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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Travel trader vic's chicago closing....again???
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trader vic's chicago closing....again???
Tikinaut
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Nov 26, 2006
Posts: 76
Posted: 2011-02-27 08:06 am   Permalink

I heard from a reliable source that Trader Vic's Chicago has closed its doors once again. I don't see anything about this online. Is this true? Please tell me I'm wrong.

 
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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2022
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2011-02-27 2:14 pm   Permalink

Hi

It wouldn't surprise me.
The past few times I've been there, the place was nearly deserted.
Last time was probably six months ago... it's a surprise that they hung on as long as they did.




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khan_tiki_mon
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 15, 2006
Posts: 276
From: Syracuse, NY
Posted: 2011-02-27 6:24 pm   Permalink

My wife and I were there in August. We had some delicious cocktails at the bar and a very nice dinner. It wasn't as busy as I thought it would be or as busy as I thought it should be. I have no Tiki establishments anywhere near where I live. We made a special trip from Dayton, Ohio after Festiki with one of the main destinations being Trader Vic's Chicago. I do what I can to support Tiki. What a shame if it is closed. You can check out some of my pictures from the visit on my website here: http://mysite.verizon.net/vzep0565/id50.html
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Kill Devil
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 222
From: Chicago
Posted: 2011-02-28 09:32 am   Permalink

Well, it's not listed on the Trader Vic's website any longer, not good. If it had only stayed where it BELONGED in the first place. To Hell with the Palmer House!

 
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Ragbag Comics
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 24, 2009
Posts: 124
From: Chicago
Posted: 2011-03-04 5:52 pm   Permalink

False alarm, friends: Trader Vic's Chicago is still rolling along.

We just went there for dinner last night. There have been some changes, but all seem to be for the better.

We've had a tumultuous relationship with Vic's since they reopened... Food-wise, our first few visits were outstanding, then we had a couple of full-blown bad turns, and a handful of mediocre ones. The drinks have consistently been excellent, however, and their bartenders are some of the best around.

We continue to go there because (a.) we gotta support the cause, and (b.) it's the only true tiki haven within Chicago city limits (read: accessible by public trans so I can get stinky drunk and still get home in one piece.) Also, though it's certainly not the Palmer House (and it's on Rush Street- the highest concentration of Ed Hardy morons in the city)I think they did a SUPERB job recreating the vibe of the original Vic's with modern twist (when they aren't playing Aerosmith and football.)

This time, the food was quite excellent (I HIGHLY recommend the Ahi Tuna sandwich- it was outstandingly good!) Also, the menu was revamped so there are many lower-cost option so you can pop in and grab a $15 entree as opposed to a $30 to $40 entree.

We heard something from a little bird there that might explain the precipitous drop in quality of reviews on Yelp and other review sites...

Apparently when they opened, they had a chef who was outstanding and passionate and created most of the items on their menu. He left and was replaced with someone lacking in the passion department, which resulted in a discernible drop in quality. He has since (just within the last month) been replaced with someone who clearly knows his stuff.

We had a GREAT time- they played surf & 60's instrumental music the entire time, the food was excellent, and it was $5 Mai Tai night. I had five, so it was nice to be able to hop on the Red Line and get home in one piece.

No Trader Vic's means I won't be able to do that anymore...

I get the feeling there are people there whose hearts are squarely in the right place, perhaps they just need some guidance in the ways of True Tiki. If anybody local wants to start a Trader Vic's night (I recommend Mondays for $5 Suffering Bastards) I'd be game. With the new lower-cost food menu, a bunch of us could come out, grab a delicious-and-affordable dinner and grab some of the best tropical cocktails in the city limits.

Anybody up to the task?




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croe67
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 05, 2003
Posts: 1062
From: Land of Cheese & Beer
Posted: 2011-03-04 6:34 pm   Permalink

Exact same experience on the food here. Started off great. But - it sucked for about the last year. I gave it several tries & eventually gave up on all but the ahi & pupus. That chef refused to use the Chinese oven & took all of the wonderful dishes that cam out of the oven off the menu. I would try to request them when I went, but no go. I am thrilled to hear there is a new chef. Fingers crossed he will embrace the Chinese oven & bring back some of the amazing dishes that come out of those ovens!!! I'd be going there a lot more often if they get back on track in that regard!

Similar experience on the drinks, here - they have generally maintained the quality on that front. At least more so than the food.

Good to hear on the music. I cannot say I have had that experience - usually bad pop music of one form or another & sports on the TVs. ICK. Kills the vibe. Big time.


We've got a group going tomorrow night. Will have to request decent music if it isn;t already going when we walk in the door.
Will be interesting to see where things are at.



 
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Michelle66
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 05, 2011
Posts: 43
Posted: 2011-03-05 01:29 am   Permalink

The Trader Vic's in Chicago is still AWOL from the corporate website. And, its dedicated URL (http://www.tradervicschicago.com) now bumps you to the main corporate site.

I wonder what's going on?


 
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Ragbag Comics
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 24, 2009
Posts: 124
From: Chicago
Posted: 2011-03-05 10:20 am   Permalink

I did notice the website issue, which is a bit disconcerting.

But at least as of a few weeks ago, that they hadn't updated their website in months, damn near since it was first put up. The events section was always empty, as were the drink specials (though they still HAD events and drink specials if you went to the source.)Both sections said "updates coming soon."

My theory is that they are overhauling the website, so they took it offline.

