Entries in the 'Trader Vic’s' Category

March 13, 2006

Atlanta: 30th Anniversary Bash at Trader Vic’s

Filed under: Atlanta,Events,Music,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 5:32 pm
30th Anniversary of Atlanta Trader Vic's
30th Anniversary of Atlanta Trader Vic’s

In celebration of Trader Vic’s 30 years in Atlanta, master event producer Tiki Kiliki is throwing a bash on the weekend of April 28th and 29th.

On Friday, April 28, there’s a special show at the Starlight Drive-In. The movie hasn’t been announced yet, but vintage movie trailers will be shown, and “Trailer Vic’s” will be serving up drinks, there will be Tiki Torch Marshmallow roasting, and Johnny Knox and Hi Test will be performing. As is the custom at the Starlight, bring your own coolers & cookout setup, and decorate your care space — the best decor wins a tiki carving!

Saturday, April 29 is the main celebration at the Atlanta Trader Vic’s. They’ll be bringin out vintage Oceanic Arts decor that was purchased and put in storage in 1976. King Kukulele is the MC, and Haole Kats, Cocktail Preachers and the hula troupe Hula Halau Kapilialoha will be performing. There will be door prizes, and a “temptation potion” giveaway. Mai Tais will be available for only $4.50, and you can make reservations to enjoy a special dinner there that night, too.

The Atlanta Trader Vic’s is my personal favorite Trader Vic’s. It’s located in the bottom level of the Atlanta Hilton, which has rooms available that weekend for only $89/night. Kiliki is most famous for organizing the annual Hukilau event at the Mai Kai in Ft. Lauderdale, but her regular Tiki Torch Nights in Atlanta are hugely fun and popular. This should be a real winner of a weekend, and the cost is only $10 each night.

Dallas Trader Vic’s Reopening Confirmed

Filed under: Dallas,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 2:22 pm
Dallas Trader Vic's, photo by suelo
Dallas Trader Vic’s, photo by suelo

The widely-rumbling rumors of the Dallas Trader Vic’s reopening have finally been confirmed. There was some confusion earlier in the year, as the Dallas-based investors had announced it, but the Trader Vic’s organization had not confirmed it until more recently.

The Dallas Trader Vic’s opened in 1967 in what was then the Dallas Hilton, and operated until the spring of 1989, when it was shuttered. Remarkably, the space has weathered many changes of ownership and decor at the hotel, and has remained surprisingly intact. It is a classic, gorgeous old Trader Vic’s. The space has been available for private rentals, but has been basically unused for nearly 20 years.

The hotel is now becoming the Hotel Palomar, and new investors Jim Sibert and Angus Wynne have stepped in to reopen the Trader Vic’s, as an actual Trader Vic’s, no less. I’ve heard various dates bandied about, but the one I’m hearing the most lately is August/Late Summer 2006. From the Dallas Morning News:

Expect a traditional-Tiki- meets-neo-Tiki décor. The original furniture and fixtures are still in place.

“But we’ve got a treasure-trove of new decorations, furniture and wall coverings that we’re adding,” says Angus.

I can’t say I’m excited about any neo-tiki infusions — from looking at pictures suelo took there just a couple years ago, the decor doesn’t need any help at all, and any attempts to “freshen” it with more modern additions could look out-of-place. Hopefully the additions will be tasteful and understated, rather than winking attempts at kitch. Kitch can be lots of fun and has its place, but hopefully not at a classic and elegant showpiece of a restaurant like the Trader Vic’s Dallas has the potential to be.

No matter what, this is a major, massive boon to Texas-based tikiphiles, who have been living in a tiki-deprived state for far too long. To not only gain a new tiki bar, but a Trader Vic’s — and not only a Trader Vic’s, but a classic Trader Vic’s — well, I bet some of the Texas folk are pinching themselves right about now.

I love this new trend we’re seeing — the return of classic tiki, as seen with the restoration of the Kon Tiki Lounge in Tucson, the Tonga Hut in North Hollywood, and now the Dallas Trader Vic’s.

