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Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » Trader Vic's, San Juan, Puerto Rico (restaurant)
Trader Vic's, San Juan, Puerto Rico (restaurant)
Humuhumu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3691
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2007-01-31 1:37 pm   Permalink

Name:Trader Vic's
Type:restaurant
Street:Los Rosales Street, San Geronimo Grounds
City:San Juan
State:
Zip:00901
country:Puerto Rico
Phone:
Status:defunct

Description:
This Trader Vic's location opened in 1961 in the Caribe Hilton, which is still extant.



 
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Humuhumu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3691
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2007-01-31 2:07 pm   Permalink

The San Juan Trader Vic's has only come up a couple times here on TC, one was this great thread Sabu started about great tiki architecture:

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=5058&forum=1

This is a postcard he posted on that thread:


This is a postcard from puamana's magical treasure trove, Arkiva Tropika:


So it looks as if the San Juan location had two very cool, very dramatic A-frames. My guess is that the first one is the entrance to the restaurant, and the second one is at the back of the restaurant.

The hotel is still standing, and one of the restaurants there is called Lemongrass; here's a pic of Lemongrass from the hotel website, which just barely shows that the second, larger, swooping A-frame may still be standing:


Here's an aerial view of the hotel today, from Google Maps:



Here's a closeup of the area where I think I can just make out the larger A-frame, where diners could enjoy a lovely ocean view, and a pathway which lines up with where the smaller entrance A-frame could have been:




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Humuhumu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3691
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2007-01-31 2:38 pm   Permalink

Another modern-day picture of the A-frame, from Flickr:



And here's a picture of the inside of Lemongrass, with the underside of the A-frame:



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[ This Message was edited by: Humuhumu 2007-01-31 14:47 ]


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Zeta
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 13, 2007
Posts: 2105
From: Atlantis/Basque Country/Spain/Mexico
Posted: 2011-07-19 06:01 am   Permalink

Visiting Puerto Rico in August so, I will check it out in situ.
Thanks for the lead Humuhumu.
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JenTiki
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jun 16, 2006
Posts: 2345
From: Home of the best rum collection in NC
Posted: 2011-09-17 03:18 am   Permalink

I went to the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico with Martiki and a few others this past week. Sadly, the original entrance A-frame is gone, but the rear structure remains pretty much as it is in the pictures above, with a plain white face on the a-frame. There now stands a parking garage about where the original entrance would have been. They literally paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 5111
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-11-30 8:39 pm   Permalink

One of the least documented of the old Trader Vic's restaurants. I found a few new postcards and dug up some more local info on the Caribe Hilton.

First postcard is another view of the great A-frame entrance to Trader Vic's on one side of the hotel building.



This postcard features an aerial shot of the Caribe Hilton compound that has the A-frame entrance in view.



Close up.



Interesting design of the restaurant with a front and back A-Frame feature on each side of the hotel building. Here is a nice postcard rendering of the complex. The wing on the left is where Trader Vic's was located.




The matchbook had the signature Caribe Hilton font.



As seen here on a coaster.




Here is a room service card with the various bars and restaurants including Trader Vic's.



The Caribe Hilton has a nice little back story similar to Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber on who invented the Mai Tai. The bartender at the Caribe Hilton is credited with inventing the Pina Colada in 1954. His name was Ramon "Monchito" Marrero.



Here is the story from Fromers:

When actress Joan Crawford tasted the piña colada at what was then the Beachcombers Bar in the Caribe Hilton, Calle Los Rosales she claimed it was "better than slapping Bette Davis in the face."

This famous drink is the creation of bartender Ramon "Monchito" Marrero, now long gone, who was hired by the Hilton in 1954. He spent 3 months mixing, tasting, and discarding hundreds of combinations until he felt he had the right blend. Thus, the frothy piña colada was born. It's been estimated that some 100 million of them have been sipped around the world since that fateful time.


The plaque at the hotel


Now the thing is,someone else also has a plaque claiming that THEY invented the the Pina Colada.




Don't get caught in the rain!


DC


 
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Zeta
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 13, 2007
Posts: 2105
From: Atlantis/Basque Country/Spain/Mexico
Posted: 2011-12-20 10:48 pm   Permalink

Nothing Tiki in there, go away. Trust me on this one. I looked for Tiki under the carpets even. It's gone. If someone has the connections, they should ask for the hotel's archives for old pictures. I'm sure we are just tipping the iceberg on this one.

The origin of the Pina Colada deserves it's own thread. I been there, and I think it was NOT created in the Hilton. They just blatantly stole it, and made up a fake story. Business as usual. Sue me.
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 5111
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2015-01-02 2:59 pm   Permalink

Found a nice old ad from the Trader Vic's opening at the Caribe Hilton.



A very Puerto-Rican looking image used for this Trader Vic's.

DC


 
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