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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki El Tiki, Imperial, CA (restaurant)
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El Tiki, Imperial, CA (restaurant)
MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7084
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2008-06-19 10:44 am   Permalink

Name:El Tiki
Type:restaurant
Street:Highway 111 at Worthington Rd
City:Imperial
State:CA
Zip:92251
country:USA
Phone:
Status:defunct

Description:
This was a Tiki Bar/Mexican Restaurant that opened in 1962 and operated until about 1978. These tikis were carved during the Golden Age of California Tiki and most are 7-8 feet tall. The restaurant owner and tiki carver, Ben Wilson, has converted the building into a house and still lives there.


El Tiki viewed from the front

This building was intended as a gift shop but I don't believe it was ever used as one.



A Japanese Lantern carved from palm wood




[ This Message was edited by: MadDogMike 2008-06-19 10:47 ]

[ This Message was edited by: MadDogMike 2008-06-23 00:22 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11004
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-06-19 10:58 am   Permalink

Wow. Not too long ago, someone posted the menu from the El Tiki here:





...which I tought was a great example of cross-cultural Tiki inspiration back in the day. The menu text says it all.
So Mad Dog, do you know the guy?


 
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CheekyGirl
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Joined: May 21, 2003
Posts: 976
From: Like Oh My Gawd..San Fernando Valley
Posted: 2008-06-19 1:15 pm   Permalink

Wow...anyone have pictures of what it looked like back in the day?

 
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Jason Wickedly
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Joined: Jan 01, 2008
Posts: 704
From: LBCTIKI
Posted: 2008-06-19 2:31 pm   Permalink

Interesting, it looks like it is out in the middle of nowhere! Are there other businesses around it? Very cool...there's a million Chinese Tiki themed temples, but this is the first Mexican Tiki place I've seen. Neat find Mike.

 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7084
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2008-06-19 3:16 pm   Permalink

My first job was as dishwasher at the place in about 1975, I lived about 1/2 mile away and way able to ride my bike to work. Yes, it was out in the middle of nowhere, about 15 miles from town, but people came for the food and the atmosphere. I've known Ben all my life, talked to him this morning when I went and took the pictures. I'm sure El Tiki was what influenced my love for tiki.

Nice menu photo, where was it posted? I'll check with Ben and see if he can dig up any old photos.

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[ This Message was edited by: MadDogMike 2008-06-19 15:19 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11004
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-06-19 10:12 pm   Permalink

Unfortunately I can't remember who posted the menu here, maybe the person will chime in, I could not dig it up per the Search function.
I just really like the way the menu explains how he came about the decision to create the Mex-Tiki concept, and how he describes the decor ("modern lamps from Tikies" ?). He seems to have been acutely aware of the style elements for the time, even mentioning an Exotica music type of atmosphere at the end. Usually people were not so reflective and conscious of the details, at least I have not seen it written down like that back in the day.


 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2789
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2008-06-20 12:58 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-06-19 22:12, bigbrotiki wrote:
Unfortunately I can't remember who posted the menu here, maybe the person will chime in, I could not dig it up per the Search function.



That was me. But purloined those photos from an eBay auction that I ended up not winning. One of the big tiki-collectors owns that menu, though.

Really cool that the building still exists. Great A-frame.

Sabu

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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7084
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2008-06-21 1:44 pm   Permalink

Lyrics from their 70's radio ad jingle:

Once upon a time, a long time ago
A thought was conjugated about a place to go
A place out in the country, a place with atmosphere
A place where you could go and drink a glass of beer.

El Tiki, El Tiki, El Tiki is nice
El Tiki, El Tiki, is like paradise
On Highway 111, north of IVC
Mexican food from A to Z
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7084
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2008-12-21 4:33 pm   Permalink

Found the rest of the menu at www.tikiroom.net, thought I'd post it. I loved the "Tiki Toes"; nachos made with big fresh fried tortillas chips, real cheese, shredded beef taco meat, tomatoes, sour cream, etc. Yummmm. I like the prices too; shrimp plate $1.50, T-bone steak $2.95

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arriano
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1239
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2008-12-22 3:19 pm   Permalink

The "wine cocktails" make me shudder. Did they use red or white Almaden wine to make their Zombie?
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RevBambooBen
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Joined: Nov 12, 2002
Posts: 7419
From: Huntikington Beach
Posted: 2008-12-22 6:38 pm   Permalink

This must be the place where Amy got her tikis.

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?mode=viewtopic&topic=20143&forum=18&start=0
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7084
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2008-12-22 8:51 pm   Permalink

Amy's place is amazing (that's your work, isn't it Ben?) She's about 80 miles North of here but all of the El Tiki tikis are still in place, her's must have come from somewhere else
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Queen Kamehameha
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 21, 2003
Posts: 1407
From: So Cal
Posted: 2009-04-09 08:29 am   Permalink

hi all,

Yes, I was on my way to mexicali and saw this place. I stopped knocked on the door Mark, the son, I believe, told me his dad had carved the older tiki's and the place was a restaurant and bar years ago. It's now his house. Some booths are still inside, still very retro looking, but not much else. I asked if I could buy some of the tiki's and we made a deal. I bought 3 with the largest being 15 feet, now 12 above ground. I was there last, about 5 yeras ago.

I always wanted to go back

Mad dog, I think his son is mark, Ben wasn't home when I was there, I met the sister though. Also, when your looking at the front of the main building, there was a drive entrance to the right, 2 of the tiki's I bought were at that entrance, all 3 that I have were carved by his dad as told to me. Mark had palm logs on the side of the house he said he was trying to learn to carve tiki's.

I might try to take another ride over there, they were widening the road when I was there, We borrowed one of the road plows to help get the tiki's out of the ground. Then Benny who built my yard, hauled them back to Palm Desert.


Amy




[ This Message was edited by: Queen Kamehameha 2009-04-09 18:21 ]


 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7084
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2009-04-09 7:56 pm   Permalink

Shows how much I know
Amy, I'm glad you ended up with some of the tikis - what a great home for them!

I haven't seen him in a while, but I've known Mark since he was just a pup, and I took his sister to the prom

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[ This Message was edited by: MadDogMike 2009-04-09 20:03 ]


 
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Queen Kamehameha
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 21, 2003
Posts: 1407
From: So Cal
Posted: 2009-04-10 12:10 am   Permalink

MD, wow! small world, I am not generally good at names, but I spent 4 hours that day with him, getting those statues out and loaded, what a nice guy and his sister was nice too.They showed me around and it was great. My first real successful tiki find. I wasn't a Tiki Central member yet, so I never posted the about the Tikis.

It's nice to know someone who knew about the place, thanks for all the info and pictures. I never took pictures that day, so I will put this with my yard folder to keep a record.Thanks again!


Amy


 
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