Postcard from Chicago Trader Vic’s, from the collection of Mimi Payne
There’s been a lot of news on the Trader Vic’s front, time for a roundup:
Trader Vic’s Chicago: As previously reported, the Chicago Trader Vic’s location will be closing for good on New Year’s Eve. The sad and frustrating tale of its demise has been widely reported, but here’s the short version: the new owners of the Palmer Hilton are crappy. This Trader Vic’s location is one of the oldest — it would have celebrated 50 years in 2007 — and the Trader Vic’s organization is disappointed. Reports state that the interior is being preserved as much as possible, and saved for a future installation in Chicago. The Trader Vic’s organization appears to have fast-tracked getting another Trader Vic’s restaurant in Chicago, and the Harry Caray’s restaurant group has announced their intention to run the new restaurant. Hard to say if this is an actual signed deal, or what the time frames are, but it sounds intriguing. Meanwhile, the latest reports on visits to the Chicago Trader Vic’s paint a bleak picture — shoddy, typo-ridden menus, non-existent service, and abysmal drinks. Farewell, Chicago Trader Vic’s, I hope to meet you again under better circumstances.
Trader Vic’s Bellevue: Now for better news. The new Trader Vic’s restaurant in Bellevue (outside Seattle) appears to be progressing nicely. I happened to be at the San Francisco Trader Vic’s when designers were reviewing samples; if what I saw was any indication, expect to see some very nice bamboo. The Trader Vic’s Bellevue website says March 2005 is the opening date, I’ve heard April 1, but of course these dates tend to be squishy. The new Bellevue Vic’s is located in the Liberty Square complex across from Bellevue Square mall, and is located adjacent to a Westin hotel. The restaurant has a main dining area and two private dining rooms, and takes up nearly 8,000 sq. ft. of space.
Trader Vic’s Scottsdale: Scottsdale is also gearing up for a springtime return of Trader Vic’s. A great vintage hotel, Valley Ho, has been undergoing renovations. The new Valley Ho will include a freestanding Trader Vic’s restaurant, with both indoor and outdoor seating available. Due to open in May 2006 but with Belleuve opening in March/April, I wouldn’t be surprised if this got pushed back a bit.
Trader Vic’s Las Vegas: The ink is barely dry on this one, but Vegas moves quickly… I’m excited to hear how this one comes along. This new Trader Vic’s will be part of the remodel of what is currently the Aladdin Hotel’s Desert Passage mall. With the Aladdin becoming a Planet Hollywood casino, the theme for the mall will be changing. The Trader Vic’s space is reportedly quite large, and will have a front entrance directly on the strip, across from the Bellagio. With the work just getting started, it’s too soon to pinpoint an opening date, but think late 2006/early 2007. Along those same lines, don’t get too attached to it once it opens… Vegas is a place where time has no meaning, and a restaurant open three years is considered dated.
Trader Vic’s Dallas: Earlier this year there were some rumblings about Trader Vic’s coming back to Dallas. Actually, it was more than rumblings, an investor announced the plans and it was reported on in the press, but it turns out it may have been premature. There are no real plans to open a location in Dallas that I’m aware of, but clearly we’re living in a time when such a thing isn’t out of the question. Don’t lose hope, but don’t hold your breath, either.
All told, things are looking up!
- Details on the New Trader Vic’s Las Vegas, Scottsdale [Humu Kon Tiki]
- Chicago Trader Vic’s Closing [Humu Kon Tiki]
- Trader Vic’s, Bellevue [Critiki]
- Trader Vic’s, Scottsdale [Critiki]