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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Zombie Village, Oakland, CA (restaurant)
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Zombie Village, Oakland, CA (restaurant)
Tiki Shaker
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 28, 2008
Posts: 706
From: Menifee, CA
Posted: 2010-03-04 7:39 pm   Permalink

Thanks for reposting everything bifcozz. I'm looking forward to seeing everything else you've got. I would also love to hear that background on this stuff. This is a hell of a collection you've got!

 
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abstractiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 604
From: Lodi, CA
Posted: 2010-03-04 9:26 pm   Permalink

Absolutely phenomenal, I'm overwhelmed, Thanks for posting all these great artifacts.

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11244
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2010-03-04 10:42 pm   Permalink

Amazing! Frank Kent must have kept everything! Was it all in a scrap book? The completeness of this paper estate makes it like time travel. How great that it all fell in appreciative hands -and is shared with an equally appreciative audience! Ma-ha-LO!


Quote:

On 2009-05-07 10:00, bigbrotiki wrote:
Did I say something!? Biff is back, Yeeeeh!

[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2010-03-04 22:31 ]



 
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Trad'r Bill
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2008
Posts: 485
From: Hercules, CA
Posted: 2010-03-04 10:46 pm   Permalink

Awesome! Finally actual pictures! Thanks for posting these bifcozz - I've been watching for these!!

 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4397
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-08-14 1:14 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-03-04 19:09, bifcozz wrote:
we will adding the concept drawings and newspaper clippings later



Bifcozz,

Amazing stuff you posted, would love to see the concept drawings and clippings.

Here is another matchbook rendering I tried for on ebay recently.





Hope to see more,

DC


 
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Trad'r Bill
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2008
Posts: 485
From: Hercules, CA
Posted: 2011-05-23 8:50 pm   Permalink

Found this cool quote from galwest.com (who sold many pieces from Kent's estate):

Skipper described the Zombie Village in a letter written in 1953:

...through massive driftwood doors, with huge Easter Island idols on either side, with a pause to inspect the unusual gifts from all corners of the earth which are for sale at the curio corner, then the beauty of the tropical dining room unfolds before you. Palm trees, Philodendrons, Marantas, Calatheas, and everywhere colorful Anthuriums and overhead the exotic orchid.

...In the Malayan, African, and Garden Rooms, the dining tables are made of selected Koa and Monkey Pod woods. Spears, shields, and Kris, from Africa to Malaya and the South Seas, all collected by the skipper on his many voyages, explorations, and travels, adorn the walls.....


 
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Trad'r Bill
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2008
Posts: 485
From: Hercules, CA
Posted: 2011-05-23 8:55 pm   Permalink

...also from galwest.com



A review From the October 26, 1953 Dining Out section of Fortnight Magazine describes the restaurant as follows:

"Skipper Kent, wearing a white duck suit, greets you, and contrives to overlook the unsuitability of your attire in an environment that recalls the Raffles in Singapore. He is a nimble, cordial man, as much at home on a yacht as in a restaurant, who has traveled all over the world in search of good food and drink." His grog bar is decorated with Japanese fishing floats, carved wooden heads, and native spears and shields. Drinks with such exciting titles as Planter's Punch, South Sea Cooler, and Pagan Love come to your table with miniature Japanese Parasol stuck in the glass..."

-Trad'r Bill


 
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Trad'r Bill
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2008
Posts: 485
From: Hercules, CA
Posted: 2011-06-05 3:25 pm   Permalink

I did some research last night, and was able to fill in some of the holes wrt Zombie Village. I know I usually post pictures, but this post is thick with text. Disclaimer: some of this info was already covered by bifcozz:

May 13, 1942 - Zombie Village opens. Frank "Skipper" Kent and Norman (or Norbett) "Hafe" Hafer are owners.


