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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Arturo's -not Tiki in Style, but in spirit!, Harbor City/Lomita, CA (restaurant)
Arturo's -not Tiki in Style, but in spirit!, Harbor City/Lomita, CA (restaurant)
bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11266
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-02-08 08:53 am   Permalink

Name: Arturo's -not Tiki in Style, but in spirit!
Type: restaurant
Street: 25720 So. Western and PCH
City: Harbor City/Lomita
State: CA
Zip: 90710
country: USA
Phone:
Status: operational

Description:
I am posting this place despite it being a Mexican restaurant, because SO MANY elements that I love about mid-century Tiki style are still intact and present here --PLUS it does have ONE American Tiki in it .

I don't make it down there often, but after finding it still in its original state when I went to dinner there with a couple of friends last night, I decided it needed to be known that such an oasis still exists. Restaurants are taking a hard hit in this recession, who knows how long it will still be around.

Arturo's is a unique case of a Mexican restaurant designed in mid-century modern style, and if I would not know for a fact that it always WAS Mexican, I would be sure that it once was a Californian Coffee Shop. The ball shaped lamps, the slotted wood dividers, the beamed ceiling.... Then throw in a couple of stone idols and pagan murals, and you have a fine example of mid-century "Tiki" Modern.



[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-02-08 08:54 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11266
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-02-08 08:55 am   Permalink

(Now to repeat, I am not saying these sculptures ARE Tiki)


Stone guardian by the side door

The original sign:




Front door door pulls:


entrance lobby and restrooms:


Side room with Aztec idol art:


A closer look, to appreciate the burlap wallpaper (the chandelier is NOT original, I would say):


Let's turn to the small bar in the back, which, as it used to be custom, has its own side entrance:


And a cool modernist idol mural at the end. But what is this, below the idol image?



Well if it isn't the "Surf Goddess" Tiki, printed on Val Surf T-shirts and made into a mug at the Tiki Tikis Japan!
..and as statue at "The Polynesia", Seattle, (in TIKI MODERN on page 249)

And what is that offering on her head? Well, "Arturo's" logo idol cocktail napkins, of course:


And while we are at it, let's pick up the logo matchbook, too:



Now they don't use these items because they are "hip" or something. They simply never stopped making them!
(And no, they do NOT have logo mugs, menus or swizzles!)

The Surf Goddess seamlessly blends with more Pre-Columbian back bar statuary:




Back in the dining rooms, a map mural:


Friends enjoying the atmosphere:




And the piece de resistance, the atrium in the middle of the restaurant:




Last not least, my "Julius Shulman" shot :


I hope some of you share my enthusiasm for this time warp. Now if considering going there, keep in mind that we do not visit these places for the food (which is fine, just mediocre) and that my photos tend to glamorize.

[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-02-08 09:30 ]


 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2793
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2009-02-08 11:45 am   Permalink

Awesome, Bigbro!

I think your photos actually do the place justice. I've been wanting to post about Arturo's again for a while, but didn't have any photos as nice as yours. Thanks.

Arturos was built in 1960 and until a few years ago had been owned by the same family that built it. It has been kept in really nice, original condition. While the food is old-school, 1970s American-Mexican (enchilladas, tostadas, chile rellenos, etc), a few margaritas will definitely enhance the experience. My friends and I like to dress in our Sixties finest when visiting Arturo's which also adds to the ambience.

I can add a few pics from my collection:

Here's the vintage postcard


And I'm glad to see the new matchbook looks much like the old one:


Although the old matchbook has its plusses


Thanks for bringing Arturo's to our attention again, Bigbro. I really like your "Julius Shulman" shot


_________________



[ This Message was edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2009-02-08 11:47 ]


 
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tikiyaki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 18, 2004
Posts: 2710
From: The Exotic Port of REDONDO BEACH, CA
Posted: 2009-02-08 8:50 pm   Permalink

Being the Mid Century Modern geek that I am, I need to check this place out. 70's Mexican food is fine with me.

Speaking of MCM eateries, I had breakfast at ROD'S In Arcadia today....a fine example of a MCM Googie diner, still in pretty original condition. I love when the old places don't do the modern price bilking....$5.95 for a pretty damn good egg breakfast, that would be $8 or $9 anywhere else.

This Arturos place looks like my kinda place tho'.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11266
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-02-09 12:05 pm   Permalink

Sweet feature matchbook there, Sabu! And comparing the original postcard to my exterior shot above: Where in L.A. do we have a 1960-built restaurant whose exterior has remained unchanged! They are getting rarer and rarer every year!

 
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Zeta
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Feb 13, 2007
Posts: 2049
From: Atlantis/Basque Country/Spain/Mexico
Posted: 2009-02-09 9:38 pm   Permalink

Muy bonito! From all the idols shown in the pictures, only 2 1/2 existed in pre-hispanic Mexico:
The small green Toltec Atlantean warrior next to the (Ku) surf tiki, and the Aztec calendar. The painting on the wall with the fangs looks Olmec but is a "reinterpretation". Everything else is Neo-Aztec.
From Tiki finds...
Quote:

On 2009-02-05 09:20, Zeta wrote:
One of my favorite pieces:

Toltec Atlantean warrior decanter and mini shots. Aztec Pop, I looked for this one for years, finally found it in perfect condition complete with bottle cap and the 4 shots. 50 pesos = 3.5 U.S. dollars. Now I can drink tequila in my tiki bar with style, without being worried about disrespect purist exotic style.


Those matches are GREAT Sabu!


 
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Zeta
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Feb 13, 2007
Posts: 2049
From: Atlantis/Basque Country/Spain/Mexico
Posted: 2009-02-09 9:52 pm   Permalink


The stone Atlantis again...


 
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Zeta
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Feb 13, 2007
Posts: 2049
From: Atlantis/Basque Country/Spain/Mexico
Posted: 2009-02-26 11:14 am   Permalink



[ This Message was edited by: Zeta 2009-02-26 11:14 ]


 
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Jason Wickedly
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 01, 2008
Posts: 704
From: LBCTIKI
Posted: 2009-02-26 12:02 pm   Permalink

The jury is out on the food...but I think I may try to check it out this weekend anyways. Right around the corner from mom's house too.

Mixed Reviews:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/arturos-restaurant-harbor-city

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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2700
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2014-07-29 11:34 pm   Permalink

Design/style critique from July 2014...

http://lomo.architectureburger.com/?p=1009

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