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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Dobb's House Luau - Memphis, Memphis, TN (restaurant)
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Dobb's House Luau - Memphis, Memphis, TN (restaurant)
Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5058
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2006-12-27 07:09 am   Permalink

Name:Dobb's House Luau - Memphis
Type:restaurant
Street:3135 Poplar
City:Memphis
State:TN
Zip:
country:USA
Phone:
Status:defunct

Description:
Dobb's House Luau had several locations. From what I have been able to find out, it was buffet style and did not have a bar. You could have your own booze locker on the premises and they would make you drinks from your booze. Brown bagging is still standard practice here in Knoxville, TN. I am not sure how that worked there really. The Dobb's group is still in Memphis and the parent company still has some airline concessions I think.


Postcard courtesy Basement Kahuna





Menu courtesy of
Arkiva Tropika Scans coutesy Swank Pad




Matchbooks from my Tennessee Tiki Site a work in progress.

I have contacted the Dobb's Group and have gotten no response.



[ This Message was edited by: Swanky 2006-12-27 07:11 ]


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MrBaliHai
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Joined: Jun 01, 2002
Posts: 801
Posted: 2006-12-27 07:48 am   Permalink

Your new website looks great, Swanky, and I'm looking forward to seeing a lot more Tennessee Tiki pop up there!
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mrwiskers
Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 18, 2006
Posts: 19
Posted: 2006-12-29 11:28 am   Permalink

...the menu you have is from the 1950's-early 1960's...cool...sadly, the business closed in the late 1970's...they had the coolest Moai statues, about 12' tall, 5' diameter...food was good & drinks (brown bag, mixed for you), also...I've been trying to find out what happened to those statues for about 5 years...

[ This Message was edited by: mrwiskers 2006-12-29 11:29 ]

[ This Message was edited by: mrwiskers 2006-12-29 11:30 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11196
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2006-12-30 11:03 am   Permalink

I was always fascinated with the long list of Dobb's Luau places, as I find Tiki havens that were NOT in the Tiki-centric states like California and Florida that much more intriguing. Wonder if all these were as fully decked out with O.A. stuff as the ones I have seen images from.

 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5058
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2006-12-30 1:49 pm   Permalink

The menu says it is a Dinkler property, which may link it to the Luau Lounge in the Dinkler Andrew Jackson Hotel in Nashville.

Here is a postcard on Arkiva Tropika for the Atlanta Luau which is also listed as a Dinkler property. Was it Dinkler and then became Dobb's House Luau's?
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[ This Message was edited by: swanky 2006-12-30 13:56 ]


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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11196
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2006-12-31 05:55 am   Permalink

Hmmm...the Dinkler/Dobbs connection should be researchable. I always loved that Dinkler Hotel postcard because of the three different styles all next to each other in one place:
Classic beginning-of-the-century downtown hotel exterior---50s modern interior---50s Polynesian Pop interior---all happily co-existing!

Great postcard and menu from the Mahi Mahi! What an exterior! I seem to remember that Leroy told me that that rendering and the decor were done by Eli Hedley, but I might have mixed that up, mayb it was Vince Buono...ask Ben.

That Mahi Mahi mug is one of the few that O.A. ever made themselves, and must be very rare.


 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5058
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2006-12-31 09:15 am   Permalink

Here is an article on the Dinkler Hotel history. I kept coming across the name Carling Dinkler and that was the key. He died in 1961, and I would bet that the Dobb's took over the Luau's shortly after that. There are still Carling Dinklers about! They have gone in various directions including Carling the IV I think in politics. I am going to see if the person who wrote that article can maybe shed light on the Luau Lounge or tell me who can. The Dobb's organization in Memphis has not returned emails. I need to call. Pretend I am press... From what I see on the 'net, the head is prehaps the man who was in charge back in the day.

I have looked at every other Dinkler hotel and non has a hint of tiki.
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5058
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2007-01-02 11:34 am   Permalink

I'll have to make a new entry, as, what I just found out is concerning the Atlanta Luau.

