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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki The Waikiki Room at the Hotel Nicollet - Minneapolis, MN
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The Waikiki Room at the Hotel Nicollet - Minneapolis, MN
Sabu The Coconut Boy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2793
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2003-05-28 12:03 pm   Permalink

Puamana and I have been comparing our collections lately by e-mail - seeing where they overlap. She specializes in menus and I specialize in postcards.

We thought we'd try a weekly feature where we choose a particular tiki bar in both our collections and show you both the menu and the postcard, (and maybe a matchbook or napkin if we've got one). Besides being nice eye-candy, it gives you a more complete picture of what these places looked like, what drinks they served, and maybe a little history as well.

This week we're focusing on the Waikiki Room at the Hotel Nicollet in Minneapolis.

Postcards showing the outside of the Hotel Nicollet are fairly common on ebay. There were actually two buildings. The first was built in 1858.


A grand hotel when it was built, by the 1920s it was considered an embarassment and was torn down and rebuilt larger still:


Nothing tiki about it. But sometime in the 1950s, the Waikiki Room was created inside:


The postcard states: "Exotic Waikiki Room... As Hawaiian as the glowing splendor of Diamond Head... The Waikiki Room's exciting tropical decor...its fabulous Polynesian cuisine and beverages ahave been imported directly from Hawaii to give you a thrilling new experience in dining pleasure."

I like the strange mixture of the green vinyl and the bamboo. These 'stealth' tiki bars are some of my favorites - housed in an old brownstone or art-deco building that gives no hint of the Polynesian paradise within. I'll try to do a post of just these hidden hotel tiki bars sometime in the future.

For more info on the Hotel Nicollet and the Waikiki Room, (including what the site looks like today), follow the "Next" and "Back" links on this page:
http://www.lileks.com/mpls/hotels/nicollet/10.html

Puamana's menu should fill in some more details about the place.

Sabu


[ This Message was edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy on 2003-05-28 17:13 ]


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PolynesianPop
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2368
From: Corona, Ca
Posted: 2003-05-28 12:07 pm   Permalink

Sabu/Puamana, very cool idea!


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Poly-Pop *



Bartender, make mine a glass of WATAHHH!!!!!


 
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puamana
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 02, 2002
Posts: 291
From: Seattle, WA
Posted: 2003-05-28 12:27 pm   Permalink

Here's 2 menus & a little informational flier from the Waikiki Room . First is a tropical drinks menu,
its too small to read the drink descriptions , but some of those pictured are : Tahitian Rum Punch, Neyog Rum Punch, Royal Navy Grog, Waikiki Downfall, Hilo Driver, Honolulu Jelep, Diamond Head Punch, Pina Rum Punch, Zombie, Rum Swizzle, etc.



The flier from the Waikiki Room has a list of South Pacific relics that are displayed throughout the restaurant
(list is pictured below - I hope its readable in the photo), and has the following introduction :

"Here in the Waikiki Room you will find bamboo from Formosa, chairs from Hong Kong, the
decorations from Tahiti, Samoa, the Gilbert Isalnds, the man eating clam shells from the Great
Barrier Reef, the coral from the Philippines, the beautiful table tops, the bar top from Hawaii, the
tapa from Samoa, the fern trunks from the forests of Hawaii, and other materials from agents in the far
corners of the Pacific. We recommend that you make a trip to the Beach at Waikiki, and enjoy hospitality,
the food and good potables, delightful native entertainment, and native feast, called, a " Luau".

The food and beverages the Waikiki Room menu affords are unique and typical of the Islands.
The greatest possible care has been taken to see that the Waikiki Room itself, its decorations,
its food, beverages and service, are all authentic Polynesian and similar to what you will find in
the very best places of Hawaii and the Islands."


Following is a '54 dinner menu. I wonder if that backdrop of Diamond Head could have been a lighted display, or just a mural ?


Great idea to show the outside of the hotel building, as well as the interior . Gotta love those green vinyl booths !


[ This Message was edited by: puamana on 2003-05-28 12:38 ]


 
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Tiki_Bong
Deleted

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 0
Posted: 2003-05-28 12:56 pm   Permalink

Nice collaborative effort. Entertaining, yet informative. If only the Tiki Time Transporter was working...

