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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)
Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 793
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 14 days ago; 12:44 am   Permalink

It's possible this may enable the restoration of the old gift shop building on the north side of the property that has been shut down since hurricane damage years ago. Prior to the designation, I believe they were told they had to tear it down and rebuild if they were to use it as a public building again. That may not be the case now.

 
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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 793
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 14 days ago; 12:52 am   Permalink

Here's the official announcement from the secretary of state:
http://capitalsoup.com/2015/02/09/secretary-detzner-announces-recent-designation-of-florida-properties-on-national-register-of-historic-places-2/

And The Mai-Kai’s page on the National Parks Service website:
http://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/14000951.htm

"The Mai-Kai Restaurant is locally significant under Criteria A in the areas of Commerce and Entertainment/Recreation. It is significant as an intact, still operating, Polynesian-themed restaurant. The period of significance is from 1956 to 1964 when it largely achieved it present appearance. The Mai-Kai reflects national broad patterns of entertainment that began in the 1920s and thrived in the mid-20th century. The Mai-Kai is one of the few remaining Polynesian themed restaurants in Florida. The building, landscaped garden, interior decor, and the operational elements make the Mai-Kai an exemplary of an exotic themed restaurant and tourist destination. In addition to its decor, the Mai-Kai maintains a Polynesian-Asian influenced menu, as well as the mandatory cocktail menu. While the Mai-Kai's food menu has adapted to changing culinary tastes, its drink menu, including the quality ingredients, has not changed since 1956. As a result, the restaurant is renowned for its expert tropical drinks. A review of the Mai-Kai's drink menu indicates over a dozen registered trademark cocktails. The Mai-Kai has a permanent place in a holy trio of old-school holdouts dedicated to the careful construction of their libations."

Swanky (or anyone else): What do you think "holy trio of old-school holdouts" is a reference to? Vic and Don?

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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 1040
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 14 days ago; 06:29 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2015-02-18 00:44, Hurricane Hayward wrote:
It's possible this may enable the restoration of the old gift shop building on the north side of the property that has been shut down since hurricane damage years ago. Prior to the designation, I believe they were told they had to tear it down and rebuild if they were to use it as a public building again. That may not be the case now.



I don't think the physical gift shop building itself would be a loss if it were to be remodeled (or rebuilt from scratch) because the value lies in the architectural style, and any artistic contents, which are of greatest value. The building didn't come from Polynesia. But things which may have, like the tapa cloth coverings and such, are probably too old to salvage and may have been glued or nailed in place. But carvings could be removed, cleaned and restored, and then re-installed in a better physical building.

I took a bunch of photos outside and around the gift shop when I was at the last Hukilau, and some of my photos were taken through the glass. I'll have to pull those up and see what the interior looked like.


 
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Chip and Andy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2234
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 14 days ago; 07:01 am   Permalink

[quote]
On 2015-02-18 06:29, AceExplorer wrote:
Quote:

But things which may have, like the tapa cloth coverings and such, are probably too old to salvage and may have been glued or nailed in place.



Some are glued in place, some are shellacked or lacquered in place, very little of the Tapa on the walls could be recovered. It could be documented in photos and maybe then recreated.....

Quote:
But carvings could be removed, cleaned and restored, and then re-installed in a better physical building.



Most everything of interest has been taken out of the building already. All that is left in there is some bamboo, some thatching, the tapa on the walls.... anything that could be removed has already been removed from the inside.

Quote:
I took a bunch of photos outside and around the gift shop when I was at the last Hukilau, and some of my photos were taken through the glass. I'll have to pull those up and see what the interior looked like.



Yes... and no....

Yes because it is always interesting.

No because it is depressing to see what it looks like now.

For example....

Now it looks like this:



But it used to look like this:



The before picture is so much more exciting, the current picture not so much.

I do hope the Historic Designation helps with the that building because it would be awesome to turn it into a banquet room that could be rented out for parties!

