FEATURES | MUSIC | BOOKS | DRINKS | FORUMS | GAMES | LINKS | ABOUT


advertise on Tiki Central

Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop
  [Edit Profile]  [Edit Preferences]  [Search] [Sign Up]
[Personal Messages]  [Member List]  [Help/FAQ]  [Rules]  [Login]
Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » Hawaiian Gardens, San Jose, CA (restaurant)
Hawaiian Gardens, San Jose, CA (restaurant)
Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4241
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-05-24 6:26 pm   Permalink

Name:Hawaiian Gardens
Type:restaurant
Street:
City:San Jose
State:CA
Zip:
country:USA
Phone:
Status:defunct

Description:


I came across this postcard of the exterior of the Hawaiian Gardens restaurant in San Jose which is where I lived as a kid.



I started doing some research and found quite a bit of information on-line:

In 1933, rancher John Lo Curto opened an Italian restaurant in San Jose called Lo Curto Gardens. Around 1938, S. “Baron” Long became the restaurant’s owner/manager and the name was changed to the Hawaiian Gardens. The highly popular Polynesian-themed restaurant/night club was rebranded as the “Show Palace of the West” and featured nightly floor shows, dancing with the Hawaiian Gardens Orchestra, and unique performances by trained bullfrogs… yes, FROGS.

Here is a menu from Mimi Payne's website showing the frogs!





At some point in the 1950s, the restaurant fell back into the hands of the Lo Curto family and became Lo Curto’s Hawaiian Gardens. Following the restaurant’s unsuccessful reincarnation as a go-go club in the 1960s, the venue was sold, renamed the Italian Gardens, and stayed as such until its closure in the 1990s. Today, what was once the locale of the largest supper club between San Francisco and Los Angeles is now home to what else?... high-density housing. It is said that some of the original landscaping still remains.

Here are images of the feature matchbook from the Hawaiian Gardens.








The original Hawaiian Gardens building fell victim to a fire in 1952 and had to be rebuilt. The picture below is the rendering of the new modern restaurant, courtesy architect Donnell Jaekle (who, by the way, was quite prolific at the time in the SF Bay Area). The arched porte cochere looks much like the entrance to the old Hyatt House in Burlingame (which also no longer exists). I've yet to figure out if the two buildings were both designed by Jaekle.

Some images of the newer building:











And a modern menu from Mimi Payne's website.





I also saw this matchbook on-line which featured the Hawaiiann Gardens AND the Club Royal Hawaiian located in San Francisco. Obviously sister restaurant.





Interesting...

DC



 
View Profile of Dustycajun Send a personal message to Dustycajun      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Trad'r Bill
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2008
Posts: 484
From: Hercules, CA
Posted: 2011-05-24 7:38 pm   Permalink

Cool! I've always wondered about this place. I've only seen one matchbook so far...

DC, I also lived in the San Jose/South Bay Area as a kid, and went to High School in San Jose. One of my classmates even had the last name of LoCurto! He must be connected... I'll soon know because I just added him on LinkedIn


 
View Profile of Trad'r Bill Send a personal message to Trad'r Bill  Email Trad'r Bill     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Trad'r Bill
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2008
Posts: 484
From: Hercules, CA
Posted: 2011-05-24 8:27 pm   Permalink

You're right, DC - there is a lot of info out there.

"Photo is of actual wooden tikis that graced the walls of Hawaiian Gardens (courtesy of Don Feurbacher)."



 
View Profile of Trad'r Bill Send a personal message to Trad'r Bill  Email Trad'r Bill     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
abstractiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 604
From: Lodi, CA
Posted: 2011-05-25 6:56 pm   Permalink

Nice artifacts DC!

 
View Profile of abstractiki Send a personal message to abstractiki  Email abstractiki Goto the website of abstractiki     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4241
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-05-26 1:10 pm   Permalink

Trad'r Bill,

Nice find on the photo, good to see there was a Tiki period at the Hawaiian Gardens. Here is the link to the Metro article that talks about the history of the place.

http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/02.14.02/underbelly-0207.html

There were a few Tiki mugs used there as well, from Ooga Mooga:

The skinny three-faced mug




And the Surfer Girl/Princess mug.





