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Tiki Central Forums » » Collecting Tiki » » Don the Beachcomber - The Locations (Updated 01-24-17)
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Don the Beachcomber - The Locations (Updated 01-24-17)
Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 5043
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2017-01-24 12:00 pm   Permalink

OK, I did some deeper digging on the Don the Beachcomber locations after going back and looking at Trad'r Bill’s menu with the list from the early 1980s. Here is what I found.



Excelsior, Minnesota – There was in fact a Don the Beachcomber located in Excelsior Minnesota. I found a few newspaper ads from 1982 that advertised it as “Don The Beachcomber’s Mai Tai”.








Now this seemed a little strange to me, as no other Don the Beachcomber included “Mai Tai” in the name. Why you might ask? Well, this DTB went into the former home of the Mai Tai restaurant as shown on these matchbox photos. You will note the same address at 687 Excelsior Blvd on Lake Minnetonka. This was back in the hermit crab days of the DTB corporation when they would simply take over an existing Tiki bar.









You can read more about the Mai Tai on this thread!
http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=13459&forum=2&hilite=excelsior

Next up Peoria, Illinois. Yes Virginia, Don the Beachcomber played in Peoria! In 1983, a Don the Beachcomber operated in the Ramada Inn located in Peoria. It was a small place with only 90 seats. I found another article from 1982 describing the lounge in the Ramada Inn as a hodge-podge with a South Seas design and fountain in one area – another DTB takeover move.






West Lafayette, Indiana. This location has been listed on several menus and matchbooks. I confirmed a brief existence with two want ads for cooks from 1980. The first ad is from the Hilton Inn and the second one is from when the name changed to the Lafayette Inn.





I am officially kicking Seattle, Miami, Kendall (FL), and Memphis off the list as I can find no proof of their existence what-so-ever.

So, with the addition of the Denver Elitch Gardens, the Los Angeles Beachcomber Jr. and these new ones, the grand total number is up to 33 – see page 1 of the thread for the updated list.

DC


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hang10tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 18, 2010
Posts: 7226
From: Las Vegas
Posted: 2017-01-24 1:12 pm   Permalink

Strong work detective

 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 5043
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2017-02-21 07:21 am   Permalink

OK, another interesting newspaper archive find from the Don the Beachcomber history books. Found this article about a liquor license protest from 1938 in Hawaii for a new Don the Beach-Comber Café that was proposed in Waikiki.



Donn clearly had a desire to open up in Hawaii as far back as 1938 before he went off to Europe for WW II.

DC



 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 5043
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2017-02-24 4:40 pm   Permalink

Found a few more nuggets of Don the Beachcomber history. This article from 1947 documents Donn's attempts to build his first restaurant in Hawaii on the Ala Moana waterfront near the old tea house site. The building shown is the Tahitian Longhouse.





This next article indicates that the plans did not get approved due to issues related to the access roadway alignment so Donn hired Pete Wimberly to design his next attempt in the coconut grove on Kalakaua Avenue. This is an early artist rendering of what would later becomes Donn's thatched hut restaurants on Kalakaua.




And the rest is history.

DC


 
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hang10tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 18, 2010
Posts: 7226
From: Las Vegas
Posted: 2017-02-24 8:21 pm   Permalink

U stud

 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 5043
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2017-02-27 09:11 am   Permalink

Thanks Hang 10. Another article from 1955 which details Donn's first concept for the International Market Place as designed and drawn by Pete Wimberly.



DC


 
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arriano
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1422
From: San Diego
Posted: 2017-02-27 3:39 pm   Permalink

Made a Google map of the Don the Beachcomber locations:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1jhizH3mMzwmz6zBNkEJN2sDttiQ&ll=31.51265885230462%2C-122.36456465000003&z=5



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finky099
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 15, 2012
Posts: 505
From: Orange County, CA
Posted: 2017-03-01 11:32 am   Permalink

Dusty, once again your research proves to be amazing. Thanks for sharing your finds with us and linking together some obscure DTB locational info.
Cheers to you!


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 5043
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2017-03-31 2:35 pm   Permalink

Spotted this cool Luau invitation with accompanying photo of Mrs. Sklar at Don's in Hawaii.


An "ample accompaniment of Don's inimitable Liquid Refreshments". You gotta love that.



Great outfit (and the Tikis' not bad either)!

DC


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 5043
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2017-04-11 4:51 pm   Permalink

I spotted this great color photo of the 1966 fire at the Don the Beachcomber in the International Market Place on ebay.



I had done some research on this. The fire occurred on July 18 and destroyed the Tahitian Long House building that house the Colonel's Plantation and Christopher's and caused heavy damage to Don the Beachcomber's Mandalay Lounge.

Donn sat and watched,



and helped move the carts,


and even did some cover-up posters on the construction fence.



What a site at the entrance in Waikiki.




Donn and the owner with immediate plans for rebuilding.


Would be interesting task to count up all of the thatched-roof south seas watering holes that eventually went up in smoke.

DC


 
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ZuluMagoo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 26, 2002
Posts: 484
From: Denver, CO
Posted: 2017-06-28 08:41 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-11-28 12:25, Bora Boris wrote:
Nice work DC,

what I've been wondering about that house for a while is how do we find the address to see if it's still standing?





I found a short article in the Los Angeles Times about Donn's 1-acre plantation in Encino.





The article is titled "Samoa in the San Fernando Valley"










These two pictures ran with the story











The following year Donn's place was listed for sale in the LA Times classified ads






It looks like Donn only lived there for a short period of time (1941-1949). The ad lists the address of the home as 5047 Encino Ave.






Google image from 2017 shows the large 1 acre site. Its hard to tell if the original house is still standing but improved and expanded, the photos don't match that up well. However, skylights are still visible and the original story references a solarium.














_________________


[ This Message was edited by: ZuluMagoo 2017-06-28 08:46 ]


 
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