Tiki Culture

Post
DawnT
Double Chili Cheeseburger
2012/04/15 05:36:11
I have to admit that until today, I never heard that term. What I do remember during the 60's were many "Polynesian" type restaurants/inns with the funky roofs, statues and burning torches outside. That wasn't a place for kids and certainly not a restaurant my parents would have gone to. I have seen several retrospectives on these type of restaurants and their contribution to the many flavored and exotic drinks that were developed and influences on uniquely American developed Asian food, but little of the historical and architectual backgrounds such as Trader Vic's. There's still remnants around here, but no longer functioning as restaurants that I know of. From what I seen today though, the kitschy, uniquely American style developed to intrigue insular Americans to an exotic theme from faraway Asian lands coupled with the stories brought back by serviceman after WWII, Korea, and later Southeast Asia certainly deserves the credit of being the original theme type restaurants that would later spawn an industry. With South Florida being a subtropical tourist magnet during that period of time for folks from up north, we had our share of hotels, restaurants,lounges, and even apartment communities based on that theme. Many of the Everglades, Aquatic Park, & Animal type tourist traps had a second venue in the evening allowing their grounds to be used for silly catered events featuring the torchlit Polynesian and pseudo Luau's complete with Parrots, fire dancers/walkers /jugglers intermixed with Seminole Indian garbed staff and entertainment such as alligator wrestling. Weird intermix of the exotic and times, but the tourist parties ate it all up even though it was utter nonsense, but probably a memorable load of fun for northerners visiting Miami when it was still a "tropical paradise" and people didn't know any better.
 
Any rememberances of this so-called Tiki Culture ? 
 
 
 
tiki
Filet Mignon
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/15 08:40:36
Hmmm---well,all of my memories are more along the Tiki SUBculture vein. :)
 
 
kland01s
Filet Mignon
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/15 08:52:06
I remember being taken to the Kahiki in Columbus Ohio about 1968 when visiting the parents of a college friend. I almost fell into the big pond they had in the main lobby but what I still remember was a wonderful ice cream they served in a conch shell. I think it was a rum topping that I liked.
 
http://www.kahiki.com/about-us/supper-club.aspx
post edited by kland01s - 2012/04/15 13:35:49
cavandre
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/15 11:14:22
The Mai-Tais caused some memory lapses.
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/15 11:28:33

 
And this, the Kahiki, was torn down to make room for a Walgreens.
BelleReve
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/15 13:13:36
We had Bali Ha'i Polynesian restaurant supposedly modeled after Trader Vic's, on Lake Ponchartrain, on the grounds of an amusement park owned by the Batt family (actor Bryan Batt's family).  It was very popular, especially for prom dates.   Old menus, tiki mugs, and anything with their logo has become a  collectible here.  
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/15 13:38:44
Gilliagan's Island was a strong influence for the Tiki folk.

It is an upbeat and fun experience...for a day.

It also has the built-in recipe for a HANGOVER. Sweet drinks...sweet food.

Sweet POTENT drinks.
post edited by CCinNJ - 2012/04/15 13:45:42
DawnT
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/15 13:40:40
We got to talking about this morning over coffee. Many of those buildings that were still in existance took a heavy toll by Hurricane Andrew. One of the hallmarks of these places was the huge Buddah or pairs of huge Basalt Easter Island type statues with the elongated face/forehead guarding the entrance. I remember some of the newspaper ads that would show the entire kitchen staff lined up at a table filled with exotic foods and fountains and pictures of waitresses in Komono like attire with obviously eyeliner extended eyes. It must have been a gas to be inside one of these places from what I seen on TV last evening. Michael, now that I think of it, you posted something a while back on this place in the photo.  
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/15 13:45:37
I know nothing about it as these take up wall space in my computer room.
 
I started with tikis and downsized.  
 

mar52
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/15 13:46:16
Ignore Dean Koontz.  He shows up everywhere.
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/15 14:30:52
Here is the interior of Jade Island on Staten Island...

http://blog.humuhumu.com/...lands-tiki-jade-island

No exterior ambiance. You'd never guess from the outside...in passing. Strip mall...looks like every other place. Fun inside...for a evening.
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/15 14:47:46
The Los Angeles area used to have Trader Vic's, Kelbos, The Luau, Don the Beachcomber and a few others I can't think of.
 
