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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Trader Island, San Bernardino, CA (restaurant)
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Trader Island, San Bernardino, CA (restaurant)
Tiki-Kate
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 21, 2003
Posts: 1700
From: Yucaipa, CA
Posted: 2008-05-21 6:19 pm   Permalink

Name:Trader Island
Type:restaurant
Street:868 East Highland Avenue
City:San Bernardino
State:CA
Zip:92404
country:USA
Phone:
Status:defunct

Description:
As far as I can tell from my research, Trader Island opened in the mid-1960's. The remains are just South of the 210 freeway. In 1970, it became Edwin Tan's Chinese Gardens. In 1975, it became the Imperial Palace Inn, and in the mid-1980's became the Mandarin Garden.



 
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Tiki-Kate
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 21, 2003
Posts: 1700
From: Yucaipa, CA
Posted: 2008-05-21 6:37 pm   Permalink

I got out of work early today and had a notion to head back to the San Bernardino Public Library.

While searching for apartments, motels and restaurants in the old phone books, I came upon a question that had been nagging me for years. I had gone on a double date in the early 90's to a Chinese restaurant in San Bernardino where I drank out of a giant clam shell. The only other thing I remember about that evening was standing outside next to a couple of tikis waiting for my boyfriend to bring the car around.

Here's what I found in the phone books.






After checking out what used to be the Islander Apartments and the Kona-Ki Apartments, I headed over to Highland Avenue to check out the remains.





The place had business hours posted and didn't have a no trespassing sign, so I tried the door. It was unlocked, but there was no one inside.






It was a fun afternoon of research and exploration. But as always, I soon felt the need to get myself the hell out of San Bernardino.







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4WDtiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 03, 2004
Posts: 1875
From: Omao, Kauai
Posted: 2008-05-21 7:15 pm   Permalink

Great job, Kate! Props to you for having the huevos to go inside and photograph.

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11193
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-05-22 02:50 am   Permalink

Great ads Kate, I love the first one with the Island and the outrigger, I tried to sharpen its contrast in I-Photo, but the back begins to shine through:



Wonder if the sign was that great, too. There was a post here not too long ago about some member visiting this place, I remember there is a cool matchbook for it, and I mentioned that I had seen and coveted their Leilani Rum Vacuform Tiki they still had in the place when I was on my way back from Santa's Village in the San Bernadino mountains years ago --but there was certainly no sign left that once several Tikis stood outside of it! We can see them in the rendering. Dang.

[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-05-22 03:01 ]


 
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tikiyaki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 18, 2004
Posts: 2710
From: The Exotic Port of REDONDO BEACH, CA
Posted: 2008-05-22 11:25 am   Permalink

Whoa !

Man, this place is still intact ! Damn, just sitting there doing nothing, with all that great potential.

Can that place be rented ? TIKI PARTY !
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Tiki-Kate
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 21, 2003
Posts: 1700
From: Yucaipa, CA
Posted: 2008-05-22 12:10 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-05-22 11:25, tikiyaki wrote:
Can that place be rented ? TIKI PARTY !



You've never been to San Bernardino, have you?


 
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TIKIBOSKO
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 17, 2004
Posts: 323
Posted: 2008-05-22 12:28 pm   Permalink

Great job Kate, that is/was an amazing building. The last two times we went by it was being "remodeled" into becoming a Mexican restaurant, but judging by your photos nothing has happened since well over a year ago? I notice the banner is down? Had you looked around back you would have seen whats left of the (once) amazing water fall feature thing they had out behind the sunken bar.
People really had made back then, there are still a few really great restaurants out there, but you are right there is quite a "get out of here fast" vibe out there.

Bosko


 
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tikiyaki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 18, 2004
Posts: 2710
From: The Exotic Port of REDONDO BEACH, CA
Posted: 2008-05-22 12:43 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-05-22 12:10, Tiki-Kate wrote:
Quote:

On 2008-05-22 11:25, tikiyaki wrote:
Can that place be rented ? TIKI PARTY !



