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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Aku Aku, Toledo, OH (restaurant)
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Aku Aku, Toledo, OH (restaurant)
bdzmusicprod
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jan 16, 2007
Posts: 19
Posted: 2012-11-05 05:41 am   Permalink

Yea...not much in the way of Tiki decor to be sure...the club/restaurant had more of a suburban feel to it according to the son of it's second manager Henry Steeber. The architecture was more of a mid century modern with the multi angled roof line in front giving it the look and feel of a googie coffee shop minus the over sized glass windows. If this is taken into context it WAS a beautiful place inside. The real aura of the place was created by the people who ran it and the entertainers that appeared there. I would hate to see the build up of nicotene stains from the smoke residue in the place...they probably had no smoke removers either. That being said this place still has a unique place in history.

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11269
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2012-11-05 11:04 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-10-30 07:20, Swanky wrote:
All those smokers! Look at everyone with their elbow on the table and smokes in the air. If we went back in time, we'd be freaked out by the smoke first of all...



I have been a non-smoker all my life, but I grew up in Europe, where if you wanted to go to clubs, there either was smoke thick enough to cut, or you just didn't go out. Never bothered me, in fact I miss it, to me it was part of the atmosphere and social ritual of night-clubbing. All that second hand smoke I breathed, and my health is still fine. The anti-smoking campaign of the 90s can only be compared to the alcohol prohibition of the 20s in my mind, it was (and is) a little too obsessive. I mean it's all for good reasons, but when something takes on such a totalitarian form, it becomes suspect to me.

I indeed appears that the Aku Aku is a great example of mid-century modern restaurants that were NOT expressively Polynesian in decor, but lived their exotic-ness through their cocktails. This sub-genre of "Tiki Modern" still deserves further exploration. Another good example of purely modernist decor but serving Tiki cocktails was The Fireside:

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=34423&forum=2&start=0

It all is part of the "when it was modern to be primitive" credo that I explored in Tiki Modern.



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bdzmusicprod
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jan 16, 2007
Posts: 19
Posted: 2012-11-07 12:33 pm   Permalink

I am a semi-professional musician and did a gig nearly 30 years ago at a banquet for alcoholics anonymous. There was so much smoke in the hall that the smoke eating machines could not handle it and the smokers were complaining! My clothes smelled so bad I almost had to burn them. Regarding mid-century architecture there are a lot of books out there on the subject as well as web sites that have many photos of past and still existing sites. Toledo lost one such place the last few years...the former Crown Room which was part of Imperial Lanes was a fine example of mid-century architecture. It's a shame that the night club portion of the Town House Motel could not have been spared and restored to it's original decor but as one individual put it...after Irv Shapiro left the place it eventually became just another dining room. After the race riots hit the inner cities in the late 1960's the location of the Aku Aku made it a less than desirable place to spend an evening and that had a major impact on the future of the hotel and nite club. A lot of Toledo is blighted...just look at the area around what used to be the Southwyck Mall, the Northtown Mall, the Woodville Mall, downtown itself...even with the new stadium and hockey arena there is a lot of empty building space not to mention the empty lots.

 
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Tattoo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 24, 2005
Posts: 235
From: Los Angeles
Posted: 2013-05-09 7:15 pm   Permalink

Picked up this great menu from the Aku Aku. I really love these modern abstract art menu's (like the Boston South Seas one) that have that Picasso quality to them. Back "when it was modern to be primitive."







Inside Image:



Back:



Created by Ad Art Litho



Did a quick little search Ad Art Litho and shockingly it seems like they might still be around.


Ad Art Litho Menugraphics

Address: 3133 Chester Ave
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
United States

Phone: (216) 696-1460





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[ This Message was edited by: tattoo 2013-05-11 14:07 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11269
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2013-05-10 02:53 am   Permalink

What a stellar find! I have never seen this anywhere before! Great Aloha Jhoe's-style modernism....can you post some full shots of the inside?

 
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Big Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2007
Posts: 2359
From: SoMass
Posted: 2013-05-10 4:20 pm   Permalink

That is spectacular! Is it just a food menu or is there a drink menu page with illustrations?

 
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Tattoo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 24, 2005
Posts: 235
From: Los Angeles
Posted: 2013-05-11 2:21 pm   Permalink

Here's the complete menu from front to back. It does have the drinks in it but without drink illustrations.












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bdzmusicprod
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jan 16, 2007
Posts: 19
Posted: 2013-10-29 2:00 pm   Permalink

Looks as if this menu was pre 1964 as there is no zip code but only a zone code. Very cool find.

 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5065
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2014-01-12 06:04 am   Permalink

Saw this on Ebay. Lighter from the Aku Aku. On Ebay now if you collect this place.





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bdzmusicprod
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jan 16, 2007
Posts: 19
Posted: 2014-01-23 2:32 pm   Permalink

Very cool lighter. Couldn't find it on Ebay as it is probably no longer listed. Found these photos of a custom made light fixture that probably was part of the tropical diorama. The owner said they purchased it in the 1970's when fixtures were being sold off.



 
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Carol McD
Member

Joined: Mar 09, 2014
Posts: 1
Posted: 2014-03-09 5:10 pm   Permalink

It's weird how your mind can go on a tangent and you get to looking up things from your past.

I was looking up Notre Dame High School in Toledo, which is where my mom went to high school. Notre Dame was at one time located on Bancroft near Monroe Street - right at that major intersection. There's a book on Toledo architecture that has a photo of the school as it existed before it was razed in 1960. It sure looked a lot different than the Town House Motel that replaced it!

I was born and raised in the Toledo area, and remember the Aku Aku. My first job out of high school was at this office that was run by a colorful Italian character. He took the office staff out for lunch one day to the Aku Aku. I don't remember much about it, except that the place definitely had a reputation, and it was so exciting to be having lunch there. The place was packed. Toledo movers and shakers ate there for lunch. This would have been around 1971. I smoked back then, so maybe I had a matchbook cover from the place. I used to grab them whenever I went to a restaurant. I guess we should have hung on to all of our matchbooks from that era. They might be worth something to a collector of Toledo memorabilia.

Just thought I would add this.


 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5065
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2014-07-10 12:16 pm   Permalink


Dining room in Town House Motel where Birns spent much of his time.
Motel in Toledo where Alex Birns was on Saturday July 6th.


July 17, 1963

"A Toledo physician early this morning told The Plain Dealer he treated the missing Alex (Shonder) Birns for an injured right hand.

Birns is sought for questioning in the connection with the murder of Mervin L. Gold.

Dr. Lawrence Raymond said Birns called him to the Town House Motel in Toledo on Saturday and asked that his hand be treated.

"He said he mangled in in the car door," the doctor related.

"The laceration was dirty and a little bit infected. I don't recall what time of day it was, but I am the physician for the motel."

In another explanation Birns told a chambermain he hurt the hand setting off a firecracker on July 4th."
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