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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Events » » Other Events » » Trader Vic's ~ Bellevue Washington
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Trader Vic's ~ Bellevue Washington
Tikiwahine
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3288
From: Victoria, BC
Posted: 2006-02-20 10:59 am   Permalink

Yayyy!!
DrunkenMunky and I will be there for the 25th, I can't wait!


 
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Pepe le Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 09, 2005
Posts: 325
From: Vancouver, BC
Posted: 2006-02-20 1:04 pm   Permalink

We'll be there too!

[ This Message was edited by: Pepe le Tiki 2006-02-20 13:47 ]


 
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edurban
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 30, 2005
Posts: 12
From: New York, NY
Posted: 2006-02-20 9:49 pm   Permalink

Thunder and lightning! How long does NYC have to wait to get OUR TV's back? Am I never again to enjoy one of the Vic's scorpions that brightened my college days? A pox on the Trumps and their foul ideas of "classy" and "tasteful".

 
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dogbytes
  

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 2242
From: seattle, wa
Posted: 2006-02-22 08:40 am   Permalink

Today's Seattle Times had an article and lots of recipies!

Taste of the Town
Aloha, Trader Vic's! The venerable purveyor of tiki culture returns


Your favorite drink is a Scorpion — with four straws. You can recite the recipe for Crab Rangoon — with your eyes closed. Your home décor is heavy with menehune, the scent of gardenias makes you crazy and the memory of a man named Harry Wong brings tears to your eyes.

Face it, friend. You are a Trader Vic's-ionado.

And when the doors open March 6 at the new Trader Vic's in Bellevue — 15 years after Seattle bid a teary farewell to that South Seas paradise in the Westin hotel — you'll no longer have to leave town for a Trader Vic's fix.

"I'm ecstatic! It's a dream come true," says Theresa Dowell, a Bellevue attorney whose law office is blocks away from the Trader's new Lincoln Square location. Her Leschi home is a tiki-lover's treasure chest of Trader Vic's memorabilia: mai tai glasses and menehune (carvings of Hawaii's legendary little people), tortoise shells and skull mugs, much of it purchased at auction when Trader Vic's Seattle closed in 1991.

Dowell says her husband, Greg Jones, is thrilled about Bellevue, too. "It'll be so much cheaper for us to drive across the bridge," she says, instead of traveling to Trader Vic's outposts in Beverly Hills, London, Taipei and Bangkok, as they frequently do.

The couple recently introduced their 5-year-old daughter, Jeannine, to her first Trader Vic's experience in Emeryville, Calif. What was the youngster's reaction to the legendary restaurant founded by the late Vic Bergeron and franchised on several continents in the years since? "She loved it!"

Pupus, anyone?


Trader Vic's, Lincoln Square, 700 Bellevue Way, Suite 50, Bellevue, is set to open March 6. Hours: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays (425-455-4483 or www.tradervicsbellevue.com).
Whether a new generation of diners will learn to love Trader Vic's in Bellevue remains to be seen. But there's no shortage of locals greatly anticipating its opening.

Charity auctioneers Sharon and Dick Friel will be there next week, attending a private "preview" dinner that raised $25,000 during the Hutch 2005 Holiday Gala. "We purchased two sets of tickets at $250 per couple," says Sharon Friel, who considers that a small price to pay for reliving the time of her life.

Friel has Trader Vic's to thank for her signature adornment: a fresh gardenia she wears to each of the 60 auctions the couple works every year. On Valentine's Day, her husband of 42 years gifted her with a dozen red roses. Tucked into the bouquet were two gardenias, "and it all started at Trader Vic's," she says.

"When I turned 21," Friel explains, "my Kappa Alpha Theta sorority sisters and I would go to the bar there and drink Scorpions." That rum-based drink packed a punch — and a posy. "We'd put the gardenias in our hair and wear them back to the sorority house," says the UW class of '61 grad. "Back then, it was the fashion for sorority girls to wear flowers in their hair, but wearing gardenias was a status symbol. It meant, 'I had been to Trader Vic's!' "

A bygone era

Trader Vic's was synonymous with glamour, says Friel, but she and many other longtime fans also saw the restaurant as a virtual getaway. "You could leave a Seattle rainstorm, walk through the door and be in the tropics. All that wonderful décor! Today, some people might find it corny, but back then, all that bamboo, the hanging canoes, the pupu trays — it was so distinctive."

