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Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » Mai Kai, Fort Lauderdale, FL (restaurant)
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Mai Kai, Fort Lauderdale, FL (restaurant)
Thortiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 29, 2006
Posts: 384
From: Maryland (Land of Pleasant Tiki Living)
Posted: 2015-01-06 08:33 am   Permalink

COSISTENT drink quality is my #1 for ANY Tiki bar! Décor & vibe is important, but I can't drink either of those!

 
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Chip and Andy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2277
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 2015-01-06 09:42 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2015-01-06 08:00, howlinowl wrote:
I can't imagine what the water bill for the Mai Kai is. Ice machines, dishwashers, rain effect, gardens....

howlinowl



The Gas bill is just shy of 10 grand a month. That is for the torches AND the kitchens. At least it was a few years ago, I don't think gas prices (this kind of gas at least) has changed much since then.

I am thinking a water bill that is similarly large isn't outside the realm of possibility.


 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5313
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2015-01-06 09:59 am   Permalink

Robert Thornton was having dinner with the family one night and someone mentioned that the speaker near them was busted.

"Why don't you fix that?"

RT: "You think me spending that money will bring one more person in the front door?"

Ever go to Disney and a ride is closed? Shit happens and you deal with it, but only Jesus was perfect, and he died 2,000 years ago.

Sometimes they simply forget to turn the window water pump on. I've asked and they turned it on.
_________________

"Mai-Kai: History & Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant" the book


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EPCOTExplorer
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 13, 2014
Posts: 298
From: Miami, FL
Posted: 2015-01-06 5:35 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2015-01-06 09:59, Swanky wrote:
Robert Thornton was having dinner with the family one night and someone mentioned that the speaker near them was busted.

"Why don't you fix that?"

RT: "You think me spending that money will bring one more person in the front door?"

Ever go to Disney and a ride is closed? Shit happens and you deal with it, but only Jesus was perfect, and he died 2,000 years ago.

Sometimes they simply forget to turn the window water pump on. I've asked and they turned it on.


If it meant that the Mai Kai could close for a month, like Disney does with their rides, and open it up fully refreshed, I'd be very happy.

But that'll never happen. Two largely different business models.

And I'll ask about them switching on the water, the next time I'm there.
_________________
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Hurricane Hayward
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1496
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2015-01-07 12:20 am   Permalink

Quote:
I would love to see Mai Kai running at Disney level quality, but I think that would improve impossible, unless unattainable wealth was suddenly bestowed on the place.



I've had this same dream, EPCOTExplorer, believe me. But then, I've also dreamed about the Polynesian Village offering cocktails on the same level of The Mai-Kai. Both are unlikely, but what we're left with ain't too shabby.

_________________
Events, music, art, cocktails, culture

The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide


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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5313
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2015-01-07 06:01 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2015-01-06 17:35, EPCOTExplorer wrote:
Quote:

On 2015-01-06 09:59, Swanky wrote:
Robert Thornton was having dinner with the family one night and someone mentioned that the speaker near them was busted.

"Why don't you fix that?"

RT: "You think me spending that money will bring one more person in the front door?"

Ever go to Disney and a ride is closed? Shit happens and you deal with it, but only Jesus was perfect, and he died 2,000 years ago.

Sometimes they simply forget to turn the window water pump on. I've asked and they turned it on.


If it meant that the Mai Kai could close for a month, like Disney does with their rides, and open it up fully refreshed, I'd be very happy.

But that'll never happen. Two largely different business models.

And I'll ask about them switching on the water, the next time I'm there.



The Mai-Kai has hardly closed a day in the last 58 years. It is super rare for them to be closed on purpose.


 
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EPCOTExplorer
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 13, 2014
Posts: 298
From: Miami, FL
Posted: 2015-01-07 08:09 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2015-01-07 00:20, Hurricane Hayward wrote:
Quote:
I would love to see Mai Kai running at Disney level quality, but I think that would improve impossible, unless unattainable wealth was suddenly bestowed on the place.



I've had this same dream, EPCOTExplorer, believe me. But then, I've also dreamed about the Polynesian Village offering cocktails on the same level of The Mai-Kai. Both are unlikely, but what we're left with ain't too shabby.



Right?! It would be fantastic.

But yes, what we do have is pretty fantastic as well.

Save for the fact that the Polynesian Village just lost its fountains and waterfalls, but I digress....
_________________
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Hurricane Hayward
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1496
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2015-01-09 9:42 pm   Permalink



The episode of the Cooking Channel's "Offbeat Eats with Jim Stacy" featuring The Mai-Kai will be repeated three times on Sunday, plus one more time later this month ...

January 11, 2015 3:30 AM
January 11, 2015 7:00 AM
January 11, 2015 11:30 PM
January 29, 2015 8:30 AM

http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/shows/offbeat-eats-with-jim-stacy/100/day-at-the-beach.html

_________________
Events, music, art, cocktails, culture

The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide


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Hurricane Hayward
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1496
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2015-01-12 1:03 pm   Permalink

From Pia Dahlquist, Director of Sales and Marketing:

Heydays Vintage is filming in South Florida and will be filming at the Mai-Kai for an upcoming segment this coming Wednesday!

