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Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » Julian's Dining Room and Lounge, Ormond Beach , FL (restaurant)
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Julian's Dining Room and Lounge, Ormond Beach , FL (restaurant)
TikiTomD
Grand Member (4 years)  

Joined: Sep 20, 2009
Posts: 670
From: Flagler Beach, FL
Posted: 2011-06-02 1:20 pm   Permalink

At its opening, the décor of The Tropics as described by the May 26, 1950 article posted earlier was apparently Caribbean tropical, dominated by a huge pirate mural and ship's wheels serving as chandeliers and signs. That was evident in this 1951 ad...

Daytona Beach Morning Journal March 19, 1951



In his February 13, 1955 travel article on Ellinor Village that appeared in The Baltimore Sun, Horace Sutton stated, “For anybody tired of eating home there is a sultry, candlelit bar and restaurant called The Tropics.” Well, it was a time in Florida before air conditioning was prevalent.

At some point, Julian Lopez and The Tropics were influenced to sail from Caribbean to Polynesian seas, abandoning pirates and embracing tiki... it would be fascinating to know how that came about, but DustyCajun’s matchbook cover is clear evidence...

DustyCajun



We also have the statement from the June 23, 1962 article posted earlier that “Polynesian décor and Chef Julian Lopez’ cooking helped keep Philip Colodiy’s Tropics in the spotlight as a popular dining spot…,” additional evidence that The Tropics had been reborn as tiki somewhere along the way.

Obituaries can be a great source of information for the urban archaeologist. A life’s story is told in as few words as possible to keep the newspaper’s charges to a minimum (having recently written one for my father-in-law, I can tell you that every added word and photo carries a high premium). I learned through one that a Cuban émigré cousin of Julian Lopez, Maria Rodriguez, was owner of The Tropics and sold it to Julian Lopez circa 1960...

Daytona Beach Morning Journal December 16, 1975



I learned through another that Julian’s brother, Raul Lopez, a Cuban émigré like Julian, came to work at The Tropics and then moved on in 1967 to help his brother open up and run Julian’s as a Chef who did much to establish the restaurant’s reputation for fine cuisine...

Daytona Beach News-Journal January 31, 2011



I had wrongly presumed that Julian Lopez gave up The Tropics when he started Julian’s Dining Room and Lounge; not so. The following article indicates that he held onto The Tropics until selling it in 1974...

Daytona Beach Morning Journal March 30, 1974



Julian apparently held the mortgage to The Tropics, and foreclosed on the new owners within a year...

Daytona Beach Morning Journal March 9, 1975



And so he sold it again...

Daytona Beach Morning Journal October 24, 1976




It seems Julian was a Trustee with the Cuban Foundation that established a Cuban Exhibit at the Daytona Beach Museum of Arts and Sciences. Here we have a reasonably good photo of Julian along with Fulgencio Batista, the son of the former President of Cuba, and also a Trustee...

Daytona Beach Morning Journal September 9, 1971



In the following article, Julian Lopez describes how he continues to survive and thrive in the restaurant business, caught between escalating food and drink prices and the fixed incomes of the retirees who constitute his business base...

Daytona Beach Sunday News-Journal April 7, 1973








-Tom


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4241
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-06-23 5:47 pm   Permalink

Great research once again Tiki Tom D.

I picked up one of the postcards showing the Tropics restaurant at Ellinor Village and did a close up scan of the sign and the two little A-Frame thatched huts.






A nice 57 Chevy too!

DC


 
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TikiTomD
Grand Member (4 years)  

Joined: Sep 20, 2009
Posts: 670
From: Flagler Beach, FL
Posted: 2011-06-24 07:51 am   Permalink

Nice, clear color zoom-in of the Tropics entry and that 57 Chevy as well, DustyCajun!

Your postcard photo got me to wondering again about several items: (1) The early newspaper and postcard photos of the Ellinor Village Shopping Center show a flat-roofed business office next to the Tropics, so when and what prompted the A-frame structure that shows up in photos from the late 1950s and on? and (2) The original décor of the Tropics was Caribbean tropical featuring a pirate mural, so was there some event that precipitated a change to the Polynesian décor cited by later newspaper articles and evidenced in the matchbook cover images?

After digging back into the newspaper archives, I believe I found a definitive answer to (1) and speculate that it was also the same event that precipitated (2)...

On December 12, 1957, a fire destroyed much of the Ellinor Village Shopping Center, including the Tropics...

Ocala Star-Banner December 12, 1957


St. Petersburg Times December 13, 1957



A year later almost to the day, the shopping center held its grand re-opening, to include the Tropics. Note the new A-frame structure...

Daytona Beach Morning Journal December 9, 1958







---------------------

We dined again at Julian’s this past weekend. Though they were moderately busy with a 50th wedding anniversary party, the service and food remained excellent. This time, there was live entertainment in the form of a lady lounge singer who nicely performed a range of songs from the 1950s to the 1980s. The whole experience was like time-traveling back to the epoch of “I Dream of Jeannie.”

-Tom


 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5007
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2011-06-24 10:34 am   Permalink

Tom,
The it an Asian lady performing?


 
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TikiTomD
Grand Member (4 years)  

Joined: Sep 20, 2009
Posts: 670
From: Flagler Beach, FL
Posted: 2011-06-24 11:13 am   Permalink

No, Swanky, this was not the Asian lady who sang Patsy Cline songs. The lady who appeared last Saturday night was originally from Detroit, I believe, and sang everything from The Shirelles "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" to Manhattan Transfer's "Boy from New York City." She did a great vocalization of Patsy Cline's "Crazy" along the way...