DC


 View Profile of Dustycajun Send a personal message to Dustycajun      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Trad'r Bill
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2008
Posts: 484
From: Hercules, CA
Posted: 2011-07-21 7:04 pm   Permalink

Here's a brochure I found at the Oakland Library:







-Trad'r Bill


 
View Profile of Trad'r Bill Send a personal message to Trad'r Bill  Email Trad'r Bill     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
hmdTiki
Member

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 9
Posted: 2011-08-22 1:00 pm   Permalink

I would like to credit myself for the Hawaiian Gardens research, text, and a number of the images posted above.
The large sized matchcover image came from a matchbook I purchased on eBay (I paid $15 for it)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/14696209@N02/3648152192/
The architectural rendering surfaced after hours of research conducted at San Jose's MLK Library
http://www.flickr.com/photos/14696209@N02/3651147596/
The vintage ad came from a San Jose Mercury News insert I picked up at an estate sale
http://www.flickr.com/photos/14696209@N02/3844129717/
Not trying to be snotty here... would just like my efforts acknowledged. Thanks!

[ This Message was edited by: hmdTiki 2011-08-29 22:14 ]


 View Profile of hmdTiki Send a personal message to hmdTiki      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11090
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2011-08-22 6:34 pm   Permalink

Absolutely! Your contributions here are very much appreciated.

 
View Profile of bigbrotiki Send a personal message to bigbrotiki  Goto the website of bigbrotiki     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4241
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-12-20 5:03 pm   Permalink

Thanks hmdTiki.

A nice napkin style with the classic uke player under the palm tree/Hawaiian hula girl theme from the Hawaiian Gardens.



DC


 
View Profile of Dustycajun Send a personal message to Dustycajun      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Trad'r Bill
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2008
Posts: 484
From: Hercules, CA
Posted: 2011-12-25 7:56 pm   Permalink

Great classic graphics there - thanks DC

 
View Profile of Trad'r Bill Send a personal message to Trad'r Bill  Email Trad'r Bill     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Rum Dog
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Dec 07, 2010
Posts: 284
From: Canyon Hills, CA
Posted: 2013-02-04 4:32 pm   Permalink

Over the weekend I was visiting my mother and came across some old boxes of pictures.

Included was a picture of my mom on a date when she was 18 years old at the Hawaiian Gardens in San Jose California.

Here is the cover on the jacket that contained the photograph.



The date on the picture is December 4, 1948. (My mother is the woman to the right).

Not the best picture due to its age but you can get a little sense of the interior.





 
View Profile of Rum Dog Send a personal message to Rum Dog      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
marklongshore@att.net
Member

Joined: Feb 05, 2013
Posts: 5
Posted: 2013-02-05 10:40 am   Permalink

My parents used to frequent the Hawaiian Gardens in the 1950s as they were avid dencers. As stated, the name was changed to Italian Gardens and was open for many years for banquets, weddings, etc. I had never been inside, but I attended a seminar there in the 1990s which included lunch. The place, although rundown, was right out of the 1940s and the food was great. After lunch I wandered around the ruins of the gardens, etc. which was kind of sad. The old Lo Curto residence, a magnificent Italianate large home, was behind the gardens but appeared to be occupied as a rental and run down. The site was converted to condominiums. My favorite country & western bar, "Cowtown" was near the Italian Gardens.

 
View Profile of marklongshore@att.net Send a personal message to marklongshore@att.net      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
TropicDrinkBoy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 273
Posted: 2013-02-06 09:45 am   Permalink

Thanks for posting your Mom's picture Rum Dog. I've seen many such pictures posted on Tiki Central but most were purchased on eBay so one can only wonder about the circumstances. Knowing a little about the back story helps to bring them to life.

And thanks MarkLongshore for your recollections. I live in the bay area but it sounds like nothing is left if I try to visit now!


 
View Profile of TropicDrinkBoy Send a personal message to TropicDrinkBoy      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
danlovestikis
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4640
Posted: 2013-02-23 08:58 am   Permalink

Just can't stop without just one more. Dan had the red shirt mug from here. Wendy
_________________


 
View Profile of danlovestikis Send a personal message to danlovestikis      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
U-Moderate:
  
v1.5

[ About Tiki Central | Contact Tiki Central | Advertise on Tiki Central ]
(c) 2000-2014 Tikiroom.com (tm), Tiki Central (tm)

Credits & copyright infomation