They want to show their viewers this Tiki/Polynesian Gem and it's role in tiki vintage culture.
Please put on your favorite Aloha shirt or dress and make Mai-Kai your place for Happy Hour Wednesday.

You might even get picked to get interviewed on the show!

Hope to see you Wednesday!

https://www.facebook.com/heydaysTV

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googuse
Member

Joined: May 29, 2014
Posts: 3
Posted: 2015-01-18 11:27 pm   Permalink

If you grew up in the SF Bay Area in the 80s, you might remember "Buki" as Conrad, the bass player from The John Belushi Memorial Blues Band


Quote:

On 2014-12-29 22:32, Hurricane Hayward wrote:
Aloha Boyz - featuring former Polynesian Islander Revue musicians Ty Olopai (ukulele/vocals), Derek Suzuki (guitar/vocals), and Buki Teheiura Itchener (bass/vocals) - perform during the Customer Celebration Party on Dec. 27 ...







 
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Hurricane Hayward
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1496
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2015-02-10 12:50 am   Permalink

The Mai-Kai has been named to the National Register of Historic Places!

From The Miami Herald ...
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article9639449.html

George Washington didn’t sleep at the Vagabond Motel in Miami or down a Bora Bora at Fort Lauderdale’s tiki-fantasia Mai-Kai Restaurant. But that didn’t keep either of the kitschy-cool 1950s landmarks from making it onto the National Register of Historic Places.

Both were nominated for the honor by the state of Florida, which announced Monday that the sites were among seven additions from the state to the federal register. The list, selected by the National Park Service, recognizes the most significant buildings and places across the country.

The honor comes as both the Vagabond and the Mai-Kai enjoy a resurgence.

The Vagabond, which reopened last fall after sitting vacant on Biscayne Boulevard for years, has been recast as a chic, retro-hip boutique hotel, dining spot and hangout. All its original details, including its signature neon sign and frolicking-nymphs-and-dolphins fountain, were fully restored. The motel is also designated historic by the city of Miami and sits within the larger and also resurgent MiMo-Biscayne Historic District.

The Mai-Kai, which is actually just over the Fort Lauderdale city line in Oakland Park, retained its full kitschy charm nearly unaltered despite several expansions and an extensive renovation a decade ago necessitated by damage from Hurricane Wilma. Its Polynesian revue and large drinks, which reputedly use the same recipes devised by tiki-craze originator Don the Beachcomber in the 1930s, are enduring lures for tourists and locals.

The inclusion of the Vagabond and the Mai-Kai on the register reflects their iconic place in popular South Florida culture, and cements growing recognition of the abiding importance of Mid-Century tourist-oriented roadside architecture to the region’s development.

Both were designed by prominent South Florida architects who worked in the style now known as Miami Modern, or MiMo. Though, to be sure, there’s nothing Bauhaus about the Polynesian-inspired, thatch-roofed Mai-Kai, its neon sign is very much in the tradition of the 1950s roadside South Florida attractions that so many people recall fondly.

“The architecture behind them has that sexy curb appeal to catch people as they’re driving by,” said Teri D’Amico, an interior designer and co-coiner of the term MiMo. “It’s American history when it’s down here, because so many people traveled here and remember them. It was the adventure of getting away from home.”

The Mai-Kai, which advertises itself as the longest-running tiki-theme restaurant in America, is also be one of the last surviving originals from the decades when they were all the rage, D’Amico said.

“It is a classic,” she said. “That represents our tiki, and there’s very little left. And that one building can represent that whole era.”

The Vagabond, from 1953, was the work of Robert Swartburg, a versatile architect also responsible for the earlier Art Deco Delano and Clevelander hotels on South Beach.

The Mai-Kai, which opened in 1956, was designed by Fort Lauderdale MiMo master Charles McKirahan, who designed the Bay Harbor Islands apartment house, now under threat of demolition, that served as the main character’s home in the hit cable-TV series Dexter. Serving as a Mai-Kai consultant was legendary Japanese-American woodworker and furniture maker George Nakashima, whose own home and studio in Pennsylvania is also on the National Register and is designated a National Historic Landmark as well.

Other Florida sites added to the National Register include the Rogers Park Golf Course in Hillsbourough County, designed and built during segregation by African American caddie and golfer Willie Black; the one-room rural Strickland School, near the Georgia border in Leon County, from 1888; and St. Petersburg’s Mediterranean-style Sunset Hotel of 1915.


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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5313
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2015-02-10 08:40 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2015-02-10 00:50, Hurricane Hayward wrote:
The Mai-Kai has been named to the National Register of Historic Places!

From The Miami Herald ... http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article9639449.html

George Washington didn’t sleep at the Vagabond Motel in Miami or down a Bora Bora at Fort Lauderdale’s tiki-fantasia Mai-Kai Restaurant. But that didn’t keep either of the kitschy-cool 1950s landmarks from making it onto the National Register of Historic Places.

