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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki RIP Rusty Fenton, general mgr of Dallas Trader Vic's
RIP Rusty Fenton, general mgr of Dallas Trader Vic's
Kenike
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 24, 2003
Posts: 1204
From: McKinney, TX
Posted: 2013-06-26 2:51 pm   Permalink

It is with great sadness that I am informing everyone of the passing of Rusty Fenton, former general manager of Trader Vic's in Dallas and more recently the founder and president of the Rusty Taco chain. Rusty lost his battle with cancer on Monday.

I first met Rusty at a "mock service" for Trader Vic's in 2007. He was excited that our community of tiki enthusiasts were ready to embrace the reopened Trader Vic's and always made us feel welcome. Rusty and I became good friends and we spent many an evening chatting it up at the TV bar over Zombies and Mai Tai's.

In 2010 when the restaurant closed, Rusty approached me about liquidating some of the Trader Vic's merch and decor to help ease some of the financial woes the restaurant still had. We expressed a mutual interest in keeping as much as possible in the tiki community. If you were able to get any of the Dallas Trader Vic's items, it was Rusty who made it all possible.


Rusty inspecting a lamp after Dallas TV's closed in 2010

In April of 2010 Rusty was hard at work building his first Rusty Taco location and also handling some financial stuff for the Trader Vic's owner. During this time, he was using the office in the restaurant and gave me exclusive access to the whole place, which was slowly being dismantled. I spent many hours just hanging out or taking pictures. Rusty understood the significance of the Dallas location and he let me enjoy it several times after they were closed.

He stopped by the Texas Tiki Roundup at Koitiki's Enchanted Lagoon in 2011 and really enjoyed everything about the experience. He talked to lots of folks about their Trader Vic's memories and even his desire to one day open a REAL tiki bar in Dallas.


Formikahini, Rusty and Kenike at the TX Tiki Roundup, 2011

He didn't let his illness stop him from making Rusty Taco a huge success since they opened in 2010 and always had big plans for what was next. He never stopped talking about the future and the things he wanted to accomplish. He was extremely dedicated to the welfare of his family and told me repeatedly that he wanted to be sure they were taken care of if his disease worsened. No doubt his wife and four daughters will carry on his vision and the company will continue to prosper. There are now 12 locations.


Rusty and Grand Kahu chatting it up, April 2011


Rusty and former Trader Vic's co-owner Jeff Berry (not that one), 2012

It's only been 6 years since I met Rusty but I'll be forever changed from knowing him. I've known few people with as much integrity, genorosity and kindness as Rusty....he was always happy to see you and never stopped smiling....even when he was in a great deal of pain, he always had a smile on his face.


Kenike and Rusty, April 2013


He was a dear friend of mine as well as to the tiki community and he will be missed.


Rusty enjoying Backscratcher at the Polynesian in Disney Orlando, from a text he sent me, December 2012

Obit

Rusty Taco web site

Rusty Taco Facebook page


[ This Message was edited by: kenike 2013-06-26 18:13 ]


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thePorpoise
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 1076
From: Tampa Bay
Posted: 2013-06-26 3:16 pm   Permalink

Condolences on the loss of your friend.

 
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Koitiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 03, 2007
Posts: 213
From: Austin
Posted: 2013-06-26 3:36 pm   Permalink

Well said Dennis. He will be missed.

 
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Grand Kahu
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Jul 31, 2006
Posts: 176
From: Dallas, TX
Posted: 2013-06-26 3:51 pm   Permalink

Indeed, very well said. Rusty was a great guy and I will remember him and the good times, chatting over a margarita or Mai Tai.

GK
_________________
Grand Kahu

Tied by my Mai Tai...


 
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Grand Kahu
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Jul 31, 2006
Posts: 176
From: Dallas, TX
Posted: 2013-06-26 3:51 pm   Permalink

Indeed, very well said. Rusty was a great guy and I will remember him and the good times, chatting over a margarita or Mai Tai.

GK
_________________
Grand Kahu

Tied by my Mai Tai...


 
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