stay open, i.e. the Cal ones and some in Texas, same as Chucky Cheese, etc.. Last I knew, about 2005, there was still one open in Tacoma Wa. and one in Everett, Wa.

    I still rate my burgers by the number of napkins required.

    My other favorite from then was Rax and their Beef, Bacon & Cheddar.. My favorite since then has been Red Robin’s Royal Red Robin, with the fried egg on top!

  • Joe says:

    I remember the one in Tempe. Good times.

  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos (NM) says:

    To Whomever responded as “Flakey Jake on 6/10/16. Thank You very much for confirming my fuzzy memory that there was a FJ’s we chowed down in while at DisneyLand…God/gawd knows what year….in the ’80s?!!!

    Elsewise, Too Funny RE how What goes around, Comes around: At Woody’s Smorgasburger, See the list herein, the condiment bar was THE added lure back in the ’50s-’60s for the charbroiled Alpine, Matterhorn, etc. Smorgasbugers. We, staff, started putting Thousand Island from its condiment bar and, to really go wild, sprinkled on chopped peanuts from the D-i-Y Sundae “condiment” bar.
    (Anyway, we have 2 Fuddruckers out here in NM.)

  • Becca says:

    I also have oodles of stock in flakey Jake’s but assuming they are of no value now? Reading all the Great co.ments the the food sounds like managerial issues or financial mismanagement perhaps grew too fast without the means to do so?

  • Roc Vibber says:

    I remembered the last time I went to Flakey Jakes in the late 1990 with my date which was east from Disneyland in Anaheim, Ca on Katella before I went to college in Rochester, NY. I preferred Flakey Jakes more than Fudderucker because of the flavors and the rest they had. I was disappointed when Flakey Jakes closed. I hope one day the will make a comeback like Farrel’s Ice Cream.

  • J. Bright says:

    There’s a Fuddruckers still open in Mission Valley (San Diego) area as of 7.2016

  • Andrew Trujillo says:

    Oh man do i remember flakey jake’s,i use to work at the one sparks nevada back in the early 80’s.Burgers and fries were the shit,build your own buger and the steak fries putting the cheese sauce over the fries,and do you remember the shakes
    And the malt’s.

  • Flakey Jake says:

    @William R. Cousert: The one at 101 E Katella Ave in Anaheim is still open. You better hurry and drive over there right now though, since they’re closing tomorrow. Hurry!!

  • William R. Cousert says:

    Did all Flakey Jakes locations close?

  • Elisha says:

    I worked at the Torrance CA location from the doors opening to permanently closing. Flakey Jakes was THE BEST burger joint, way better than Fuddruckers, even today. I still have my work aprons. I dont know anyone personally that eats at Fuddruckers.Everyone is talking about the Pico Flakey Jakes location, i never had the chance to visit that one. Today Slaters 50/50 is my go to burger joint

  • Kevin Doyle says:

    I remember one of the owners Bill Steele a very funny man. A bartender by the name of April. It was always a good time there. I miss the place.

  • Free Games Download says:

    Fuddruckers and Flakey Jake’s are no longer suing each other–neither will discuss the 1983 out-of-court settlement–but their competition remains undiminished.

  • Jan says:

    Worked as a bartender at the Northridge location for several months. The bar manager at the time was Peter a narcissistic moron aside from him I loved working there!

  • F. Alan Crump says:

    I have a stock certificate of 2000 shares in Flakey Jakes dated 1983.
    Do they have any value at this time?

  • dale says:

    loved flakey jakes at corbin, in chatsworth in the 80’s. are there any left in l.a. any more.

  • Dan says:

    1988. I worked at Flakey Jakes in Chatsworth on Corbin @ Nordhoff for about a year as a bartender and I can tell you that the food was very solid and good quality for the money. Nice big burgers and good fish n chips too!

  • George saigh says:

    What memories…flaky Jakes in Tempe was the best…even better was the bar in the back…and those toppings…I even remember Studebaker’s next store…

  • John Hurley says:

    The Pico and Sepulveda location was formerly the Scotch and Sirloin.

  • Adam says:

    We lived in Redlands and often ate at the San Bernardino location. I miss it! They had great hamburgers and I liked the selection of video games, They had one of those Ms. Pac-Man machines with a “super speed” button, before the super speed became a standard feature. Now, I live in San Antonio. The original Fuddrucker’s is still open, off 410 on the NE side. I like Fuddrucker’s, but thought Flakey Jake’s was better.

  • carlena greenup says:

    i loved flakey jake’s when I lived in California im now in the state of Kentucky and we don’t have any good places to eat hamburger wish one was here

  • Tammy K. Firmbach says:

    When I lived in AZ in the 80’s we used to go to the Flakey Jake’s in Tempe right by the ASU campus! They had the best burgers. But, the home made buns were the real star!! Does anybody make anything like them anymore?

  • The ChocolateDoctor says:

    To: S. Berg… If you’re referring to Bob Lucky, he passed away in the late 1980’s.