Both were nominated for the honor by the state of Florida, which announced Monday that the sites were among seven additions from the state to the federal register. The list, selected by the National Park Service, recognizes the most significant buildings and places across the country.

The honor comes as both the Vagabond and the Mai-Kai enjoy a resurgence.

The Vagabond, which reopened last fall after sitting vacant on Biscayne Boulevard for years, has been recast as a chic, retro-hip boutique hotel, dining spot and hangout. All its original details, including its signature neon sign and frolicking-nymphs-and-dolphins fountain, were fully restored. The motel is also designated historic by the city of Miami and sits within the larger and also resurgent MiMo-Biscayne Historic District.

The Mai-Kai, which is actually just over the Fort Lauderdale city line in Oakland Park, retained its full kitschy charm nearly unaltered despite several expansions and an extensive renovation a decade ago necessitated by damage from Hurricane Wilma. Its Polynesian revue and large drinks, which reputedly use the same recipes devised by tiki-craze originator Don the Beachcomber in the 1930s, are enduring lures for tourists and locals.

The inclusion of the Vagabond and the Mai-Kai on the register reflects their iconic place in popular South Florida culture, and cements growing recognition of the abiding importance of Mid-Century tourist-oriented roadside architecture to the region’s development.

Both were designed by prominent South Florida architects who worked in the style now known as Miami Modern, or MiMo. Though, to be sure, there’s nothing Bauhaus about the Polynesian-inspired, thatch-roofed Mai-Kai, its neon sign is very much in the tradition of the 1950s roadside South Florida attractions that so many people recall fondly.

“The architecture behind them has that sexy curb appeal to catch people as they’re driving by,” said Teri D’Amico, an interior designer and co-coiner of the term MiMo. “It’s American history when it’s down here, because so many people traveled here and remember them. It was the adventure of getting away from home.”

The Mai-Kai, which advertises itself as the longest-running tiki-theme restaurant in America, is also be one of the last surviving originals from the decades when they were all the rage, D’Amico said.

“It is a classic,” she said. “That represents our tiki, and there’s very little left. And that one building can represent that whole era.”

The Vagabond, from 1953, was the work of Robert Swartburg, a versatile architect also responsible for the earlier Art Deco Delano and Clevelander hotels on South Beach.

The Mai-Kai, which opened in 1956, was designed by Fort Lauderdale MiMo master Charles McKirahan, who designed the Bay Harbor Islands apartment house, now under threat of demolition, that served as the main character’s home in the hit cable-TV series Dexter. Serving as a Mai-Kai consultant was legendary Japanese-American woodworker and furniture maker George Nakashima, whose own home and studio in Pennsylvania is also on the National Register and is designated a National Historic Landmark as well.

Other Florida sites added to the National Register include the Rogers Park Golf Course in Hillsbourough County, designed and built during segregation by African American caddie and golfer Willie Black; the one-room rural Strickland School, near the Georgia border in Leon County, from 1888; and St. Petersburg’s Mediterranean-style Sunset Hotel of 1915.




So wish they would contact a guy like me to correct their errors before they print them. George Nakashima the Mai-Kai architect is not George Nakashima the furniture designer. Mai-Kai has no neon sign. The original structure, which hard to see now after much added development on the property was very Modern. "Kitschy" needs to be beaten out of the mouths of writers about the Mai-Kai. Classic is better. "Steak N Shake" is kitschy. The Mai-Kai with its Maitre D', Seating Captains, bathroom attendants, etc. is not that. You can't lump it in with Alligator World or whatever other Raodside they want to make it. If so, then that kitschy Vielle MAison camped up French restaurant down the road was also in the genre...


_________________

"Mai-Kai: History & Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant" the book


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exquisitecorpse
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 26, 2009
Posts: 316
From: philadelphia
Posted: 2015-02-10 11:35 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2015-02-10 00:50, Hurricane Hayward wrote:
The Mai-Kai has been named to the National Register of Historic Places!



This will help a lot in securing matching funding from the city/state towards any repairs they make to maintain the original structure/decor.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11594
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2015-02-10 7:52 pm   Permalink

Wunderbar! The same nomination did not save the Kahiki, but I believe the Mai Kai will make good use of it.

Well put, Swanky. George Nakashima the furniture designer - today's journalists research goes no more than one mouse click deep, it seems.


 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5313
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2015-02-11 06:04 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2015-02-10 11:35, exquisitecorpse wrote:
Quote:

On 2015-02-10 00:50, Hurricane Hayward wrote:
The Mai-Kai has been named to the National Register of Historic Places!



This will help a lot in securing matching funding from the city/state towards any repairs they make to maintain the original structure/decor.



It could, but if they take money from the government, then they fall under a lot of restrictions in how they alter the building that they would not want. They'd have to get approval to repair a window or any number of things that they have been doing for over 50 years.
_________________

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