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Whatever Happened to Gigglebees in Sioux Falls?

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Warwolf2008 via YouTube

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 8th 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. 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 first few years of the 21st Century, Gigglebees was a destination restaurant 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.

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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, and the building aged. In 2008 the land was sold, and in July that same year Wilbur delivered his last pizza.

The building at 14th and Minnesota was torn down and a new office development went in, including a bank in the same spot as the former restaurant.

Recently, Wilbur the Coyote made a comeback to the Sioux Falls scene as a sort of celebrity party guest. A former robot operator from Gigglebees who loves family entertainment brought the tricycle rider back to life and visits events around town.

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