Jakeeno’s: Italian Cooking that Tastes Like Home
Photo courtesy of Jakeeno’s
The Twin Cities has plenty of options for Italian American staples like pizza and pasta, but Jakeeno’s is one of the best. This popular family-owned restaurant has a nearly fifty-year legacy to back up its status as a local favorite for carbo-loading and comfort food alike. Jakeeno’s menu features an expansive set of dishes, all of which have a home cooked quality that will transport you right back to your childhood kitchen table—assuming your parents were good cooks. Patty Keegan, one of the two current owners, was kind enough to explain a bit of Jakeeno’s history for me and walk me through some of the restaurant’s most popular menu items.
Jakeeno’s was opened by Jack Keegan—Patty’s father—on December 26, 1975. “The name Jakeeno’s come from our Dad’s name: Jack Keegan,” explains Keegan, “It was too Irish sounding, so our Great Aunt had the idea to squish it together.” Jack ran the business for decades until eventually his daughters, Patty and Amy, bought it. The two sisters have been running Jakeeno’s side by side for the last twenty years.
Patty and Amy knew when they took over the restaurant that they were not going to change much. The two have been committed to sticking to the recipes that made Jakeeno’s a success from the beginning. “[Our Dad] worked hard on all the recipes with the help of local chef Vera Meyer,” says Keegan, “The secret recipes include the lasagna sauce, pizza sauce, pasta sauce, fresh sausage, and the dough.”
Even if the item you order from Jakeeno’s does not feature a secret recipe (although those definitely live up to the hype), you are sure to be happy with your meal. Jakeeno’s is best known for its pizza, though, so if you are new to the restaurant, that is a great place to start. We recommend trying out one of their specialty pies—especially the all-around customer favorite: The House Special. This cheesy wonder is loaded up with sausage, pepperoni, and mushroom and is a best seller for a reason.
There are also a wide variety of mouth-watering pastas on the menu. Keegan says that the Chicken Florentine is one of their best sellers and insists that “you can’t go wrong with a plate of spaghetti.” With a secret sauce featured heavily in this dish, who are we to argue?
There are also several salads and hoagies on the menu and—my favorite—desserts. Once again every choice is a good choice: from the classic chocolate chip cookies to the salted caramel cheesecake to the chocolate mocha layer cake and even homemade walnut brownies.
Jakeeno’s has suffered the same pandemic-related blow that restaurants across town have suffered this year. “COVID has had a dramatic effect,” says Keegan, “Our dining room is closed and because of the 6ft distance needed it is hard to justify opening up with a few tables.” They have been able to keep their business running through pickup and delivery orders but are ready to start seeing their customers in person again. As the state opens, Keegan hopes that eventually she will be able to open for in-person dining. “We are hoping sometime in the Spring we can safely open and include limited patio seating,” she says.
Jakeeno’s has been an integral part of its community for decades—not only as a place to enjoy hearty, reasonably-priced meals, but also through its participation in several community organizations. This year especially, Patty and Amy felt the appreciation of their community coming back at them. “We just are grateful for the support for the entire community during this time,” says Keegan, “It has been a challenge for everyone and we look forward to the day when some of this can be behind us. The future will be brighter when we all work together!”
3555 Chicago Ave. S., Mpls.