You've never been to San Bernardino, have you?



I try not to. I'm not a big fan of the desert, I tend to gravitate towards the ocean. I heard it's pretty bleak out there tho'.

Too bad, such a great example of Tiki Modern, still left relatively intact.



 
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Tiki-Kate
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 21, 2003
Posts: 1700
From: Yucaipa, CA
Posted: 2008-05-23 3:14 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-05-22 12:28, TIKIBOSKO wrote:
Had you looked around back you would have seen whats left of the (once) amazing water fall feature thing they had out behind the sunken bar.



You mean this one.




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TabooDan
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 18, 2004
Posts: 641
From: BC, Canada
Posted: 2008-05-23 5:08 pm   Permalink

What a great building! Door open...come on in!! Thats some good Tiki Investigating!!
I hadn't heard of that place before and those ad's are cool!
Thanks! TabooDan


 
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TikiPhil
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 21, 2004
Posts: 149
From: Riverside, CA
Posted: 2008-05-23 7:31 pm   Permalink

Aloha John scored the outrigger lamp from here - discussed in this thread:

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=26815&forum=1

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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11193
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-05-23 8:05 pm   Permalink

Yup, that's where I saw the matchbook...wonder if the original menu looked as good. As a folded plate A-frame, with its angles, rock walls, outrigger beams, water features, entrance bridge and Tikis, this building really was a textbook example of Tiki style. Too bad Julius Schulman did not go around photographing Tiki like he did mid-century modern in the day.

 
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lynxwiler
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 22, 2003
Posts: 20
From: downtown L.A.
Posted: 2008-09-21 10:36 am   Permalink

Dangit, the doors weren't unlocked when I went.








[ This Message was edited by: lynxwiler 2008-09-21 10:36 ]


 
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Crystal Cove Media
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Aug 28, 2008
Posts: 44
From: Newport Beach / Pasadena Ca.
Posted: 2009-05-16 03:30 am   Permalink

This restaurant was my first exposure to TIki. My uncle used to work there and my parents started taking me there in 1975.
The decor was done my Oceanic Arts, I learned this from Leroy himself when he told me that the original owner ripped him off and never paid them for the Tiki's and decor they provided.
In the '70's and '80's this place looked unbelievably cool. It's the coolest Polynesian place I've ever been to yet, and the recent photos don't so it justice at all. It looks completely different.
There were large Tikis outside in the parking lot and you would enter by crossing a bridge leading over a koi pond and waterfall.
Upon entering the large double doors, you would be greeted by a large stone waterfall wall cascading into another koi pond.
To the right was the bar, to the left was the dining area. As you walked into the dining area, you were greeted by Hawaiian music.
The booths were red and each table had a red lantern over it. The booths were all separated by hanging bead curtains.
The interior walls were false lava rock with artificial plants on top leading up to the large wooden A-frame ceiling.
This made it look like you were eating inside of some kind of volcanic garden. There were '60's style satellite lights hanging from the high ceilings,
and large paper lanterns. The food was incredibly good. The best food I've ever had in my life and I hate that I can't get it anymore!
It was a mix of polynesian and chinese cuisine. I would always eat the Pagoda Dinner. They made the BEST egg foo young, the BEST sweet and sour pork,
and had the BEST fried rice and fried shrimp I've ever had. I started going there in '75 when I was 3 and stopped going in '94 in my late 20's because
by then, the restaurant had changed owners and San Bernardino had gone down the drain. It's sad really. It was and still is my favorite place ever.
I tried buying the large TIki from the new owners in 2000, but they refused to sell it even though it didn't fit the present decor of the building.
If only you could have experienced this place in it's hey day like I did, you would all be in TIki heaven. I think of this place often and dream...

RIP Trader Island / Imperial Palace Inn


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Executive Producer / Writer / Artist


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4351
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2009-08-05 6:11 pm   Permalink

Trader Island matchbook from San Berdo

Nice little graphic of the A-frame building.







DC


 
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