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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki What is the oldest tiki restaurant still in existence?
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What is the oldest tiki restaurant still in existence?
Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5062
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2013-05-15 06:24 am   Permalink

Here is a menu from "The Hut" aka "Christian's Hut" aka "Bali Hai".


The main thing here is it was date, 1953.


I love it when I find menus ot matchbooks ort postcards with dates!
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 999
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2013-05-15 06:37 am   Permalink

You reminded me of the escape from reality which tiki places offered to folks so soon after World War II. Things were still a mess dealing with post-war aftermath in 1953.

 
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mike and marie
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 127
Posted: 2013-07-11 7:38 pm   Permalink

We think the Bahi Hut on the Tamiami Trail in Sarasota should go on the list. Bill Johnston opened it in September 1954, and aside from a few color TVs, it hasn't changed a bit. While properly a bar, not a restuarant, there is the complimentary Ritz crackers and port cheese spread in the huge white tub---known to help the wahines take the edge off the mai-tais and sneaky tikis!

And Bikini Lounge in Phoenix, new to us, sounds like it's worth investigating...


 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6255
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2013-07-12 12:34 am   Permalink

You got that for me?
how sweet!


 
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Sunny&Rummy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2013
Posts: 531
From: Melbourne, FL
Posted: 2013-07-12 09:26 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-07-11 19:38, mike and marie wrote:
We think the Bahi Hut on the Tamiami Trail in Sarasota should go on the list. Bill Johnston opened it in September 1954, and aside from a few color TVs, it hasn't changed a bit. While properly a bar, not a restuarant, there is the complimentary Ritz crackers and port cheese spread in the huge white tub---known to help the wahines take the edge off the mai-tais and sneaky tikis!

And Bikini Lounge in Phoenix, new to us, sounds like it's worth investigating...



My wife used to work at Mote and has very fond memories of knocking back what she recalls were very strong Mai-Tais at Bahi Hut. Are the drinks there any good?
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arriano
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1299
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2013-07-12 09:55 am   Permalink

OK, with new suggestions, we now have:

Oldest faux-Polynesian bars/restaurants

1. Trad'r Sam, San Francisco, CA - 1930s (bar)
2. Bikini Lounge, Phoenix, AZ - 1947 (bar)
3. The Tahitian Room, Richland, WA - 1952 (restaurant)
4. Bahi Hut, Sarasota, FL - 1954 (bar)
5. Bali Hai, San Diego, CA - 1955 (1953 as The Hut) (restaurant)
6. Mai Kai, Ft. Lauderdale, FL - 1957 (restaurant)
7. Tonga Hut, Los Angeles, CA - 1958 (bar)

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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5062
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2013-07-12 10:22 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-07-12 09:55, arriano wrote:
OK, with new suggestions, we now have:

Oldest faux-Polynesian bars/restaurants

1. Trad'r Sam, San Francisco, CA - 1930s (bar)
2. Bikini Lounge, Phoenix, AZ - 1947 (bar)
3. The Tahitian Room, Richland, WA - 1952 (restaurant)
4. Bahi Hut, Sarasota, FL - 1954 (bar)
5. Bali Hai, San Diego, CA - 1955 (1953 as The Hut) (restaurant)
6. Mai Kai, Ft. Lauderdale, FL - 1957 (restaurant)
7. Tonga Hut, Los Angeles, CA - 1958 (bar)




Mai-Kai is 1956 actually.


 
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Hale Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 19, 2004
Posts: 1798
From: Pittsburgh
Posted: 2013-07-12 10:44 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-07-12 10:22, Swanky wrote:
Mai-Kai is 1956 actually.



December. Only a few months after this article was published in Popular Science:

http://books.google.com/books?id=b-EDAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PP1&pg=PA166#v=onepage&q&f=false

I'm not saying they got the plans from there, but it's cool that they were published the same year. Also, Chinese ovens are the best. And the food that comes out of there at the Mai Kai is truely Maita'i roa ae!

[ This Message was edited by: Hale Tiki 2013-07-12 10:45 ]


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mike and marie
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 127
Posted: 2013-07-12 6:14 pm   Permalink

Quote:

My wife used to work at Mote and has very fond memories of knocking back what she recalls were very strong Mai-Tais at Bahi Hut. Are the drinks there any good?



Yes, and the mai-tais are strong. Limit two, no exceptions. The other signature drink is the sneaky tiki. We have the recipes somewhere.


 
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Limbo Lizard
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 24, 2006
Posts: 701
From: Aboard the 'Leaky Tiki', Dallas
Posted: 2013-07-12 8:22 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-07-12 10:44, Hale Tiki wrote:
December. Only a few months after this article was published in Popular Science:

http://books.google.com/books?id=b-EDAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PP1&pg=PA166#v=onepage&q&f=false

I'm not saying they got the plans from there,...


Victor "Trader Vic" Bergeron filed for a patent in February, 1952, for a
pretty similar looking oven.
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2694
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2013-07-13 09:09 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-07-12 09:55, arriano wrote:
OK, with new suggestions, we now have:

Oldest faux-Polynesian bars/restaurants

1. Trad'r Sam, San Francisco, CA - 1930s (bar)
2. Bikini Lounge, Phoenix, AZ - 1947 (bar)
3. The Tahitian Room, Richland, WA - 1952 (restaurant)
4. Bahi Hut, Sarasota, FL - 1954 (bar)
5. Bali Hai, San Diego, CA - 1955 (1953 as The Hut) (restaurant)
6. Mai Kai, Ft. Lauderdale, FL - 1957 (restaurant)
7. Tonga Hut, Los Angeles, CA - 1958 (bar)


I really think that the Alibi and Tonga Room need to be on the list. They might not have been Poly-Pop when they originally opened but by the late 1940's they were Pre-Tiki "Polynesian".

The faux-Polynesian angle is a tough one (as opposed to full on Tiki-Style). The Pre-Tiki aesthetic was so pervasive (generic?) that there's probably lots of surviving places in Podunk USA which are off the Tiki Central radar.

EDIT - I just read Bigbro's comments about the Alibi and Tonga Room. Were they really that late (1970's) to the game ? I always considered them to be in the Pre-Tiki category.


[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2013-07-13 09:30 ]


 
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abstractiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 604
From: Lodi, CA
Posted: 2013-07-13 6:01 pm   Permalink

Minnie's in Modesto CA was established in 1954 by the legendary tiki restaurant developer and owner Hop Louie. Mr Louie is probably most famous for creating the Stockton Islander.




 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3818
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2013-07-14 10:14 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-04-29 08:57, Unga Bunga wrote:
Trad'r Sam San Francisco ~ 1930's






 
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TropicDrinkBoy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 277
Posted: 2013-07-18 9:13 pm   Permalink

JOHN-O, take a look at my post near the bottom of this page of the Tonga Room thread in Locating Tiki, complete with pictures. It became a nautical restaurant around 1945, a Hawaiian/Tropical restaurant in 1953 and a Polynesian Palace in 1967 (and refreshed a few years ago).

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=23662&forum=2&start=105&113

There is a detailed history here:

http://sanfrancisco.grubstreet.com/20090915_tongaupdate.jpg.pdf



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TropicDrinkBoy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 277
Posted: 2013-07-23 12:35 am   Permalink

Limbo Lizard, that 1952 Trader Vic Chinese Oven patent was specifically for enhanced design elements to prevent grease fires. The Trader originated the use Of Chinese Ovens in Tropical/Polynesian restaurants starting in the late 1930's.

 
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