Chris Canlis, whose father, Peter, founded the 55-year-old restaurant that bears the family name, notes it wasn't just the drinks or the South Seas décor that drew a generation to Trader Vic's. "I think it was a way of being cared for that really grew out of the era of restaurateurs like Vic Bergeron, Peter Canlis and Victor Rosellini." And in Seattle, says Canlis, Harry Wong was the embodiment of Trader Vic's. The restaurant's front-man and manager, Wong "was a gracious, warm, welcoming presence in the downtown dining scene. He set the tone."

"Harry Wong would do anything for his customers," says Tom Robinson, whose wife, Barb, got him hooked on Trader Vic's in 1959. Together they've since traveled the world sipping Tiki Puka Pukas and eating Prawns San Francisco. "Harry was known for his hospitality and his sense of humor. He always recognized us and saved our favorite table."

Once, when the Robinson's were dining with Barb's dad — "a real meat and potatoes guy" — Harry sent out a basket of warm dinner rolls, not something you'd normally find at Trader Vic's. "Later, I asked him where he came up with the rolls," says Robinson. "He'd sent someone up to the Golden Lion in the Olympic Hotel to get them."

Today, their Edmonds home is a tribute to Trader Vic's — and to Harry. Press their doorbell and you'll be pressing the bellybutton of a menehune. Relax in their backyard and you'll see a tile room-divider that once hung in front of the waiter's station at the Westin. Stand in their kitchen and you'll find a plaque that reads "Harry's Room" — a gift from Wong's daughter, Christina Gee, who met the Robinsons when they attended her father's funeral service in 2002.

Remembering Harry

Gee describes her dad as "an amazing man" who worked his way up, moving from a Chinatown grocery and restaurant to take a job as cocktail waiter at the Outrigger (as Trader Vic's Seattle was originally known) in 1952. "He told me he was just a lucky guy who got good breaks." Gee recalls helping out at the restaurant in the '60s during a hotel strike.

"It was so much fun and enlightening to see him in a different light. How social, how comfortable he was greeting customers and talking to them — because that wasn't my dad," she says. "At home he was quiet and somewhat serious. He worked long hours, and we didn't see him very often." After he retired, Gee remembers how "every evening he would get antsy around the dinner hour. That's when he was 'on show,' and he missed that socialization."

Doug Guiberson remembers Wong as a best friend and mentor during his 10-year career with Trader Vic's and after, when Guiberson left to manage Canlis. Today, he's GM at Kirkland's Third Floor Fish Café, where he often encounters patrons from the old days.

"People still come in here and talk to me about how drunk they used to get, and how they'd fall into their Scorpion bowls. One guy claims I once pulled his head out of the bowl — and saved him from drowning," says Guiberson. He thinks some former patrons are "going to be comparing Harry's restaurant to this one, and that's going to be a tough match.

"Trader Vic's was decades ahead of any restaurant," he notes. "Back then, you never walked into a place that smelled of curry odors and exotic spices. The spareribs out of the barbecue oven, the lamb chops, the steaks, it was just a fantastic product."

Today, with pan-Asian menus in restaurants throughout Greater Seattle and fresh-fruit cocktails all the rage, can Trader Vic's still dazzle?

Thomas Price thinks so. He and his wife, Jessica, used to travel to Portland and San Francisco for a Trader Vic's fix before deciding to "rekindle the whole '50s Polynesian kitsch-thing" at Luau Polynesian Lounge in Wallingford in 1997. "Everybody thought we were crazy," Price recalls but says the proliferation of other island-inspired restaurants — Belltown's Ohana, downtown's The Islander and now the return of Trader Vic's — proves they weren't.

"Young people are into tiki culture 110 percent. They love the fun and the fact that you don't have to go into a restaurant and act cool, or know too much about food or wine. You just have to say, 'I'll take some pupus and that drink — the one with the coconut and the umbrella!' "

Nancy Leson: 206-464-8838 or taste@seattletimes.com.



