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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Far East Imperial, Pompano Beach, FL (restaurant)
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Far East Imperial, Pompano Beach, FL (restaurant)
puamana
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 02, 2002
Posts: 291
From: Seattle, WA
Posted: 2009-06-10 8:48 pm   Permalink

there was also a mug for the kids:



[ This Message was edited by: puamana 2009-06-10 20:50 ]


 
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GatorRob
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1770
From: 3 hrs 33 mins to paradise
Posted: 2009-06-10 8:50 pm   Permalink

FLMeg,

It's amazing how many times people find this site when looking for information on their parent/grandparent/etc who owned or worked in a long lost Polynesian-themed bar or restaurant. And it's great when it happens because you get to see all the things that have been collected here on it and you get to tell us what you know! We'd love to hear any stories you have on the place and on Sam Harris. How did he come to own the Imperial? Is there any connection between the Imperial and the Mai-Kai (reference my earlier post)? Do you have any pictures, newspaper articles, menus, etc from or about the place?

Here are some pictures of one (or really, two halves) of the Imperial tikis. This is from KailuaGeoff's thread of his home bar, the Honolulu Lounge. I've been in his home bar and seen those tikis up close. They are really something special.






 
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11004
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-06-11 07:19 am   Permalink

Yes, and we thought it was amazing to have someone post here who's dad was friends with the guy. FLMeg, now you have posted here, and see the kind of ephemera we are interested in, you gotta ask around in your family if they have any material. I would love to see more pictures of other parts of the restaurant, it looks like a two story building, in the background of the postcard with only your grandpa ( I never noticed him sitting there before!) there are stairs going up? And someone who has that card, please zoom in on him with your scanner and post it here.



And then questions that maybe your parents know the answer to: Where did your grandpa get his fascination with the Far East from? Was he stationed there in WWII? Or did he just love adventure books? Often when you grow up inside the family of a business owner, you realize you never asked those questions yourself, because the place was always there, and one took it for granted.


 
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FLMeg
Member

Joined: Jun 10, 2009
Posts: 3
Posted: 2009-06-11 08:49 am   Permalink

Unfortunately, I have just gone through a move, and memorabilia type stuff is ? But I will find things at some point and certainly will post. Biggie Kanae was the entertainer at the Imperial House. I remember him as being a large man (or maybe I was little) and he played in the bar area, or what is referred to as the "Luau." Tiny Bubbles comes to mind. I don't recall the mugs for sale, truly, I just wanted those dumb umbrellas! Despite what the postcard shows, a stage was in there. As far as I know, no connection between Mai Kai and Imperial House. Of course, being biased, I would say the Imperial came first regarding drink menu. Who knows, maybe they had the same printer/add men. My grandpa had restaurants in Mich etc before moving to Miami Beach in the forties. I believe the Town House was the first restaurant he had in Lauderdale, then there was simultaneously the Sea Horse on Las Olas and the Imperial House in Pompano. Now I don't know the exact date, but the lease on the Imperial was always being renegotiated, and I remember my mom always saying how tough "she" was. She being the Kerby vacuum lady, who owned the strip at that time. This is prob info you don't ness want. As I unpack, I will try to offer anything pertinent. In the mean time,I selfishly read and cherish what you guys post. It is a window into my past. And is heartwarming. I know it is hard to imagine what happens to a grand place like that. And one wishes it could stand just as it was now. Well I do.

 
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FLMeg
Member

Joined: Jun 10, 2009
Posts: 3
Posted: 2009-06-11 09:59 am   Permalink

The building was two stories. The back wall of the pic with the staircase is actually a complete mirror, and it is a reflection of the staircase which was at the entrance. Upstairs was used for parties, (three huge dining halls)weddings and the like. There was an upstairs kitchen also, an office or two and a stinky restaurant elevator. I have e-mailed my sis and brother and hopefully they can contribute.(My bro is four yrs older and prob knows more) Sam served in WWI. Unfortunately, both of my parents have passed away. Thinking about the fact that, Sam was Greek, and had a Chinese/American restaurant with a Polynesian theme,and he was an excellent business man, somehow, pragmatically I think that was the bottom line. My uncle did serve in WWII in the Philippines and perhaps that was an influence. Gosh I don't know specifically though. What do you guys usually find? It is way cool to read about peeps eating there as kids and to (who knew?)visit you'all's site. Someone wrote about the buffet. Lordy, I worked there when I was 17-18 as a buffet girl. And someone wrote about snowbird's and Canadians. Yup. And the "season" or "sison" as Sam would say was ultimately their bread and butter. And there was always talk about what the previous night's "count" would be. The only time I ever saw my Nana (Ann) cry, was at her husband's funeral and one Christmas when a cook quit. But I tell my kids, in my life, I have never ever had such good food. Sam always went to big cities to get his cooks and prided himself in the authenticity of the meal being served. Thank you'all for preserving this genre. And give that great big tiki-man a squeeze from me.

 
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Kurt Baby
Member

Joined: Aug 26, 2008
Posts: 7
From: Orgy Island
Posted: 2009-06-15 8:32 pm   Permalink

FLMeg et.al.

I noticed the photos were by Rey Scott. I believe he was the same photographer from my old neighborhood in Ft. Laud. and had sons whom I grew up with in the 60's. One or more of the sons are in Atlanta now and met with Scott about 8 years ago. I'll try to reach him and see if he or his brothers have any photos.
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 4967
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2009-06-17 09:07 am   Permalink

Meg,
By your handle I assume you are in Florida. What part?