    
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purple jade
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 19, 2003
Posts: 1450
From: New Orleans
Posted: 2003-05-28 1:00 pm   Permalink

You guys make one heck of a team! Any thoughts about collaborating on a website or book or something?

 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2793
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2003-05-28 5:04 pm   Permalink

The Waikiki Room is long gone, but evidently their Polynesian Sauce lives on in Minneapolis:
http://www.citypages.com/databank/20/956/article7420.asp

Sabu


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puamana
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 02, 2002
Posts: 291
From: Seattle, WA
Posted: 2003-05-29 08:38 am   Permalink

Just found another bit of information that might be of interest. A menu from another hotel in Minneapolis, the Leamington, also had a restaurant called the Waikiki Room. At first I thought it may have been the Nicollet renamed, but its a different hotel, from what I found so far. The cover has an illustrated view of the dining room, and uses the same tiki logo as the Nicollet's Waikiki Room.


Here's a closer view of the logo tiki, as well as the introduction inside, which sounds similar to the Nicollet. Could have just been borrowed elements, but I wonder if the remnants of the Waikiki Room /Nicollet could have gone to the Waikiki Room /Leamington ? Just a thought.



 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2793
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2003-05-29 5:36 pm   Permalink

It does look like another incarnation of the same restaurant. Even the chairs look identical.

Here's a photo of what the Hotel Leamington looked like in the 1960s, probably about the Waikiki Room was operating:




 
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DaneTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 29, 2002
Posts: 113
From: Minneapolis, MN
Posted: 2003-06-01 4:58 pm   Permalink

The Hotel Nicollet and the Leamington were at opposite ends of the city. The Leamington site now has a big parking garage/city bus transit center in it. The second Hotel Nicollet was in Mpls's late, lamented Gateway district, once the pride of the city, later Skid Row, later still a bunch of parking lots, ugly condos and office buildings. I'm not sure, but I think the site is now a surface parking lot (it also has an old fancy bus shelter from the late 1980s sitting there forlorn.)

It's so sad to think of all the great Tiki locations that we once had here in the Twin Cities. All gone now. Likewise the nice hotels. I haven't stayed in any of the current ones, but judging from what I've seen (exteriors and lobbies and restaurants) they're just about the most uninspired collection of dreck you could imagine. I don't think there's a single large downtown hotel in Mpls that dates from before the mid-1970s.

Thanks to Sabu and Puamana! It's nice to see this history, despite the melancholy associated with it.



 
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tiki*seeker
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Apr 25, 2003
Posts: 12
Posted: 2003-06-02 2:53 pm   Permalink

The Waikiki room is just about the most beautiful thing I've seen. Oh why, oh why have all those beautiful 50's hotel tiki rooms gone away? Its so bittersweet looking at that post card and that wonderful menu. Sigh.

 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4400
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2009-01-19 8:55 pm   Permalink

Such a shame to see all of the red Xs instead of pictures on this post. Here is a menu from the Waikiki Room that I saw on ebay.



Here is the postcard and another menu from Mimi's website.





And the menu from the other Waikiki Room at the Leamington Hotel.





DC


 
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Murph
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jul 11, 2006
Posts: 719
From: SoCal
Posted: 2009-01-20 10:17 am   Permalink

The Waikiki Room! This place brings back memories.
I spent the first 14 years of my life in Minneapolis and the Waikiki Room was my favorite restaurant!
I would hound my parents to take me there.
Going out to dinner back then was a very rare occasion and a big event.
On my birthday we would go as a whole family, uncle, aunt, grandparents etc...
I would always get the pressed duck, yum.
Fun memories and the inspiration for my home bar's name: The Waikiki Womb"

I bet there are some family photos of the Waikiki Room in my folks stuff, I'll have to check.
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Murph


WaikikiWomb

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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4400
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2009-01-20 11:36 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-01-20 10:17, Murph wrote:
I bet there are some family photos of the Waikiki Room in my folks stuff, I'll have to check.



Murph,

That would be great if you could post some old photos from your days at the Waikiki Room.

DC


 
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Mongoloid
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 25, 2008
Posts: 590
From: Long Beach
Posted: 2009-01-20 2:07 pm   Permalink

The Waikiki Womb!! I love it! Great play on words!

 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4400
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2009-01-20 4:57 pm   Permalink

Here is a matchbook I have from the Waikiki Room.



DC



 
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