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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki The Proud Bird , Los Angeles, CA (restaurant)
The Proud Bird , Los Angeles, CA (restaurant)
bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11249
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-06-27 04:52 am   Permalink

Name:The Proud Bird
Type:restaurant
Street:11022 Aviation Boulevard
City:Los Angeles
State:CA
Zip:90045
country:USA
Phone:310/ 670-30 93
Status:operational
http://www.theproudbird.com/?ref=corp

Description:
Early 60s built themed restaurant, Tiki-related only because of its WWII Veteran theme, but also for being owned by the Specialty Restaurants Corporation, which also owns the Castaway in Burbank (which still has a few Polynesian touches left) and The Reef in Long Beach (whose Tiki theme has been mostly renovated away). Plus another WWII themed restaurant, the 94th Aero Squadron at the Van Nuys airport, and many other themed places throughout the US:
http://www.specialtyrestaurants.com/banquet_catering_corporate_restaurants.html



[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-06-27 05:44 ]


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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11249
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-06-27 05:34 am   Permalink

I arrived at LAX yesterday and stumbled on this beauty. Since I have a sizable group of Los Angeles restaurant archeologists I can call my friends, I was quite surprised that I had never heard of this classic. I love LA. I had just landed, and Blam!, made another urban archeological discovery.

This place is in industrial nowhere land with no other restaurants around, right in the LAX flight path, between empty lots and parking lots adjacent to LAX.
It has some of the themed elements that were introduced by Polynesian restaurants, but applied to all kinds of themed California eateries by the 1960s:

Outrigger beam-type A-frame construction:


Waterfalls:


Waterways to be traversed by bridges:


But the water features here are dominated not by growling Tiki Gods, but something else just as imposing:


Complete shot of the entrance:


The collection of vintage aircraft is the most stunning feature of the place:


One can sit in the dining room and look out at them:


...or walk out on the terrace. There must be around 20 full size planes surrounding the place:


Another neat feature is the long hallway leading to the various dining rooms. It is lined floor to ceiling with vintage photographs and memorabilia showcases, here just a few:


Commercial airlines showcase:


Amelia Erhardt showcase:


I had heard of the Flying Tigers, but never of these guys:


I am not a WWII nut, but I have liked war movies and all that related stuff ever since I was a little boy. This is a great playground, just what a themed restaurants shoud be. How many restaurants after all can boast a parking Lot like this:




 
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GatorRob
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1771
From: 3 hrs 33 mins to paradise
Posted: 2008-06-27 08:46 am   Permalink

Not tiki, but definitely a very nice find! I would have certainly stopped there last year when I flew into LAX had I known about it.

On a related (but also not tiki) note... for those of you who like this place with all the WWII planes and ephemera, next time you're in Orlando, check out
Fantasy of Flight which is just south on I-4 from the theme parks. It features a huge private collection of vintage aircraft. But what makes it really special is that most of them have been restored to flyable condition and the man who owns them picks one of them to fly around nearly every day. I'm not an aviation nut by any means (despite my father being a former Air Force fighter pilot), but the place is way cool.

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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3818
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2008-06-27 11:50 am   Permalink

I have been there a handful of times, but never noticed the waterfalls.
It does have a nice WWII warbird vibe.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11249
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-06-28 11:38 am   Permalink

It's really more war bird-in-your-face than a vibe, I would say.
Here's another picture of the parking lot (with the 105 Fwy in the background):



and here is the "Churchill Room":


and the porte cochere to their Grand Ballroom:


In closing I must mention though that, just like the other restaurants of this group, the general feel of the place is that of a fully renovated in Mc Mansion style light wood/etched glass/shiny brass kind of an establishment, if you know what I mean. If not, just check out the Castaway in Burbank.


 
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aquarj
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 1083
From: SF bay area, CA
Posted: 2013-12-08 11:02 pm   Permalink

Sad to say, the Proud Bird is closing.

We were there for lunch last week, and I believe the date they gave is Dec 21 for the last day. Echoing Sven's introduction to the Proud Bird above, it's really one of those great old establishments that's very rewarding to visit. This is a "Beyond Tiki" post, but here's some Bird-watching pics from our visit...


One of the planes out front by the entrance


View from the dining room; that P-38 was flown by WW2 ace Major Richard Bong, with a pic of his wife Marge on the side


The display with more info about Major Bong


Earhart display


More bird watching









Hope some Angelenos or even visitors in town will get a chance to fit in a visit!

-Randy


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11249
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2013-12-09 07:20 am   Permalink

Randy, Pete Moruzzi just told me yesterday that they are trying to sub-divide the land around the restaurant (parking lot, air field) to enable them to stay with the lower rental cost for the property that they had for so long, so there is a sliver of hope...

 
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aquarj
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 1083
From: SF bay area, CA
Posted: 2013-12-09 09:02 am   Permalink

Good to hear there's a sliver. The story we heard when we visited was that the airport itself wants to use the land for something else, which sounded like the destiny was set. But that's also consistent with the idea of subdividing it to keep a smaller area for the restaurant.

-Randy


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11249
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2013-12-13 04:52 am   Permalink

Good News:

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-proud-bird-to-stay-20131212,0,903726.story#axzz2nE9PovDY

[ Edited by: Hakalugi - fixed link - 2013-12-13 07:37 ]


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uncle trav
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1818
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2013-12-13 2:23 pm   Permalink

Good news indeed !!! I heading to my wife's company Christmas party tonight being held at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo. A famous institution in the warbird community. Much like vintage Tiki establishments these planes and the stories of the people who flew them must be saved.
_________________
"Anyone who has ever seen them is thereafter haunted as if by a feverish dream" Karl Woermann


 
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Tiki Toli
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Feb 05, 2013
Posts: 65
From: Canton Ohio
Posted: 2013-12-13 10:02 pm   Permalink

I don't get it, sell one of the real war birds and replace it with a replica and it will pay the lease for many years

 
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aquarj
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 1083
From: SF bay area, CA
Posted: 2013-12-15 12:16 am   Permalink

That's great news Sven, thanks for posting the update! The history at The Bird is something to be Proud of.

-Randy


 
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