  • S. Berg says:

    Does anyone know where the original owner of the FlakeyJakes went?
    Very important. My phone is 250 442 3121

  • Mike Dobbs says:

    Dana – That Koo Koo Roo on Wilshire is gone, and they just opened a Fuddruckers there lol

    Back to Flakey Jakes – I assumed it was the same as Fuddruckrts since they were so similar. I used to go there after my little league baseball games at Cheviot Hills. Last time I can remember was about 1986…they always had a few arcade video games which was another reason I always wanted to go.

  • jedd gilbert says:

    I was there at the opening of the Flakey Jakes on Pico and Sepulveda,my girlfriend at the time and I went there often as she lived about 2 blocks away, I loved their burgers

  • Mike says:

    I loved the Flakey Jake’s on Pico and Sepulveda! They also had one in Northridge on Corbin and Nordhoff, where Mimi’s Cafe is now. I ate at that Flakey Jake’s a few times in the late 80’s and very early 90’s after moving to the Valley, and yes, I agree that they were similar to Fuddrucker’s, but better!

  • Marc Sahr says:

    Used to frequent Flakey Jakes in the late 80’s. A group of us once had a gathering of users – Southern California Sysops Group. This was a loosely knit group of people that ran Electronic Bulletin Boards (BBS) back then. These were precursors to the internet. I met a ex-girl friend and made a few longer term friendship there as well. Am going to one of my friend’s weddings that I met at this particular meeting. But used to go often.

  • James SANSON says:

    Where did they go? Was there one in Tempe AZ?

  • Brian Kelly says:

    Check out these Flakey Jake’s shirts from Hayes and Taylor. They just posted them on their site this week!


  • Sherry says:

    Flakey Jake’s was so much better than Fuddrucker’s. I remember dining at the Sepulveda location practically every Sunday night with my family. It was always so crowded and the line was out the door. However, it was worth it. The burgers were delicious and I LOVED the brownies offered at the bakery.

    There are several Fuddrucker’s near me in the Bay Area, but I haven’t been in years because the food isn’t very good.

  • RPS says:

    I remember going to a Flakey Jake’s in Las Vegas, NV. in 1987 0r 1988. I think it was located on Maryland Parkway between Sahara and Desert Inn Road. The burgers there were great and I loved the condiment bar where you could dress up your burger the way you wanted. I am truly sorry they are no longer around because I think they offered a great product!

  • Sam D says:

    I was a frequent customer at the Pico-Sepulveda Flakey Jakes. I loved the interior design and also found the food to be way better than Fuddruckers. Every time I was there the place seemed to be full or nearly full. I couldn’t understand why it closed.

    I also enjoyed Woody’s Smorgasburger in Culver City. And RJ’s for Ribs in Beverly Hills also had a terrific char broiled “dress-it-yourself” burger. They had a lavish, high quality salad bar where you built your burger.

  • Dana Gabbard says:

    For about a year we had a Flakey Jake’s in Yakima Washington when I was a teenager in the late-1970s. It was actually just off an off-ramp in the area known as Terrace Heights. Was always busy when my family and I ate there. Then poof it vanished. Loved the condiment bar. For ages the shuttered Anaheim location sat sad and empty.

    For a time some Koo Koo Roo locations offered Fuddruckers burgers and a version of the condiment bar including the Miracle Mile location (on Wilshire near the La Brea tarpits). They eventually dropped the burgers and then the place closed (the only Koo Koo Roo left is on Wilshire in Santa Monica). Ironically now a Counter burger place occupies that spot. Umamiburger, The Habit and 5 Guys are among what seems to be a resurgence of burger chains, some back to basics and others examples of the upscale reinvention model. I should note an acquaintance recently complained of finding bone (more than once) in the patty at the aforementioned Counter location. ICK!

    For us in L.A. the most convenient Fuddruckers locations are in Burbank and Sherman Oaks. Kind of surprised they don’t have any on the westside, Santa Monica or Hollywood area.

  • Paul Lorin says:

    I used to go to the Flakey Jakes on Pico in West L.A several times when it opened in 1983, in fact there was a sign posted near the counter that read “Established in 1983” They had about 20 or so different toppings to choose from, all kinds of melted cheese, onions, pickles and so forth. My Grandfather would take me and my brother there for a treat. Good memories.

  • Douglass Abramson says:

    I always felt that Flakey Jake’s had the better quality food, but where they out did Fuddrucker’s was at the soda fountain. They not only would make you a flavored Coke, they had malts. Not milkshakes, malts. Fuddrucker’s, on the other hand, has their proprietary mustard. Whoopee. My family used to go to the restaurant on MacArthur Blvd, near South Coast Plaza. That one was in operation until sometime in the late ’80s. The building was still there the last time I drove buy and in the same condition its been in since the Flakey Jake’s closed; empty. The last operational Flakey Jake’s that I knew of was on Katella Ave, about three blocks east of Harbor Blvd. That one limped along until the property was taken over by Anaheim for urban renewal projects in the late ’90s. Since Farrell’s has made its come back, I hold out hope that someone will do the same with Flakey Jake’s. As far as Fuddrucker’s goes Mark, there are several stores between you and San Diego. The most convenient one, though, is the one in Mission Valley; fairly near to The Town and Country.

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