Joined: Nov 16, 2007
From: Santa Barbara, CA
|Posted: 2014-06-05 12:36 pm  Permalink|
I’ve unearthed quite a bit of information on the Polynesian and it’s owner/builder Pete Reitz.
The Polynesian restaurant opened in 1957 with Henry Yee as the head chef and entertainment provided by Harry Baty and his Polynesians.
A celebration with the Mayor of Torrance to mark the opening.
Pete Reitz was quite a character. He would organize bachelor “men only” trips to Bora Bora, Tahiti, Moorea, and Hawaii that would start with a send-off party at party at his Polynesian restaurant.
Reitz also went off on an exposition to find talent for his restaurant in Tahiti.
Reitz started exotic movie nights at the Polynesian and even made a movie from his trips and from Luaus held at the Polynesian. Anybody ever seen or heard of this Polynesian Restaurant movie??
A fire nearly destroyed the restaurant in January of 1959 while Reitz was sleeping in his office.
Unlike many other Tiki restaurants that burned and were never rebuilt, Reitz was undaunted and re-opened the restaurant just 5 short months later in June of 1959 (note the scheduled may opening was pushed to June).
Checking out the blueprints for the fire rebuild.
The managed to hire the Benjaman Choye, the manager from the Tonga Room in San Francisco.
A great shot of the wait staff in uniform.
Some the of the ladies from the Polynesian
(and a guy!).
Some of the entertainment.
Including Sterling Mossman from Hawaii.
And of course the various fashion shows and events.
Lets Go Native with Sheena!
It looks like The Polynesian restaurant ran until 1963 when it became the Jamaica West night club. Hop Louie then started Lattitude 20 in 1966.