February 22, 2006

Seattle Times Article on Bellevue Trader Vic’s

Filed under: News,Seattle,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 1:44 pm
Greg Jones and Theresa Dowell, photo by Greg Gilbert of the Seattle Times
Greg Jones and Theresa Dowell, photo by Greg Gilbert of the Seattle Times

The Seattle Times’ Food & Wine section has an excellent article today on the impending arrival of Trader Vic’s in Bellevue, directly across Lake Washington from Seattle. Seattle once boasted Trader Vic’s second location, which started out named The Outrigger. The location was a Seattle institution, located at the base of the Benjamin Franklin Hotel, which later became the Westin Hotel, from 1948 until its closure in 1992. The article does a great job of describing the important place that Trader Vic’s had on the Seattle culinary scene, and also gives a great view of what the hospitality was like. In particular, great tribute is paid to the restaurant’s long-time manager, Harry Wong:

“Harry Wong would do anything for his customers,” says Tom Robinson, whose wife, Barb, got him hooked on Trader Vic’s in 1959. Harry was known for his hospitality and his sense of humor. He always recognized us and saved our favorite table.” Once, when the Robinson’s were dining with Barb’s dad — “a real meat and potatoes guy” — Harry sent out a basket of warm dinner rolls, not something you’d normally find at Trader Vic’s. “Later, I asked him where he came up with the rolls,” says Robinson. “He’d sent someone up to the Golden Lion in the Olympic Hotel to get them.”

It’s five long, rainy downtown blocks from the old Trader Vic’s location to the Olympic Hotel — that’s some very dedicated and creative service. Harry Wong must have been a truly spectacular fellow.

The article talks to several local Trader Vic’s devotees (including Greg Jones and Theresa Dowell, pictured above), all folks who loved the Seattle Trader Vic’s and have lamented the loss. There is a lot of excitement about this new Bellevue location. Recapturing the magic of the old Seattle location would take a small miracle, but if nothing else the Trader Vic’s lovers in tiki-blighted Seattle should finally be able to get a fantastic Mai Tai.

The Bellevue location opens on March 6 in Lincoln Square.

February 17, 2006

Trader Vic’s Tiki Party Signing Tonight in Emeryville

Filed under: Events,San Francisco,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 11:53 am
Trader Vic's Tiki Party
Trader Vic’s Tiki Party

Tonight there’s gonna be a swinging time at the Emeryville Trader Vic’s — the author of Trader Vic’s Tiki Party, Steve Siegelman, will be there signing books, and there’s going to be half-price appetizers and drinks. Basically, it’s just a swell excuse for everybody to get together. Trader Vic’s says:

Trader Vic’s Emeryville, the legendary purveyor of Polynesian food, drinks and fun invite you to celebrate a new book titled Trader Vic’s Tiki Party. It has over 100 best-loved tropical cocktails like the Samoan Fog Cutter, Potted Parrot and of course The Original Mai Tai created by Trader Vic himself 62 years ago. The book also includes 35 crowd pleasing pan-Asian pu-pu’s like Crab Rangoon, Crispy Prawns and Bongo bongo Soup.

I’ve heard good things about the book, though I must admit I haven’t cracked the spine myself (we’ve probably got a copy packed in one of our still-to-be-unpacked boxes). We’ll be there from 6ish ’til probably at least 10, after that a bunch of folks are heading over to the Kona Club. If you see a crowd of people wearing aloha shirts (though I’ll be wearing my Song of the South shirt), come on over and say hi!

February 14, 2006

Mai Tai Online Has a New Website

Filed under: Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 1:59 pm
Mai Tai Online
Mai Tai Online

Since 1998, John Trivisonno and the Montreal Tiki Appreciation Society have been publishing Mai Tai, a ‘zine dedicated to tiki, with a particular emphasis on Montreal and surrounding areas. There have been 14 issues of Mai Tai thus far, and the latest issues have branched out a bit (#14 has an article covering the Havana Trader Vic’s/El Polinesio). I love this little ‘zine. Copies can be ordered online for $2.50 or at Quimby’s in Chicago, and a limited quantity of free copies are available at Motel Coconut in Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Tiki-Ti in Los Angeles and the Tiki Room in Stockholm, Sweden. The new website for Mai Tai will include a selection of articles from past issues of Mai Tai, and has a new blog, called Bamboo Blog.

February 6, 2006

A Look at Seattle’s Polynesian Past

Filed under: History,Seattle,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 5:14 pm
Outrigger in Seattle, from the collection of puamana
Outrigger in Seattle, from the collection of puamana

On Tiki Central, puamana has added some scans of items from her collection to an existing thread about Seattle’s tiki history. The postcard above is from the Outrigger, which was Trader Vic’s second restaurant. The Outrigger’s name later changed to Trader Vic’s, and closed in the mid-’90s. Other items puamana has shared include ads, matchbooks, entries from a Seattle cookbook, and menus from Seattle locations like Luau Barbecue, Canlis, Polynesia, and the Kalua Room. It’s sad to think that Seattle once had so many tiki spots, and none of the old places survived. Thanks to puamana for sharing her collection yet again!

