Remembering Gigglebees in Sioux Falls
You might remember the pizza, the arcade, or maybe the cheap ice cream. You might have spent Saturday afternoons there, hiding from the South Dakota winter or celebrating your friend’s 10th birthday. And you for sure remember the tricycle riding robot coyote that brought you your food. Yes, I’m talking about Gigglebees, the family pizza restaurant that was a staple of life in Sioux Falls for 22 years.
Before it was a pizza place, the corner of 14th and Minnesota in central Sioux Falls was a Red Owl grocery store. That owl soon flew the coop and a pizza and gaming idea was born. Gigglebees opened in December 1985 as part of the Piccadilly Circus pizza chain. That chain eventually broke up and after a contest in 1989, the name changed to Gigglebees.
During the 1990s and into the early 2000s, Gigglebees was a destination restaurant and entertainment center for families in the Sioux Empire. The almost 13,000 square-foot building had arcade games, laser tag, bumper cars, and skeeball to go along with the pizza.
The centerpiece of the place was Gigglebees' mascot, Wilbur the Coyote. He was a tricycle-riding robot waiter that delivered pizzas to customers.
As the city grew, competition increased and the cost of business rose. More restaurants opened in Sioux Falls, like Chuck E Cheese's in 2001, which delivered a rat-like blow to the aging building on Minnesota Ave. But they held on for 7 more years and the coyote kept peddling his pies. Bonus if you ever had Wilbur deliver a beer to you on his trike.
In 2008 the land was sold, and in July that same year, Wilbur delivered his last pizza.
There have been Wilbur sightings over the years. He interacted with kids at Hot Harley Nights and has shown up at different festivals, too. The younger kids think he's cool but they have no idea that this famous mascot once ruled Minnesota Avenue slinging pizzas and engaging kids with a kind, witty banter.
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