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4082
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2009-06-18 8:42 pm   Permalink

Was just cruising through Duke's incredible Tiki room photos and saw this guy from the Imperial - thought I should add it here as well.




DC


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11004
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-06-19 07:39 am   Permalink

Hmm! And seeing how Duke arranged him with that other smaller Ku and the wall sculptures from that company he wrote a Tiki Magazine article about (whose name escapes me at the moment) points to a certain similarity in style: Could THEY have been the makers? I am sure that that is what he's suggesting with his arrangement.
The postcard caption "...features bar idols imported from Tahiti.." could very well be about the three carvings BEHIND the bar on the back bar.

Now that would be a question that FLMeg could ask her family --but I bet nobody but Sam would remember who made those iconic carvings.

I thought FLMeg might enjoy the fact that her Grandpa and his place are pictured in a book:



...albeit without any of the information that is just now, 9 years after its publication, coming to light. The book, "The Book of Tiki", is now out of print, unfortunately, and kinda expensive, you can get a good used one for around 65.- bucks:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/382282433X/ref=sr_1_olp_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245422124&sr=1-1

I bet Meg's family would get a kick out of seeing the photo in a book. We are looking forward to hearing more about this fabulous place.



[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-07-03 04:32 ]


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Basement Kahuna
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Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 3589
From: Jawja Province, Isle of North America
Posted: 2009-06-19 09:37 am   Permalink

Those were two of my best finds ever. I miss them. But between Duke and Geoff they are definitely in good hands. Now to find those two that escaped to California.. (somewhere in America..)

 
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Mo-Eye
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Joined: May 17, 2006
Posts: 623
From: Costa Mesa, CA
Posted: 2009-06-27 7:42 pm   Permalink

I found a number of ads for this place.

June 1962




April 1963




June 1963






January 1964




As well as a photo of some ladies enjoying a mystery drink



So with these ads, it looks like the name changed from Harris' to Far East somewhere between mid 1962 and early 1963.


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monkey10
Member

Joined: Jul 02, 2009
Posts: 1
Posted: 2009-07-02 5:58 pm   Permalink

Sam Harris II is the son of the past owners George(former Pres of the FL Rest. Assoc.) and ginny Harris of the Imperial House restaurant-Pompano Beach FL, which opened @ 1958, by his grandfather whose name was also Sam harris I who passed away in the late 1960's. Sam Harris II lived and worked 24/7 for 25 yrs w/his brother, mom/dad in this magnificent Chinese/Greek restaurant with tiki poles bars in the lounge, rib smoke ovens in the basement and VIP room/2 banquet rooms on the upper level- spiral decorated stairs overlooking the the lobby, The fabulous Polynesian and Grill rooms also were on the main floor. Spending the night during a hurricane at the Imperial restaurant near Pompano beach, FL was a great experience, everything came to life like a movie. The land where the great Imperial House once stood was a landmark for all especially at Christmas time & will always be haunted since it was lost, destroyed and leveled by #**#. Its a gigantic loss to the City of Pompano Beach, FL. Sam Harris II is alive today after 2 heart failures, living with his wife Terri and 2 children.

Ginny Harris sadly passed away today July 2, 2009 and she will greatly be missed by all who worked with her and the Harris family. Meg ? email us back. Lets meet up w/families for a reunion in FL someday.
You know the early years, we know the later years till the big end.

Wouldn't it be SPECIAL if former employees, friends, and family could post their memories on this site, so as we'll say "Ginny is with the Tiki Gods above - RIP". T & S.

[ This Message was edited by: Monkey10 2009-07-03 16:37 ]


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4082
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-04-20 11:10 pm   Permalink

Time to bump this great thread with a matchbook, this one sporting the Imperial House name.



The building rendering looks different than the postcards.



DC


 
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richopp
Member

Joined: Jan 13, 2011
Posts: 2
Posted: 2011-01-13 10:43 am   Permalink

Hi! Great website! While I am not into tikis per se, I was a very happy customer of Harris Imperial House in the day. The old ads here really bring back the memories. I ate there quite often (driving down from Boca on A1A with the top down in those days). I remember being so full that I would have to sit for 30 minutes just to get up and leave sometimes. I was younger then, of course, and could really eat a lot!

My memories are of sometimes eating upstairs on the weekends when it was very crowded downstairs. The food was so good. To this day, they had the best ribs I have ever eaten, and who on this Earth serves, or even knows what ambrosia is any more? No matter how much I ate at the buffet, I would always have a bite or more of the ambrosia at the end of the meal.

Of course the rest of the dishes were also quite good, and I was very sad when it closed. Other than the Sea Watch down the street, I can't think of a place I would rather go to eat than Harris'.

Thanks much for the real stories behind the restaurant and its history. If it were possible, I would open an identical place today, but I would guess that the food costs would be astronomical and thus it would be too expensive for the general public.

Thank-you, Mr. Harris, and of course to your late wife, chefs, staff, and other patrons for all you did to provide wonderful memories (and food!) to so many of us who have lived here over the years!

Cheers!

Richard


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4082
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-03-27 09:10 am   Permalink

Found another great photo of the interior bar area on Flickr (posted by Chimay Bleue). This one really shows how the second floor balcony area integrated with the bar.




The photo must have come from an architectural mag as it included the following stats:

Architects: Gamble, Pownall, & Gilroy
Interior Design: Sam Horowitz of Idea Associates
Structural Engineering: D.E. Britt Associates
Contractor: Porcher Construction
Photography: James Forney of Lisanti Photography


 
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