[ This Message was edited by: chip and andy 2015-02-18 10:31 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Chip and Andy 2015-02-18 10:31 ]


 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5092
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 13 days ago; 06:38 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2015-02-18 00:44, Hurricane Hayward wrote:
It's possible this may enable the restoration of the old gift shop building on the north side of the property that has been shut down since hurricane damage years ago. Prior to the designation, I believe they were told they had to tear it down and rebuild if they were to use it as a public building again. That may not be the case now.



It was and is not in danger of demolition. It is perfectly sound.

It was built to be the gift shop, but as the gift shop it was a bit of a failure. It didn't get foot traffic. When it was opened it ended an era in the Mai-Kai as the original gift shop, which was extremely popular and did extremely well, was shuttered. The family that ran it left the Mai-Kai.

It has always suffered from a "what do we do with it" problem. It was a place for small events for a while. Now it is storage mainly. They are working on a new plan for the building and will build it out to suit that plan when it happens. It is a pretty small room and I do not think there is a bathroom over there. I imagine it will either become a small private party room again, or a specialty room. I have heard cigar room discussed. But it may just sit there as spending money over there for a guess at a good purpose is not something they may want to do.

It is being maintained. They have painted and repaired trim etc.

There was a very short time when it was "condemned" due to an inspector giving it a 2 minute walk around and seeing some rotten wood trim and assuming that was what supported the building. He was sent back out and they pointed out the large steel I-beams the building is built on and changed his report.


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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 793
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 13 days ago; 3:26 pm   Permalink

The Mai-Kai's head mixologist, Troy Gallant, will be competing tomorrow night (Feb. 20) against some of the top Tiki bars and bartenders from across the country at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Here's a full preview of The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown, hosted by Emeril Lagasse and featuring guest judges Jeff “Beachbum” Berry and Martin Cate ...
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2015/02/19/bam-its-tiki-time-at-the-south-beach-wine-food-festival/

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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 793
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 10 days ago; 11:42 am   Permalink



On Saturday night, three ‘secret cocktails’ droped in for a night of flights at The Mai-Kai. Here's a full report on the event:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2015/02/21/three-classic-lost-cocktails-drop-in-for-a-night-of-flights-at-the-mai-kai/



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mike and marie
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 141
Posted: 10 days ago; 5:31 pm   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



Wonderful news! We hope to keep enjoying the Mai-Kai for a long long time.


 
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EPCOTExplorer
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 13, 2014
Posts: 225
From: Miami, FL
Posted: 9 days ago; 05:48 am   Permalink

HURRAH for the Mai Kai being added to the NPS! That's great. Hopefully this means that restoration and good things are on the way.
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 1040
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 9 days ago; 07:17 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2015-02-22 11:42, Hurricane Hayward wrote:
On Saturday night, three ‘secret cocktails’ droped in for a night of flights at The Mai-Kai. Here's a full report on the event:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2015/02/21/three-classic-lost-cocktails-drop-in-for-a-night-of-flights-at-the-mai-kai/



Posts on this site cause me to try new drinks as well as discover or re-discover old drinks. I've been slammed lately, and my list of 'gonna try next' has grown way too long. Unfortunately there's only so much you can drink in a weekend, even if you split drinks 50/50 for tasting and testing purposes with a partner-in-crime.

Thanks for posting the scan of the drink list for us, Hurricane.


 
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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 793
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 5 days ago; 9:50 pm   Permalink

AceExplorer (and others): I hate to add more to your to-do list, but here's the recipe for the Molokai Swizzle, The Mai-Kai's entry in "The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown," last week's South Beach Wine & Food Festival event hosted by Emeril Lagasse.

http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2015/02/19/bam-its-tiki-time-at-the-south-beach-wine-food-festival/#molokai-siwzzle

Though it didn't win, I know it appeared near the top of several judges' ballots and was my pick as top drink of the night. The event was a rare opportunity for The Mai-Kai's head mixologist, Troy Gallant, to step into the spotlight. Here's Troy (right) with general manager Kern Mattei at the end of a long night mixing cocktails for more than 700 guests:


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