-Tom


 
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TikiTomD
Grand Member (4 years)  

Joined: Sep 20, 2009
Posts: 670
From: Flagler Beach, FL
Posted: 2012-05-09 3:41 pm   Permalink

Here's another postcard variation for Julian's, acquired from a Hukilau 2012 vendor. It has a scalloped edge...






-Tom


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4241
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2012-05-21 9:47 pm   Permalink

TikiTomD,

Nice postcard, have not seen that one before.

Here is another matchbook from the Tropics at Elanor Village with a rendering of the mural.








DC


 
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TikiTomD
Grand Member (4 years)  

Joined: Sep 20, 2009
Posts: 670
From: Flagler Beach, FL
Posted: 2012-05-22 11:35 am   Permalink

Most excellent find, DC... with your latest post we are viewing an artifact of the original Tropics. I base that conclusion on the rendering of the mural: it appears to be Pirates!

Recall that The Tropics, when it opened in 1950, featured a large Pirate mural. If you look at the newspaper article photo I posted on page one of this thread, you'll find a match between the Richard Sanford mural telling the story of Sir Henry Morgan and the matchbook rendering.

After the December, 1957 fire destroyed The Tropics and other businesses in Ellinor Village, a rebuilt shopping center emerged with the A-frame that's still there, along with a new Polynesian version of The Tropics. Your earlier matchbook posting is, I'm certain, representative of the post-fire era...




-Tom


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11088
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2012-05-22 1:11 pm   Permalink

Gosh, I have mused about this matchbook since forever, never connecting it to Julian's !

The big question here is: If the back of the matches is clearly copied from the Seattle Trader Vic's...



...how the heck did King Kukulele make it on the front of the matchbook - twice !!?



 
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TikiTomD
Grand Member (4 years)  

Joined: Sep 20, 2009
Posts: 670
From: Flagler Beach, FL
Posted: 2012-05-23 12:08 pm   Permalink

Hilarious, Sven Would that suggest King Kukulele is a Time Lord?

The headwear here looks more Egyptian than Polynesian, as in this statue of Mentuhotep II...




-Tom


 
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TikiTomD
Grand Member (4 years)  

Joined: Sep 20, 2009
Posts: 670
From: Flagler Beach, FL
Posted: 2012-07-21 6:30 pm   Permalink

Sadly, Julian's has closed and the property is up for sale...




I don't want to even contemplate what will become of that magnificent mural...

-Tom


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11088
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2012-07-21 7:33 pm   Permalink

OH NO! What a loss! A true gem of Polynesian Pop.

I believe it's not the food or drink, it's the economy: As the old retiree clientele is dying off, the new impoverished middle class either does not have the disposable income to eat and drink out every week, or they are to scared about their job to do so.

Aren't there any hip, rich New Yorkers who want to take it over and run a really cool Tiki bar? But: Who would come down there, and who's left down in Ormond or Daytona Beach?


 
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Tangaroa-Ru
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 04, 2006
Posts: 413
From: Surf's Up, Los Angeles!
Posted: 2012-07-21 11:21 pm   Permalink

This breaks my heart! I went here last summer, took photos and marveled at this wonderful place. It IS (was) the PERFECT Tiki nightclub. Whereas the Mai-Kai is the dream palace of Tiki, Julians had an amazing design and mood starting with being greeted by the door, then stepping DOWN into the main action, with the large bar and mural taking center stage of the whole place. It felt like being in an oyster. Not that I'd know what that feels like. I just mean the shape made it feel that way.

I was there early, around 4:30 p.m., which in Florida Old People Time means the dinner hour... and it was pretty quiet. I gave the manager a copy of Tiki Magazine and went on and on about what a gem of a place he was overseeing and how they needed to hook up with the Tiki community, etc. I'm not sure he got it.

Florida ohana, I hope you'll keep us posted and IF it is to be bulldozed, save any relics you can!


 
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TikiTomD
Grand Member (4 years)  

Joined: Sep 20, 2009
Posts: 670
From: Flagler Beach, FL
Posted: 2012-07-22 07:38 am   Permalink

Tangaroa-Ru, well stated.

Sven, I’ve searched through recent media reports to see if anything else was at play other than what you stated and found nothing at all. It is but the latest addition to a long and growing list of legacy businesses in the Daytona Beach area, for that matter, everywhere, that are folding under this economy. Notwithstanding reports to the contrary, the business climate remains abysmal. For example, Ohana Luau at the Hawaiian Inn has been really struggling, with the frequency of shows curtailed to the point where the performers must have other work to survive.

I ran across this recent Julian’s restaurant review in the local Hometown News that recaps in part what we’ve lost...

Hometown News October 14, 2011






I treasure the memories of great meals and good times at Julian's, and I'm thankful for capturing a bit of that beautiful mural on a wall adjacent to my home Tiki bar.

-Tom


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Tiki-Troll
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 17, 2002
Posts: 122
From: D-LAND FL
Posted: 2013-03-22 04:15 am   Permalink

DeTiki and I were able to purchase the the witco and a few of the remaining tiki posts from Julians after a friend forwarded the craigslist ad. We were told that the family kept quite a bit, the property is still owned by them but whatever happens to the restaurant will be up to who buys it. (I am hoping for the best and assuming the worst.) We just bought a home there not even a mile down the road for our personal tiki studio, so I am pleased that the items will at least live close by.

 
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