Trader Vic’s Chicago Torch Passes to Harry Caray’s

Filed under: Chicago,Events,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 4:23 pm

With the recent ousting of the Chicago Trader Vic’s from the Palmer Hilton, local sports-bar chain Harry Caray’s has stepped up to find a way to keep Trader Vic’s in Chicago. They’ve salvaged what they could of the Trader Vic’s interior, and are currently looking for a good location, with an eye towards opening as quickly as possible, even as early as very late 2006.

In the meantime, Trader Vic’s will live on at the three Harry Caray’s locations, in a way. The environment of course is anything but tiki, but the Trader Vic’s organization has worked with Harry Caray’s to teach them how to make a great Trader Vic’s Mai Tai, so that the city of Chicago will not have to go without until the restaurant opens. There is even a televised “passing of the tiki torch” ceremony planned for tomorrow, Tuesday February 7 at Harry Caray’s Chicago location (33 West Kinzie Street), starting at 12:30 in the afternoon. Trader Vic’s CEO Hans Richter will be there to symbolically pass on the Trader Vic’s torch and Mai Tai recipe to Harry Caray’s widow, Dutchie Caray. WCKG radio personality (and Trader Vic’s regular) Steve Dahl will emcee the event, which also includes Samoan fire dancers and Tahitian and Hawaiian hula dancing. For tomorrow only, Harry Caray’s will have tikis brought in for decor, the servers will be wearing aloha shirts and orchid leis, and some of Trader Vic’s most famous food items will be served, including BBQ Pork Spare Ribs, Trio of Tartare (Scallops Opihi, Tuna Poke and Salmon Lomi Lomi) and New York Steak Teriyaki with Steamed White Rice and Sautéed Baby Bok Choy. I tell you, I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t get Salmon Lomi Lomi. I’ve become seriously addicted to the stuff.

After tomorrow, the tikis and the tidbits will be gone, but the Mai Tai will remain — until the Trader Vic’s reopens, you will be able to get a Mai Tai at any of the three Harry Caray’s locations: Chicago, Rosemont or Midway Airport. If it’s at all possible to swing it, try to get to tomorrow’s afternoon celebration, and proudly wear your aloha shirt for it. Let the world know you miss Trader Vic’s!

London: 2006 London Luau

Filed under: Events,London,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 1:41 pm

Last fall’s London Luau went well enough that Cheekytiki is making it an annual event, with this year’s luau happening in mid-summer. Appleton is again a sponsor, and it will again be held at the historic London Trader Vic’s. The event will take place on Saturday, June 10 — lots of details are still to be worked out, but the organizers wanted to give plenty of time for those who want to make travel arrangements. Cheekytiki is also looking for artists interested in participating in a group show to coincide with the event.

January 29, 2006

Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s Days May Be Numbered

Filed under: Los Angeles,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 2:52 am
Trader Vic's in Beverly Hills
Trader Vic’s in Beverly Hills

The Trader Vic’s in Beverly Hills is located in the Beverly Hilton Hotel, which after being owned by Merv Griffin for many years was recently sold. A few small rumors about changes have been bouncing about, and I’ve just received an anonymous tip that there are plans underway for it to be demolished and replaced with a tower. The anonymous tipster claims to have a connection to an organization involved in the project. Take it all with a grain of salt, but it doesn’t sound good. The Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s is the oldest of the remaining Trader Vic’s, having opened in 1955.

January 13, 2006

Trader Vic’s News: Bar Remodel at Palo Alto, Dallas Rumor

Filed under: Dallas,News,San Francisco,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 8:30 pm
Palo Alto Trader Vic's
Palo Alto Trader Vic’s

The Palo Alto Trader Vic’s will be undergoing a remodel in the bar area this month, with a targeted soft opening on January 27. The space will be called “The Mai Tai Lounge at Trader Vic’s” and will expand into the right dining room area. More tikis are being brought in, and the lighting will be dimmed and more red. It sounds like a relatively small-scale redo, but these are welcome changes — the Palo Alto Trader Vic’s bar just feels too airy, and is often full.

Also — and this tidbit comes with absolutely no concrete information or confirmation — but a Dallas Trader Vic’s location is reportedly again “on the table” for 2006. Possibly. Maybe. Who knows.

These insider comments come courtesy of Martiki, who sadly is leaving Trader Vic’s San Francisco. His last day is this Monday — if you haven’t been served by Martin at Trader Vic’s, now’s your last chance!


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Humuhumu
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Humuhumu is the creator of several tiki websites. She is a designer and programmer based out of San Francisco.

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