Now we have none.
Maybe the Zombies killed them off.
ces1948
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/15 18:03:46
Dawn I think you've got one of most well known near your area.
The Mai Kai in Lauderdale
Been there for many years. I think I last went there in the early 70's.
www.maikai.com
Mai-Kai Restaurant From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Exterior view of the Mai-Kai on Federal Highway in 2007


The Mai-Kai is a tiki-themed restaurant located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It opened to the public on December 28, 1956, and is one of the few "Grand Polynesian Palaces of Tiki" still in operation today.[1] It is the last restaurant/bar in existense carrying on the traditions of service and serving the original drink recipes of Don the Beachcomber's.
post edited by ces1948 - 2012/04/15 18:07:15
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/15 22:49:53
I hope there's some Tiki Culture in Orlando.
SeamusD
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/16 09:32:29
The Kahunaville chain had a restaurant in our local mall, with all the "tiki" accessories, Easter Island monoliths, palm trees, even a waterfall. The food was ok, nothing special. After they closed, a local gentleman's club bought most of the fixtures, waterfall included, changed the name to something "tropical", and off they went.
 
We had another local restaurant open a few years back with that kind of theme, great food, but a terrible name and in a sort of a sketchy neighborhood. Unfortunately they didn't last very long. I think if they'd rethought the name and put it somewhere that didn't have the reputation that area did, they'd have lasted a lot longer.
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/17 08:31:15
Since Tiki times were all the rage during the days peeps loved to send postcards... there might be some great shots that are out there. I love postcards!
RodBangkok
Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/17 08:54:55
I just googled the tiki at disneyland and came up with a bar at one of the hotels.  I remember their used to be an animated exhibit, what was it I think the tiki lounge or bar or something with animated singing parrots....is that still at DL, or perhaps DW?  Too many years for me to remember anymore.
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/17 09:43:06
The Disneyland animatronic exhibit is the Enchanted Tiki Room. It's still there in Disneyland; I believe Walt Disney World still has one as well.
rumaki
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/17 10:57:29
CCinNJ:
 
Here's a link to a postcard.http://www.flickr.com/photos/baikinange/4207144797/
 
I LOVE this place -- the Lotus Garden in Greenwood (southern Indianapolis suburb). Been going there for years and years -- a must visit for me every time I'm back to my hometown.
 
Classic Chinese-American food.  Great tiki drinks and fabulous rumaki!    
post edited by rumaki - 2012/04/17 15:46:05
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/17 15:07:50
Thanks Rumaki!

I found the menu for Lotus Garden (I love menus too) and it is impressive!

http://www.lotusgardengre...iles/Sundayspecial.pdf

Chinese Mystery Dinner!! That sounds fun! Rumaki on the Pu Pu platter! Woohoo!
MilwFoodlovers
Filet Mignon
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/17 15:38:39
Milwaukee's Riverwest area has a new Tiki bar, The Foundation.
 

 
http://www.foundationbar.com/Home.html
 
The Foundation
2718 N Bremen St
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414) 374-2587
fattybomatty
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/17 15:41:57
I have been to a bunch of "tiki" bars. I have always just associated them with outdoor bars and never anything else. As long as I am.outside with a drink in hand I don't really care what the bar is called :-)
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/17 15:56:43
MFL that is beautiful! That has summer meeting written all over it!!

Now that I entered Tiki Academy...I found out the my new Tiki peeps really loved The Canton in Jersey CIty. It was not really Tiki (To Wong Foo the movie... was filmed there) but it was fun fun fun in a Tiki kinda way.
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/17 18:14:59
We had a Trader Vic's in Scottsdale but they closed it down about a year ago.
Not "Cosmo" enough for Scottsdale! 
plb
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/17 22:02:10
The Trader Vic's in Dallas was closed for a long time, reopened a few years ago, then closed a year or so ago.
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/17 23:33:45
Can't pu pu Trader Vic's collector market...

http://www.ooga-mooga.com...i?mode=view&mug_id=933

Ooga mooga indeed. Whatever that means.
DawnT
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/18 04:33:26
 