Question: Who was Hafe Hafer?
Answer: He was an insider in the food world... a sales manager for large food firms, a position which sent him traveling across the country. "I know my groceries" said Haefer.
5/12/42


Just five years after it's opening, Hafe Hafer sells his shares in Zombie Village in 1947. He dies tragically in a boating accident in 1950:
10/20/50 (article appears on front page)


Surprising to me, Zombie Village initially opened serving only American Food such as: "New Your cut, jumbo squab, pan fried chicken and chef's special, baked individual lamb pie."
7/23/42


...but less than a month after opening, Skip and Hafe quickly adopt the more exotic Chinese cuisine, prepared in a "seperate kitchen" (huh?)
8/13/42


Zombie Village was one of many poly-pop powerhouses in the East Bay Area at the time. Here's a clipping showing three of them on one page: Zombie Village, Club Kona, and Jade Hula Shack (not to mention those not pictured, such as Trader Vic's across the street):
4/16/43


As a side note, the first mention of Skipper Kent's in San Francisco that I can find is in this advertisement in 1950 (but that's another thread):
12/22/50


At some time around 1959, the Kents pack up and move to Kona, chasing their dream of opening a resort and restaurant in the islands (which apparently never came to fruition). Here's a clipping which mentions the sale of their house in Walnut Creek (Kentwood), and announces the auctioning of their remaining property. Apparently their home was in the way of progress, which came in the form of I-680, and was torn down. Also interesting that the Kents left behind/sold so many of thier treasures such as: "An antique Chest dating back to 1840 which was a gift to Empress Carlotta from Emperor Maxmillian."
11/15/59


It seems that the Kents managed Zombie Village remotely from Kona for the next five years. In April of 1964 Frank Kent finally retires and hands over control of Zombie Village to Maitre D' Jimmy Gee, "famous" hostess Eileen Tong Gee and chef Bill Jeong (and four other long-time employees). What a guy - he retires and turns the place into a co-op to reward his long-time employees with part-ownership of the business.
5/1/64




Unfortunately, just three years later, the historic Zombie Village caught fire and was completely destroyed.
10/23/67


It looks like they had an excellent neon sign out front - sniff...


I expect we'll start hearing more info about the Kents... Kendra Barron, family friend of the Kents, just recently released White Cloud Chronicles, a book about the Kent's epic adventure sailing from Chicago to San Francisco - buy it
here: it's really inexpensive.

Thanks Sabu for tipping me off on the vast archives of the Oakland Tribune (all these were from that publication).

Enjoy!
-Trad'r Bill


[ This Message was edited by: Trad'r Bill 2011-06-05 17:04 ]


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Trad'r Bill
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2008
Posts: 485
From: Hercules, CA
Posted: 2011-06-05 5:21 pm   Permalink

...and here are some renderings by Lucille Kent from the opening day ad:







-Trad'r Bill


 
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Tipsy McStagger
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 21, 2004
Posts: 3530
From: HELL
Posted: 2011-06-06 04:49 am   Permalink



[ This Message was edited by: Tipsy McStagger 2011-06-06 04:51 ]


 
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mrsmiley
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3174
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2011-06-06 11:41 pm   Permalink

zazz!

 
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Trad'r Bill
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2008
Posts: 485
From: Hercules, CA
Posted: 2011-07-09 6:53 pm   Permalink

I went to the Oakland Main Library today, what a great time! I was able to access their vast microfiche collection:



I found this clearer picture of the Zombie Village sign (the night of their fire):



...and here's a cool shot of a Moai next to another sign:



and here's a little mention in this "Gourmet Guide":




Like I said, I had a great time at the library. The Oakland History room attendant was very helpful... she showed me postcards, menus, photographs, articles... endless great stuff. I definitely recommend going to this one, or any library to investigate your local tiki.

I did find some reference material that I've seen before:



-Trad'r Bill


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11244
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2011-07-10 01:18 am   Permalink

Great research, Bill. That fire sounds a bit suspicious to me, starting in the early morning hours...wonder what the investigation found out.

Re the last pic: In the early years after being published, some Trader Vics actually sold the BOT, and it was also given to their managers, to read up on the history of Vic.


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4397
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-07-10 03:18 am   Permalink

Trad'r Bill,

Excellent research, thanks for all of your efforts on this thread.

I found some information on The Castaway restaurant that was listed in the Gourmet Guide you posted and started a new thread under Locating Tiki.

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=40571&forum=2&0

(Can somebody tell me how to rename the links so they are not so big?)

DC


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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4397
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2012-03-25 6:30 pm   Permalink

Saw this old drink table topper on ebay for the Drambuie Flambe.






And an old ad.



DC


 
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