Welcome to the Tiki Central 2.0 Beta. Read the announcement
Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

Tiki Central / Locating Tiki / Mauna Kea, Seal Beach, CA (restaurant)

Post #554307 by Sabu The Coconut Boy on Thu, Sep 16, 2010 5:57 PM

You are viewing a single post. Click here to view the post in context.

The Mauna Kea lasted less than a year, which is why the souvenirs and ephemera are so hard to find.

It opened March 1st, 1963 in one of the large dining rooms of the closed Dovalis 101 Ranch House restaurant:

Here is a newspaper article about the Mauna Kea at the end of its first month:

The restaurant was supposed to be completely Polynesian by May 1963, but this review from May 22 says that the restaurant is still only partially converted:

By January 1964 the Mauna Kea was no more. This article about Eddie Bush from Jan 2, 1964 talks about him managing the Mauna Kea and how it "did not survive". By then he had already moved on to performing at Mr C's Outrigger a little further up PCH.

Was Long Beach already too saturated with Poly-Pop restaurants to handle another? Or did the previous 101 Ranch House restaurant have too strong a following? This article from Jan 9th celebrates the reopening of the 101 Ranch House under new management:

But for that short, heady period of 1963, the Long Beach/Seal Beach area probably hosted the most Poly-Pop joints that it has ever seen. The mind reels thinking of the tiki bar crawls you could have had back then. In 1963 you could have cruised to no less than five Tiki power places on one small stretch of Pacific Coast Highway itself, starting at the huge Polynesian palace of Sam's Sea Food in Surfside at 16278 PCH:

Then up to Seal Beach and the Mauna Kea at 1600 E PCH:

Then on to Java Lanes and the East Indies Room at 3800 E PCH with it's amazing Googie A-Frame:

Then The Hawaiian at 4645 E PCH:

And finally, ending the evening at your hotel room at The Outrigger Inn, adjacent to Mr. C's - A sprawling Tiki paradise of its own - Mr C's had restaurants with various themes in different rooms, and the Outrigger Inn had gardens with Milan Guanko tikis and waterfalls. (5303 E. PCH):

If you wanted to stray off the Pacific Coast highway, you had the incredible tiki temple of the The Reef over on Pier A of Long Beach harbor, and from there it was only a short drive over the Vincent St Thomas bridge to the Ports O' Call restaurant in San Pedro.

If you can believe it, all of the places mentioned above were large enough to have nightly Hawaiian entertainment and dancing. Included in that list is Don May's Leilani over on 2nd street. It had been around longer than the rest but it was still a happening night spot in 1963 with live entertainment every night as well.

Then there were the smaller tiki-themed restaurants and bars of Long Beach like the Samoa, the Pago Pago, and other places still waiting to be re-discovered:

I'd give anything for the chance to go back in time and overdose on tiki in Long Beach in the mid-1960s.

[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2010-09-17 16:10 ]