In it's own odd way, this thread has become quite interesting more from a historical perspective. What I find interesting is how the west coast associated Hawaii with the Polynesian/South Sea mystique while over here, the Everglades and mid state Cyprus swamp native American tribes were included in the Tiki culture here. From what my dad tells me of the early late 40's early 50's there were many clubs and restaurants that also blended in Caribbean/Calypso/Conga themes. I've spent some time on Youtube checking out some of the 50's "Exotica" music and dance acts that were associated with the Tiki culture by Les Baxter and Martin Denny and to some degree the 60's surf/racing music of the Ventures that featured Hawaiian themes. It would seem that the states were intrigued by a romanticized/imperialistic version of semi primitive tribal culture that was sanitized and played to their imagination of what they thought it would be like. Listening to some of this music was reminiscent of how the Florida Everglades wetlands were unrealistically portrayed in some movies back then. Sounds of exotic birds, jungle sounds, distant drums, yes, even sounds of monkeys howling in the night. Totally unrealistic, but apparently this pseudo media captured the imagination of folks in the heartlands that had a very vague idea of what other cultures were like. Thanks to those that have published photos, info, and links. This has been a very enjoyable thread indeed.
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/18 12:10:04
Thank you for starting the thread Dawn!

The Kon Tiki Hotel...WOW!


http://critiki.com/location/?loc_id=303

I want to find that postcard!

There were no architectural wow factors involved in NYC metro urban tiki culture. We missed the boat.
rumaki
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/18 13:13:31
I went to Kon Tiki Ports restaurant in Chicago (at the Sheraton) when I was in college in the 1970s.   I think we dined in the Ship's Deck room.
 
http://www.billyspostcards.com/Postcard/68094_Postcard_Sheraton_Chicago_Hotel_Kon_Tiki_Ports_Restaurant_Illinois_IL.html
post edited by rumaki - 2012/04/18 14:16:31
fishtaco
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/18 16:00:19
MilwFoodlovers

Milwaukee's Riverwest area has a new Tiki bar, The Foundation.
 


http://www.foundationbar.com/Home.html

The Foundation
2718 N Bremen St
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414) 374-2587

 Pre Buffet concert cocktails?
MilwFoodlovers
Filet Mignon
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/18 16:32:42
For all things Tiki:
 
http://critiki.com/
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/18 17:06:43
Our tiki culture was all over the map. Jade Island to Canton...

http://www.tikiroom.com/t...hp?topic=14015&forum=2

Canton was Tea Garden by day...Cocktail lounge "casino" restaurant by night.

It was like the Shangri-la of Americanized-Chinese formal adopted tiki. You are part of the family tiki. Just bring your bottles...platters...and we will supply the the rest of the atmosphere. Thank you.
post edited by CCinNJ - 2012/04/18 17:07:50
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/19 00:04:50
In 1972 Kon TIki Ports Chicago did 2.2 million is total sales! That is amazing. Tiki culture!

Look at those dreamy green booths!
post edited by CCinNJ - 2012/04/19 00:09:10
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/19 09:35:28
Lucius Beebe. He had an opinion...

http://www.tikiroom.com/t...p?topic=37689&forum=1g
MetroplexJim
Filet Mignon
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/19 11:15:32
My first business was next door to a very nice Tiki place in Manassas, VA - pu pu platters, exotic drinks, very good asian food made with fresh ingredients.  As their "neighbor" I was allowed into their kitchen which was always immaculate.  I don't know that they grossed, but it was widely accepted that they were the most successful restaurant in the county.
 
Then, one of their jealous competitors started a (totally false) rumor that there were dog and cat carcasses found in their trash bin.  Incredibly, the local paper printed it as a story.  Even though the story was soon retracted, the damahe was done and my neighbors business fell to a trickle and closed.
 
The next time I saw the owner (who always greeted his guests in a Tuxedo) he was working as a grease monkey is a small gas station in a seedy sevtion of Arlington, VA which he and his partner had purchased with the remnants of their business.  He took the whole debacle in good humor, though he seemed to regret that I had seen him in that circumstance.
 
Over a decade later I was taken for a business dinner to a high end Chinese Restaurant located in a very exclusive area in Tyson's Corner.  When I walked in I was greeted by a much older but very familiar gentleman in a Tuxedo.  He was very emotional upon seeing me again and simply said "I'm back". 
 
