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Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » Mauna Kea, Seal Beach, CA (restaurant)
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Mauna Kea, Seal Beach, CA (restaurant)
Tiki-Kate
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 21, 2003
Posts: 1700
From: Yucaipa, CA
Posted: 2009-07-20 5:59 pm   Permalink

Name:Mauna Kea
Type:restaurant
Street:1600 Pacific Coast Highway
City:Seal Beach
State:CA
Zip:90740
country:USA
Phone:430-7961
Status:defunct

Description:
This one has been a real stumper for me. I could not find any information about this place.

It was just up the road from Sam's Seafood, and it had a Hawaiian floor show and served exotic rum drinks at The Shell Bar.

I found a little information about Eddie Bush. Apparently he was one hell of a uke player, and he passed away about seven years ago.



 
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Tiki-Kate
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 21, 2003
Posts: 1700
From: Yucaipa, CA
Posted: 2009-07-20 6:00 pm   Permalink

I found this matchbook yesterday. When I got home, I was looking inside to find more information about the place, and I found a second matchbook.






I'd love to see some more ephemera from the Mauna Kea.
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A Frame
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 16, 2009
Posts: 330
From: Mr. C's on the Coast Highway
Posted: 2010-09-16 1:45 pm   Permalink

Nice matchbook. Like Kate, I did tried to do some digging after finding this phone book ad a year ago at the LB public Library and couldn't find a thing. Went to the Seal Beach city hall and historical society...nothing. Not giving up yet! As I remember, the ad only appeared one phone book around 1963.




 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2804
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2010-09-16 5:57 pm   Permalink

The Mauna Kea lasted less than a year, which is why the souvenirs and ephemera are so hard to find.

It opened March 1st, 1963 in one of the large dining rooms of the closed Dovalis 101 Ranch House restaurant:


Here is a newspaper article about the Mauna Kea at the end of its first month:






The restaurant was supposed to be completely Polynesian by May 1963, but this review from May 22 says that the restaurant is still only partially converted:


By January 1964 the Mauna Kea was no more. This article about Eddie Bush from Jan 2, 1964 talks about him managing the Mauna Kea and how it "did not survive". By then he had already moved on to performing at Mr C's Outrigger a little further up PCH.







Was Long Beach already too saturated with Poly-Pop restaurants to handle another? Or did the previous 101 Ranch House restaurant have too strong a following? This article from Jan 9th celebrates the reopening of the 101 Ranch House under new management:



But for that short, heady period of 1963, the Long Beach/Seal Beach area probably hosted the most Poly-Pop joints that it has ever seen. The mind reels thinking of the tiki bar crawls you could have had back then. In 1963 you could have cruised to no less than five Tiki power places on one small stretch of Pacific Coast Highway itself, starting at the huge Polynesian palace of Sam's Sea Food in Surfside at 16278 PCH:



Then up to Seal Beach and the Mauna Kea at 1600 E PCH:



Then on to Java Lanes and the East Indies Room at 3800 E PCH with it's amazing Googie A-Frame:



Then The Hawaiian at 4645 E PCH:



And finally, ending the evening at your hotel room at The Outrigger Inn, adjacent to Mr. C's - A sprawling Tiki paradise of its own - Mr C's had restaurants with various themes in different rooms, and the Outrigger Inn had gardens with Milan Guanko tikis and waterfalls. (5303 E. PCH):



If you wanted to stray off the Pacific Coast highway, you had the incredible tiki temple of the The Reef over on Pier A of Long Beach harbor, and from there it was only a short drive over the Vincent St Thomas bridge to the Ports O' Call restaurant in San Pedro.

If you can believe it, all of the places mentioned above were large enough to have nightly Hawaiian entertainment and dancing. Included in that list is Don May's Leilani over on 2nd street. It had been around longer than the rest but it was still a happening night spot in 1963 with live entertainment every night as well.

Then there were the smaller tiki-themed restaurants and bars of Long Beach like the Samoa, the Pago Pago, and other places still waiting to be re-discovered:



I'd give anything for the chance to go back in time and overdose on tiki in Long Beach in the mid-1960s.


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[ This Message was edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2010-09-17 16:10 ]


 
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tikiyaki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 18, 2004
Posts: 2722
From: The Exotic Port of REDONDO BEACH, CA
Posted: 2010-09-16 11:17 pm   Permalink

Just looked up Mr C's on google maps, and it appears that the building at that address is DEFINITELY a former Polynesian style longhouse with an A Frame entrance....didn't know about this place, but it sure looks like the building there is the one pictured in the newspaper ad. The hotel next door shows signs of a former Poly Pop past, but more subtle.

Great Post, SABU.


 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2804
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2010-09-17 12:20 am   Permalink

Yep, the remains of the building are still there, but the hotel is now a Guest House International and the Polynesian atmosphere is gone.