As far as it not being listed on the main Trader Vic's site, I'm no tech guy (far from it) but perhaps the way their site is linked up, if one of the locations' sites is taken down, it no longer shows up on the main site?

Not sure- it's a puzzler. I had meant to ask about it, but it somehow slipped my mind after five Mai Tais.

One promising thing we saw was that the corporate events space (down the hall from the main dining room) was in use. They had a buffet set up for 'em and everything. We've NEVER seen that room being used... hopefully if they start bringing in those fat corporate checks, they can keep the ship sailing. I know that *I'd* certainly rather watch a dull powerpoint presentation surrounded by oceanic artifacts and downing a Fog Cutter and crab legs than stuffed in a board room somewhere.

We're planning to go back in a few weeks (just in case.) I'll definitely ask about the website- if you guys get there sooner, let us know what you find out!

ALSO! Forgot to mention that you can grab some excellent coupons on Restaurant.com from time to time... $50 gift certificate for $25? Yes, please...



 
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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2022
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2011-03-05 11:35 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2011-03-04 17:52, Ragbag Comics wrote:If anybody local wants to start a Trader Vic's night (I recommend Mondays for $5 Suffering Bastards) I'd be game. With the new lower-cost food menu, a bunch of us could come out, grab a delicious-and-affordable dinner and grab some of the best tropical cocktails in the city limits.
Anybody up to the task?



This is a fine idea; but instead of waiting for others, why don't *you* start it?

Just FYI, I've already done that job... for the newer members on this thread (I see several, welcome) I organized a rather large monthly gathering at the old Palmer House location for a while, and then a less elaborate live music night during the first year of the current location.

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/search.php?term="Tabu+tiki+night"&submit=Search&srch=both&frm=all&usr=&srt=newest

It can be done.
If you plan it, Ragbag, I will come!






_________________
- James T.
My new book is "Destination: Cocktails": www.destinationcocktails.com.
Get "Big Stone Head: Easter Island and Pop Culture" at: www.bigstonehead.com.
See www.tydirium.net for Tiki Road Trip, global travelogues, and more!


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Ragbag Comics
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 24, 2009
Posts: 124
From: Chicago
Posted: 2011-03-05 1:04 pm   Permalink

Hey James-

I should've guessed you were at the helm of those music nights... leave it to ol' anti-social me
to lurk in the corner and not introduce myself to anybody.

I see your challenge, sir, and I accept it.

I'll start makin' some phone calls wikiwiki. With luck, we can have something rollin' steady in the
next handful of months.

More tiki-related events in the Midwest, however major or minor, is definitely a positive thing.

We Chicagoans gotta scratch that Tonga Itch, too...



 
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Kill Devil
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 222
From: Chicago
Posted: 2011-03-08 09:05 am   Permalink

Wow, I thought she was a goner. I'll take this a sign to get my ass there more ASAP. Drives me nuts that some chef would ignore the great Trader Vic traditions, as well as the inexcusable non-existence in cyberspace---WTF?!

Thanks for following up on this guys!!!


 
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croe67
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 05, 2003
Posts: 1062
From: Land of Cheese & Beer
Posted: 2011-03-08 09:47 am   Permalink

Saturday night the place had a good amount of people 8:30-11:30, which was a nice change to see.

They have also *finally* started advertising in some of the tourist magazines, which should help traffic on an on-going basis.

The music was great - didn't have to say at thing - exotica, surf.....

Our favorite bartender from when they opened was back behind the bar, which was good to see. & therefore the drink were excellent

The Chinese oven was fired-up & in use - YEAH!! for the new chef!!!!!

Menu completely changed-up. Looks like it is headed in the right direction from all of the food our group tried. Excellent quality & tasty. Nicely presented, too. I would say the current menu is very much on the casual side of things, though. Would be good if also had a mix of the slightly nicer stuff on there, too. They said the menu is in progress & will continue to change. Also got some positive vibes that the 9-spice chicken is likely to be back on there, too - fingers crossed!!!

Drinks menu is more limited though & just a 2-sided laminate. Would be better to go back to the old drinks menu, please.

So.....yeah....things look to be headed in a better direction than they have been in the past year.

Let's hope the keep it up.

& GO if you are in the area - that's the best way to support these places & help they stay around!!!!!!!!


 
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Michelle66
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 05, 2011
Posts: 43
Posted: 2011-03-09 04:47 am   Permalink

I live in Japan, so I won't be visiting the Chicago TV's, but I think this is great news.

The Tokyo branch of Trader Vic's is a 20-minute subway ride from my house, so that's where I go, but I get a sense of security when restaurant chains I like don't start shuttering locations.

Perhaps the site is down so they can get the new menu up on it.


 
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CucamongaChango
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 13, 2008
Posts: 264
From: Denver, CO
Posted: 2011-03-14 9:23 pm   Permalink

Me and the missus were in the Chicago Vic's tonight, and had a pretty good time.
Beautiful place, but alas not many people... maybe only two tables... but then again, it's a monday night, and the Hawks were playing the Sharks across town.
Drinks were pretty good, except for that the mai-tai had way too much lime, not enough orgeat, and not enough rum. Fog Cutter, Gun Club, and Grog were all damn good, though.
We didn't eat because Morton's was next door... and dammit we wanted steak.
So, there you go... still open.
It ain't Emeryville, but hey, nothing is, you know?
I took some pics, I'll put 'em up tomorrow though cause I'm sleepy.
Night night.


 
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CucamongaChango
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 13, 2008
Posts: 264
From: Denver, CO
Posted: 2011-03-15 08:34 am   Permalink








 
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