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 ?