Here are a couple of old threads on Mr. C's. The second had a lot of cool photos back in the day, but the links are mostly dead now:

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=32578&forum=2

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=3196&forum=1


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[ This Message was edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2010-09-17 00:21 ]


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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11594
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2010-09-17 03:07 am   Permalink

Whoa! Excellent reasearch as usual, Sabu! Love that ad for Mr.C's.
It really seems 1963 was the year it all peaked, but then was weakened by oversaturation and began falling out of favor...


 
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bigtikidude
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 9192
From: Anaheim,Ca.
Posted: 2010-09-17 10:41 am   Permalink

funny 1963 was the Peak for surf too,
coincidence?

then the Beatles Hit
and it was all down hill from there.

Damn Limeys,


Jeff(btd)


 
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King Bushwich the 33rd
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 10, 2005
Posts: 1529
From: Ling Cod Beach, CA 90803
Posted: 2010-09-17 11:20 am   Permalink

Instant Karma is going to get you, indeed!


Tiki Central Forums » » General Tiki -The Beatles officially broke up at Disney's Polynesian Village Hotel



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->>King Bushwich 33rd on Hulu.com<<-


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tikiyaki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 18, 2004
Posts: 2722
From: The Exotic Port of REDONDO BEACH, CA
Posted: 2010-09-17 12:03 pm   Permalink

Alot of us Tiki Peeps were born in 63'...

Me, Holden, Bosko, Joe Banks, Soccer Tiki, 3 other guys in my band, that's just off the top of my head.
63' was a good year, but yea, once the beatles showed up, surf and Exotica got into a big wipeout.



 
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TikiG
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 17, 2008
Posts: 1560
From: Riverside, California
Posted: 2010-09-17 12:33 pm   Permalink

Hey! I was born in '63 too

As much as I love surf and the pre-Beatle era - I Thank God for the Beatles...for a few glorious years they influenced hundreds of thousands of kids to be garage rockers. Garage to me has been and will forever be where the spirit of rock and roll lives and thrives.


 
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tikiyaki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 18, 2004
Posts: 2722
From: The Exotic Port of REDONDO BEACH, CA
Posted: 2010-09-17 12:52 pm   Permalink

Me too...I love the Beatles, but they DID incite the downfall of tiki.

 
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TIKIBOSKO
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 17, 2004
Posts: 331
Posted: 2010-09-19 07:52 am   Permalink

Cool post, great info Sabu and what a beautiful matchbook Kate, it is amazing how much information is still out there waiting to be discovered. I would add Noels to the list (although it may not have been open in 63?), it was just across the street from Sam’s, I have no idea if it went by another name at one time but it was thick with Tiki décor right before it closed. I met the manager in the 90’s when I was trying to sell my very first carvings and he informed me they were (soon) going to change the “theme” and it would all be up for grabs. The thought that I could finally save the contents of one of these palaces excited this young urban archeologist like you wouldn’t believe. But later he never took my phone calls, by the next time I went by it was gutted only the outside Tikis remained. This has happened enough times to be a phenomena, I would talk to someone in “charge” of a business about saving the “Tikis” (artifacts) they would sound interested and I’d never hear from them again. Whether I come off as a lunatic wanting their junk or gave them the impression it was worth a pile of gold I’ll never know. Sitting here thinking about all the establishments that closed down during the period soon afterwards is making me feel very old and realizing just how naïve we were back then. I think Kelbos went soon after, all the remodeling on Shelter Island, then the Hanalei sign a few years later the whole interior exterior of the Islands was gutted. It is depressing to think that at one time I navigated between San Diego and Los Angeles by these landmarks, stop in once or twice a year and slowly they all vanished.



Bosko



 
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A Frame
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 16, 2009
Posts: 330
From: Mr. C's on the Coast Highway
Posted: 2010-09-20 5:42 pm   Permalink

Great info on the Mauna Kea and SB to LB tour Sabu, it's like reading the paper this afternoon and deciding which spot to hit tonight!


 
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rabbett
Member

Joined: Jan 18, 2011
Posts: 1
From: Renee Abbett
Posted: 2011-01-18 11:16 am   Permalink

Aloha Tiki Members,
I came across this sight by accident but I wanted to comment on a topic, and ask a question if possible.
I know this topic was started over a year ago but since I was born and raised in Long Beach, and grew up going to most all of the restaurants/Nightclubs I wanted to clarify that the Eddie Bush you had mentioned is not the Ukalele player. The Eddie Bush that played throughout Southern California was a Steel Guitar player. That sea shell matchbook was signed by my father. I'm Eddie Bush's daughter. I graduated from LB Wilson in 1981.

So here's my question. Is the Holden that is referred to in this thread "Holden W."? Did he graduate
from LB Wilson?

Thanks for all the great memories!



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Mahalo,
Renee


 
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