I just got off the phone with Carling Dinkler III. His father was the one who built the Luau in Atlanta. He thinks it was in 1955-56. He said his Dad had a passion for the restaurant business though he owned all the hotels through Carling Sr. It was Jr who had the hotel restaurants brought in house and run by the Dinklers. He had this secret idea up his sleeve for a long time and had been to New York and Chicago and inspired by Trader Vic's he built the Luau across from the Piedmont Hosptial in Midtown Atlanta. He said it was a very modern structure and very new and innovative. Nothing like it in the lazy southern city of Atlanta. People were lined up to get in. They won awards for their food and they brought a lot of the crew from Chicago's Trader Vic's down to work there. He said it was designed by a New Orleans architectural firm of Curtis - Davis, who also designed the Superdome. He says Arthur Davis is deceased, but Buster Curtis is still around. The head of the Luau died recently, but he is contacting the widow to see if she has any scrapbooks or anything. He does not.

He said there were moats inside and you had to cross bridges to get to your table. They had a "Chopsticks Club" and they would burn your name into bamboo and when you came in to eat, they put the bamboo on a rack out front so people knew you were in the restaurant.

It was his Dad that put the Surf Rider in the Nashville Dinkler and he said also the Saint Charles in New Orleans had a Polynesian restaurant.

The Luau was a great business, as we all know, due to the gross profit margin of cheap rum drinks sold at high prices. The Luau was open for only two years when they sold it at great profit to the Dobb's. They used it as a sort of blueprint to open all the other Dobb's House Luaus around airports where they were located. That was in 1959 he thinks. That doesn't jive with the 2 years and opening in 1955. But it narrows things down a bit if someone in Atlanta hits the library archives to research it.
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boutiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 03, 2002
Posts: 485
From: The fly-over states
Posted: 2007-01-02 1:28 pm   Permalink

Great research Swanky!
Maybe this menu should be added to this thread.





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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5058
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2007-01-03 11:08 am   Permalink

Here are a number of images of buildings designed by Curtis & Davis. No Luau, but these are Louisiana buildings.
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puamana
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 02, 2002
Posts: 291
From: Seattle, WA
Posted: 2007-01-03 9:01 pm   Permalink

Swanky, thanks for the great info! Here's a pic of the building exterior of the Altanta Luau, from the other side of the illustrated postcard:



That Polynesian restaurant at the St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans was the Outrigger ( menu pics at
Arkiva Tropika ). Thanks for the connection that it was a Dinkler restaurant ! There was no mention of it on the menu.

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tikibars
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Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2024
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2007-01-03 10:18 pm   Permalink

The Trader Vic's in Chicago opened in 1957, so if the inspiration for the Atlanta Luau (and some of the staff) came from the Chicago TVs, as Swanky's source states, then the Atlanta Luau must have opened after 1957.






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Jeff Central
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Joined: Jul 23, 2002
Posts: 1602
From: Columbus, Ohio
Posted: 2007-01-04 03:55 am   Permalink

WOW!!!

Thanks for the cool picture puamana!!! I always wondered what that place looked like.

Cheers and Mahalo,
Jeff


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11196
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-01-04 07:10 am   Permalink

I know, I always loved that little image, even though it's just in a thumbnail size. I think it should have been a requirement for all restaurant postcards to have their architectural rendering on the back!

 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5058
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2007-01-04 07:34 am   Permalink

Arthur Davis, one of the architects is still alive and in New Orleans. I am waiting for a reply from him. I hope he has some stuff in the archives on the place. Looking at the other designs by him, I will be excited to find images of this place.

Carling was obviously not 100% on his dates. I am wondering about the Trader Vic's attribution in some ways. Bill Sapp said he was inspired by TV Chicago as well. I mentioned Don the BEachcomber's to Carling and that jogged his memory. He was very young at the time. He seemed very certain about the 1959 sale date, and if it was indeed 1959 and they had been open 2 years, 1957 was the opening year and it could have been TV Chicago in the mix.

He seemed pretty certain that some of the kitchen staff had been "acquired" from TV Chicago, as there was trouble from them being homesick for the islands or something.
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