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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki My dad is a part of tiki history!
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My dad is a part of tiki history!
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 13, 2002
Posts: 378
From: New York City
Posted: 2005-07-08 10:09 am   Permalink

Well, a *very* minor part anyway. But funny how these things come around.

I've always joked around how the my dad could be one of those old Cantonese waiters at the Beverly Hills Trader Vic's. They are about the same age, same, slight build, and their English sounds like they came to the US around the 50's or so.

Anyway, my dad gave me a ride to work since I had to go to the airport after work, so I asked him if he can figure out how to get out of Torrance (Southern California for those of you not familiar). He said, "Yeah, I'm familiar with Torrance, I used to work at a restaurant there.... Latitude 20 or something". I was like, "uh, wasn't that a tiki restaurant?" He said, "Yeah, they used to do a hundred luaus a night". Holy crap!!

Apparently, my dad's uncle, Hop Louie, was a big restauranteur at the time. Some of the restaurant he owned at one time or another was Latitude 20 in Torrance, Tradewinds in Oxnard, and Hop Louie's Jade Pagoda in Chinatown (it's one of those landmark structures in LA's Chinatown). My dad was a fledgling accountant at the time, and he would help out on the weekends as a waiter or something. Growing up, I always heard about great-uncle Hop Louie in hushed, venerated terms.

I asked him, "So, I don't suppose you kept any souvenirs from those old days, you know: menus, matchbooks, mugs..." "No, those were tough times, no one thought of collecting anything! I might still have that the old waiter's uniform, though, I looked pretty sharp in it", he said with a sly grin.

LOL! I'm amused by the fact that I didn't know he worked in old tiki restaurants, and he didn't know I collect tiki paraphernalia! Well, I thought I'd share this with you guys.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 29, 2004
Posts: 599
From: outside the windy city
Posted: 2005-07-08 10:16 am   Permalink

That's really interesting!I wonder what else your Dad could tell you about himself-he's probably got some fun restaurant stories.You should draw him out about it.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3192
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2005-07-08 10:20 am   Permalink

DANG- That Hop Louie sure got around. he was also had restaurants in Modesto , Stockton and Vegas!! Check out this Vegas thread about Lat 20;
I'm the most thirstiesterest of all!
TRADER VIC'S, Vintage, Vegas & more on EBAY 1957SPUTNIK
If you like it, it is ZAZZ! If you don't it is RAZZ!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 13, 2002
Posts: 378
From: New York City
Posted: 2005-07-08 10:51 am   Permalink

Quoted from post on http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=15398&forum=1&start=0

"Just got the whole story from my mother re: Latitude 20. There was an original Lat.20 in Torrance. Hop Luie Woo, owner, then moved to Vegas and wanted to have one there. My father did many Restaurants for Hop Luie, in Vegas, Florida, and over seas. He carved all the Tikis at all the Restaurants, and ones at Hop Louies house, etc. When Hop Luie died Minnie Woo, his wife, changed the name to Madam Woos, and changed the whole flare of the Restaurant. She called my father who went up with a moving truck and got tons of stuff out of the interior. ie: Old carved ships wheels etc. She wanted to keep the Tikis. There is a Restaurant in LA that was Hop Louies also, named after him, "Hop Louies". It passed on tho the nephew who I have now left a message for to see if we can't track down who owns the property. Hop Louie was all a Senior V.P. at Caesars Palace for Foreign Relations. He would go to Hong Kong, China, etc. and bring in big wigs from over there to gamble! He was also V.P. of ALL the Treasure Islands all over Biscain Bay, etc. So there is a little history on all the Latitude 20's...."


"Want to thank all for help on recovering the Tikis at the Old Lat. 20. Thank you Mr. Smiley for the phone call. I actually tracked down Hop Louie's (the old owner who my dad carved all the Tikis for) daughter. She put me in touch with a Mr Hamato who owned the property..."

Oh my God. I had chills running down my spine when I read these post about my own relatives. When I was first reading it, I was thinking, "No, it can't be. I don't know about Hop Louie opening up any restaurants called Latitude 20 in Vegas, it's probably just the same name." Until I read Annie's post about him working for Ceasar's. Yes, I do know that Great Uncle Hop Louie did work for Caesar's Palace (I didn't know in what capacity). Annie also mentioned talking to Hop Louie's daughter, was it possibly Eileen or Betty? I know that Auntie Eileen worked in Chinatown.



[ This Message was edited by: paranoid123 2005-07-08 12:52 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3691
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2005-07-08 12:11 pm   Permalink

Oh my goodness! Wow, your great uncle is Hop Louie! This has been a great week for getting a glimpse at Polynesian Pop history. What a fun story!


Critiki - Critiki News - Ooga-Mooga

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2370
From: Corona, Ca
Posted: 2005-07-08 12:56 pm   Permalink

Paradnoid, this has got to be exciting news being a tiki guy and all. You should what you can dig up in the family archives. Maybe some old photos???


Poly-Pop *

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

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 11, 2003
Posts: 336
From: ripon: almond capital yet no orgeat
Posted: 2005-07-08 2:15 pm   Permalink

this is too cool! in the next week or so, please look for my "manifesto" on the stockton islander. i have been learning ALL about hop louie and his gang for the past month. i will shed some light on his earlier days in the central valley (where all of the hop louie tiki maddness began). reading your post and the post on the latitude 20 in vegas has been really exciting and motivating! i cant believe the timing with all of the research i have been doing.

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Unga Bunga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5857
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2005-07-08 2:25 pm   Permalink

Great story Paranoid.
Get a pic of your Dad in the uniform.

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The Monitors
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 08, 2003
Posts: 257
From: The ILL streets of Santa Clarita, CA
Posted: 2005-07-08 2:29 pm   Permalink

Wow...this is an awesome post...I love how the story keeps unfolding.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 13, 2002
Posts: 378
From: New York City
Posted: 2005-07-08 3:02 pm   Permalink

You can bet I'm going to start scouring old family photos now! Yeah, I was so caught up in the fact that my dad worked in a Tiki restaurant, that I didn't come to the full realization that my great uncle actually owned several restaurant and seems to be a significant figure in Tiki history. And to find all this out on Tiki Central, too!

Tikicleen, I can't wait to see your manifesto. Funny thing that you said "Hop Louie and his gang" because I had emailed the links to this thread to one of my non-TC friends, her reply was, "was Hop Louie a gangster?" because his Las Vegas ties at that time. I'm seriously going to ask my dad. :)


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Trader Woody
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2301
From: Tiki Manor, Forest of Bowland,UK
Posted: 2005-07-08 3:46 pm   Permalink

This is great stuff and really what Tiki Central is all about. Get stuck in and find out all you can. An amazing story is emerging.....

Trader Woody

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 03, 2005
Posts: 213
Posted: 2005-07-08 5:42 pm   Permalink

This cool stuff ! Please keep us posted. Thanks!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 11, 2004
Posts: 179
From: NYC
Posted: 2005-07-09 05:54 am   Permalink

This is perhaps one of the coolest threads I have ever read here. I have chills too. This could be one kick-ass movie! Coming to an Indie-flick theatre near you!:D


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 14, 2003
Posts: 992
Posted: 2005-07-09 8:03 pm   Permalink

Full circle... Love it! Dig up some old photos if you can.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 17, 2004
Posts: 483
Posted: 2005-07-11 08:55 am   Permalink

wow! I've been away from the board for quite some time. Just starting to catch up. What excellant news! I'm going to keep watching this post for sure! How exciting

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