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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki The Aku-Aku in Las Vegas
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The Aku-Aku in Las Vegas
Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4244
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2009-04-26 10:37 am   Permalink

Great old photo of the Aku Aku building.

I never really noticed the little A-frame building on the right of the main restaurant before. Does anybody know what that was? There are two Eli moais in the photo.



Also picked up a couple of the Lucky Aku Aku coins.



DC


 
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RevBambooBen
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 12, 2002
Posts: 7438
From: Huntikington Beach
Posted: 2009-04-26 7:34 pm   Permalink

7 total...


DC rocks!


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4244
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2009-05-24 11:17 am   Permalink

Another early photo of the Stardust and the Aku Aku. A different Moai by the restaurant sign?? I can't seem to figure this thing out.




DC


 
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Ojaitimo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 04, 2006
Posts: 1313
Posted: 2009-05-26 12:15 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-04-26 10:37, Dustycajun wrote:
Great old photo of the Aku Aku building.

I never really noticed the little A-frame building on the right of the main restaurant before. Does anybody know what that was? There are two Eli moais in the photo.






I think this was the entrance to the hotel lobby and casino. As I recall there was a air conditioned hallway with Aku Aku decor. It led to the casino or left to the casino entrance of the Aku Aku.


 
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uncle trav
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1760
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-05-26 4:05 pm   Permalink

A little history from the Classic Las Vegas site.
________________________________________________________________________________________________

In keeping with the times, the beloved Aku-Aku Restaurant opened in January 1960. Playing on the current rage for all things Polynesian and tiki, the Aku-Aku paid homage to the island cultures of the South Pacific. It was built between the Stardust and the old Royal Nevada. Out front, a neon rimmed shield and giant arrows sign was added along with the giant moai that immediately brought to mind the giant statues on Easter Island and the adventures of Thor Heyerdahl. The word Aku-Aku was from the Easter Islands where they were said to be the guardians of the sacred family caves.

The restaurant cost $620,000 to build and decorate. The opening was a black-tie event that brought out the cream of Las Vegas society and numerous politicians. The moai statues and most of the interiors were created by Eli Hedley who was a self-styled "beachcomber". The drink menu was designed by Donn Beach who was better known as "Don the Beachcomber" and he had his own Polynesian restaurant at the Sahara. The Aku-Aku Gold Cup was served in a "stemmed glass containing its own little bandshell of crushed ice cooling "Mexican Limes." The Savage Island Pearl Cocktail was "especially recommended for the ladies with a genuine pearl in each cocktail." Both would set you back $1.20.


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uncle trav
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1760
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-05-28 2:08 pm   Permalink

A rendering from the Stardust in Vegas from 1962. Though it's not Tiki it gives a feel for the times.



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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3811
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2009-06-21 2:04 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-05-24 11:17, Dustycajun wrote:
Another early photo of the Stardust and the Aku Aku. A different Moai by the restaurant sign?? I can't seem to figure this thing out.




DC



Those were the days!


 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2792
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2009-08-06 8:03 pm   Permalink

This article was in the Dec 67/Jan 68 issue of the casino's "STARDUST NEWS" magazine.

The Magic Touch: Kenny Ryan Knows The Ingredients That Make For A Great Restaurant

If a tourist wants to combine a trip to Las Vegas with a visit to the South Sea Islands all he has to do is lift up his telephone and make a reservation at the Stardust's Aku Aku.

The minute you set foot in this exotic restaurant you are instantly transported to the romantic atmosphere of the legendary islands of the South Pacific. You see tropical plants growing against stone walls. You hear the gentle splash of water like the sound of a waterfall in a peaceful clearing.

The soft music of the islands engulfs you and you may even find yourself swaying just a little to its hypnotic rhythms.

As you pass through the bar you see that its roof is thatched. By the time you enter the main dining room with its peaked Polynesian Roof, you will know you are in another world.

But the best is yet to come. Look at that menu. There is pressed duck, Yokohama teriyaki steak, curries, broiled mahimahi and other Polynesian and Chinese dishes to tease the palate of the most sophisticated gourmet. This is the restaurant which Holiday Magazine described as "Perhaps the best on the Strip."

You would swear that they must have imported a whole tribe of Polynesians to make the Aku Aku the kind of place that it is. but the truth of the matter is that the fellow who helped make it a great restaurant came out of Peoria, Ill.

Kenny Ryan, Manager of the Aku Aku, broke into the hotel business while he was still in college in Peoria. He rose from night bellman to Executive Assistant Manager working nights. When he came to Las Vegas he soon became the top dining room captain on the Strip.

In 1960 the Stardust gave Kenny a chance to prove that he could create a great restaurant. He was given the authority to buy the finest foods and to get the best staff he could find. It didn't take Kenny long to make the Aku Aku the busiest diner restaurant in Las Vegas.

So in 1966, when the Stardust wanted to open another unusual restaurant, they knew where to turn. They wanted a fine seafood restaurant and with a location in the desert. You can imagine what problems that posed.

But today ask any native of Las Vegas what's the best seafood restaurant in Las Vegas (as well as the best steakhouse) and they'll tell you its the Stardust's Moby Dick.

They may not know why it's so great, but if anybody asks you, you can tell them. When it comes to restaurants Kenny Ryan has the magic touch.




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Robb Hamel
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 07, 2008
Posts: 1013
From: Ohio
Posted: 2009-08-07 04:54 am   Permalink

The Neptune dining room? Awesome.

Good job netting the rendering.


 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2792
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2009-09-11 9:19 pm   Permalink

Another small picture from a Stardust brochure:








It looks like sign might read "Dining Room".


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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4244
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2009-09-12 10:40 am   Permalink

Nice find Sabu. Love the bridge over the river feature at the restaurant entry.

Looks like a giant Tiki Bob at the Aku Aku!





DC


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4244
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2009-10-10 10:00 am   Permalink

Found another nice photo of the Eli Moai out in front by the Aku Aku sign.



Check out the early version of the stretch limo/station wagon Vegas style!

DC


 
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TikiGabe661
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Oct 01, 2009
Posts: 31
From: SoCal
Posted: 2009-10-11 01:50 am   Permalink

Never heard of the place....must be old...

 
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uncle trav
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1760
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-10-26 05:30 am   Permalink

Thought I would post a mug on the thread. And a beat up swizzle that I haven't seen before from the Aku Aku, the only thing that saves it from the trash.




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"Anyone who has ever seen them is thereafter haunted as if by a feverish dream" Karl Woermann


 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3811
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2010-01-05 6:31 pm   Permalink

Nice post, Uncle Trav. Now I will have to sort through my mugs to see if I have one with that on the back!

 
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