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dogbytes
  

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 2242
From: seattle, wa
Posted: 2006-02-22 09:09 am   Permalink



"I'm ecstatic! It's a dream come true," says Theresa Dowell about the opening of the Bellevue Trader Vic's. She's shown here with her husband, Greg Jones, and their tiki memorabilia.

wow, they live in my neighborhood! looks like they have quite a collection. i think Mrs TikiRiviera (and her big purse) and i should go visit!


 
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puamana
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 02, 2002
Posts: 291
From: Seattle, WA
Posted: 2006-02-22 1:26 pm   Permalink

We were just in Bellevue this morning, and stopped by Lincoln Square. We peeked through the front window of Trader Vic's, and though it looks like there's still a ways to go before the opening, there's lots of tapa in place, and the big outrigger is hanging above the bar. We can't wait !


 
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woofmutt
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 26, 2002
Posts: 2610
From: Seattilite Telstar
Posted: 2006-02-26 07:09 am   Permalink

I was around Lincoln Square in Hellevue last night and also stopped by Vic's to see what I could see. The bar is a described by Puamana but it looks like all the trim work still needs done, the place cleaned up, and decor added. There was a guy there setting stone for the main entrance and he said they'd be open on time. Apparently the restaurant part is finished and staff training starts this week.

A word of advice for planning a visit: Last night every restaurant and bar in the Lincoln Square area was pretty much packed and apparently under staffed. Vic's may be similarly slammed on a Saturday night.


 
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Selector Lopaka
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 07, 2003
Posts: 204
From: Jet City
Posted: 2006-03-06 10:51 pm   Permalink

Puamana and I just got home from having a swell time at the opening night of TV's with the Tiki Rivieras! The place was packed, but not too packed. The Rivieras got there first, and saved us two bar stools (Mahalo). We eventually moved to a little bar table. Puamana and I had Mai Tais which were quite tasty. I saw at least 3 Trader Vic's brand liquids going into them, as well as fresh lime juice and a mint, pineapple and cherry garnish. It was the best tasting Mai Tai I've ever been served at a bar in the Seattle area. It was nice running into local TCers, Seatiki, as well.

The service was excellent. The staff seemed enthusiastic. Folks with dinner reservations received fresh leis. Our bartender was working up a sweat. The portions of the pupus we had were generous, and were very good. Enjoy our photos, sorry for the blurry ones. We are grateful to have a TV's in the Seattle area, and we are so looking forward to gathering with fellow TCers later this month.



























 
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dogbytes
  

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 2242
From: seattle, wa
Posted: 2006-03-07 12:06 am   Permalink

oooh looks like a great place..those drinks look a billion times better than the swill Todd was served at Don the Beachcomber on Maui tonight!

thanks for scoping it out for us, and posting pix.. see you there.. in 2 weeks!


 
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Tikiwahine
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3288
From: Victoria, BC
Posted: 2006-03-07 09:34 am   Permalink

Thank you for the wonderful photos and report!

It's looking great, I can't wait to experience it first hand.


 
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Pepe le Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 09, 2005
Posts: 325
From: Vancouver, BC
Posted: 2006-03-07 11:33 am   Permalink

Thanks for sharing the great photos, Selector!
I'm counting the days!!!


 
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woofmutt
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 26, 2002
Posts: 2610
From: Seattilite Telstar
Posted: 2006-03-07 11:51 am   Permalink

Great pictures! My curiosity is fully satisfied and I now have no reason to ever go back to Hellevue...Thank you...Thank you!

 
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Sea-Tiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 13, 2004
Posts: 72
Posted: 2006-03-07 12:44 pm   Permalink

Tiki Brothers and Sisters,

Sea-Tiki and I hit it up last night--props to Selector Lopaka and crew for also showing up! I posted a review on site--holla!


 
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Sea-Tiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 13, 2004
Posts: 72
Posted: 2006-03-07 12:46 pm   Permalink

Aloha Lopaka! Great to see you last night! When shalt we return?

 
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Unga Bunga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5824
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2006-03-07 1:00 pm   Permalink

What! No waterfalls?

 
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