At the end of the meal he came over and comped the $250. check saing simply "Nice to see you again, Mr. Jim".  My host left a $100 tip and our business went well.  Needless to say, I returned often.
post edited by MetroplexJim - 2012/04/19 11:20:34
rumaki
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/19 12:06:46
Another defunct place -- the Aloha in Rochester, NY.
http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=33074&forum=2
 
My first job with a law firm after graduating from law school was in Rochester. I remember going to this place on a very, very snowy Rochester winter evening, after work.   I recall the drive back home was dicey -- no doubt in part because of the consumption of tiki drinks. 
 
Note the wonderful retro dinner plate in the link, above. They were still using them when I ate there with colleagues.  I really don't recall much about the food.  
 
I also remember going to the Honolulu restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia. I lived in Old Town for about 18 years before moving to Minnesota.  
 
http://critiki.com/pictures/?loc_id=4#/3
 
The food wasn't great, and the decor wasn't particularly stunning, but the drinks were good, and it was the only place around that had rumaki.  I moved away in 1999; I think the article says the place closed in 2004.
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/19 12:25:49
I wonder how many coins (and patrons) were fished out of the "pool" at the Aloha...on any given night.
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/19 14:51:08
I never got there but my Mom says Hawaii Kai was so much fun.

Times Square>>>tropical paradise>>>Times Square.

http://www.sevenpleasures...ai/hawaii_kai_4_tables
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/04/19 18:37:22
Aloha Mike
Junior Burger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/06/19 18:05:34
mar52

The Los Angeles area used to have Trader Vic's, Kelbos, The Luau, Don the Beachcomber and a few others I can't think of.

Now we have none.
Maybe the Zombies killed them off.

Sadly, this is true in L.A. for the most part. I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley (ironically, now I live in Honolulu where there's mai tais and tiki torches aplenty), and at least the Bahooka in Rosemead's still around.
 
Mike
post edited by Aloha Mike - 2012/06/19 18:08:56
HollyDolly
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/06/20 13:30:49
Never to a tiki restaurant.There is a Kon Tiki Motel in Universal City,Tx near San Antonio that's been there for years.
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/06/28 23:17:37
Anthony Bourdain (of all people) seems to love the Tiki Culture...

http://blog.oyster.com/an...-for-this-place-21833/
Vince Macek
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/06/29 18:27:54
Great inspiring story, Metroplex Jim! Good to see someone come back from a nasty blow like that. I don't see myself up that way anytime soon, but what's the name of his restaurant?
We have a Trader Vic's here in Atlanta in the Downtown Hilton from the '70s, a bit past the peak of Tiki culture - it's doing very well (points to the young and hip who have embraced Tiki), and worth a visit, especially if Tongo Hiti, fronted by Big Mike Geier, is playing on Thursdays.
Back  in the mid-70s I was in college up in Lansing, Michigan - there was a tiki place in the middle of Frandor shopping center called The Boom Boom Room - I never went there, that sort of thing being the opposite of cool then, and now I regret never going.
Big Kahuna Kooks
Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/07/30 15:55:47
Every year in Ft. Lauderdale there is a gathering called the Hukilau that celebrates and worships all things Tiki. Very cool retro vibe.
bosco lover
Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/08/21 10:43:19
The Mai Kai in Ft. lauderdale is indeed awesome. Haven't been in about 5 years, but great floor show, great drinks and a garden filled with torches and tikis. A must do in south Florida as far as I am concerned. 
 
I'm sorry I missed the Kahiki in Columbus, from all reports it was awesome. But i did manage to snag one of their hanging lights from their dining room-it has bamboo and starfish, very retro. They now make frozen Chinese food sold in grocery stores
ces1948
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/08/21 12:38:17
I haven't been to the Mai Kai since the early 70's. I was surprised to see it was still open.
 
bosco lover

The Mai Kai in Ft. lauderdale is indeed awesome. Haven't been in about 5 years, but great floor show, great drinks and a garden filled with torches and tikis. A must do in south Florida as far as I am concerned. 

I'm sorry I missed the Kahiki in Columbus, from all reports it was awesome. But i did manage to snag one of their hanging lights from their dining room-it has bamboo and starfish, very retro. They now make frozen Chinese food sold in grocery stores


CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Tiki Culture 2012/08/21 12:58:25
Ohhh...I found a Tiki place I did not know about...and a perfect alibi to stay at a hotel within 20 miles of home!!

Chan's Dragon Inn

http://offthebroiler.word...ning-chans-dragon-inn/
post edited by CCinNJ - 2012/08/21 13:00:01