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South Pacific Polynesian Restaurant & Gardens, Hallandale, FL (restaurant)

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Name:South Pacific Polynesian Restaurant & Gardens
Type: formerly a restaurant

I was on ebay and found a matchbook for a restaurant called "South Pacific Polynesian Restaurant and Gardens" I grew up in Hollywood, Florida (which is the neighboring city to the north of Hallandale) and I have NEVER even heard of this place. Is anyone familiar with it?

Here is the link to the ebay site and a picture of the matchbook cover:


[ Edited by: joefla70 on 2005-02-04 15:20 ]

[ Edited by: Bora Boris 2013-01-16 20:59 ]

My my, that was quite a place. A rambling group of huts and structures, it was obviously inspired by the nearby Mai Kai (like every other Polynesian joint in the area).

There are very nice postcards of it, I even have a rendering. Here's an excerpt from the menu text, which is among my favourite texts in Poly Pop poetry:

Mysterious shadows cast their lights on the moat (!??) that surrounds the village and in it's dark waters dart tropical fish of all colors, flown here from the island of Niihau.....the authentic thatching on the main portico and smaller huts was fashioned by a group of Polynesians and Seminole Indians...the magnificent Kauai Bar and Lounge enhanced by lovely cocktail waitresss in tantalizing native garb....
The breathtakingly beautiful interior design was created by Kalani,"the guy from Hawaii", who is famous for.....


The menu from there is one of my favorites ! I just got this postcard from the South Pacific, that has a few views of the grounds and interior:

[ Edited by: puamana on 2005-02-05 10:10 ]

The South Pacific was in competition with the Mai-Kai. Kern at the Mai-Kai said his mom danced there for awhile, and they appear to have traded bartenders as well.

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff on 2005-03-02 06:47 ]

Here's another shot of the glory that was the South Pacific!

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff 2010-03-08 18:12 ]


I have lived in South Florida for all my 48 years and had never heard of this place before finding three swizzle sticks of the South Pacific this past week at a local antique mall. It was great to see the post cards of it.

[ Edited by: neatjunk 2005-07-17 07:37 ]

[ Edited by: neatjunk 2005-07-17 07:39 ]


Anyone know the years of service of this place. Wonder if it was there in the 70s.

On 2005-02-04 21:13, bigbrotiki wrote:
That's where I crack up each time, that is such a cool title:
Kalani, "the guy from Hawaii"...ouh man :lol:

Kalani was married to Ihilani, who was a performer at the South Pacific. Here is the back cover of her album "Voice of the South Pacific" where the South Pacific Restaurant and the Mai-Kai are mentioned.

Thanks to bellybongo for the album cover scan. Here is his share site with a couple of songs from the album.

...and note the label that released this record, of course! Wonder if they put out any other gems.


Hmm. I don't know. It's difficult to search on "tiki records" because in addition to referring to the specific record company from Miami, that phrase is also used often to refer to exotica records in general. But I take it that this record is the first (and possibly the only) for Tiki Records. Notice the "Vol. 1, No. 1" at the bottom left.

And here's another, but I don't think this is the same Tiki Records:

This has always been one of my favorite Tiki places in Florida from a visual perspective. The graphic illustrations from the South Pacific that are shown in Tiki Modern are some of the nicest I have seen.

I recently picked up an excellent drink menu from the South Pacific Restaurant and have a few other postcards and matchbooks that are not represented on this post yet.

Here is the menu cover and back.

Here are the inside graphics - very cool.

Here are a few more postcards I have showing the exterior and some entertainment.

Here a a couple of matchbooks.

Interesting that the advertising focused on Hollywood Florida even though the restaurant was located in Hallandale.


i remember in the late 90's, drivin south on a1a from mai tiki, headed to fort lauderdale...there is a real cool post modern looking building just south of hollywood florida..the expressway drives right by it and if you look down to the left as you go around the curve there is what was obviously an old tiki place..it looked to be still in operation but i couldn't stop to check it out....there was no way down from the highway at that point to get to it, plus i was unfamiliar with the territory and didn't want to stray too far off my route.....the outer building was clearly googie and this picture from the postcard and matchbooks reminded me of it cause it had that tiki space age look as i recall.....anyone know what the hell i'm talking about?? anyone been to that place??....i don't think it was the south pacific but it was real close in style...


Wow, this place looked amazing. Imagine all that work going into a drive-up entrance. Post WWII Roadside Car Culture at it's finest.
And the interior...damn.

So, where's that damn time machine already ?

This is shaping up to be a real nice thread, Thanks to Mimi for refreshing the images, and DC's new additions. Now if we only could figure out the connection between the "Kabuki"/Maori Tiki on this oracle tower and Bob Lee's Islander menu cover Tiki!

I'm a fan. :)

On 2008-12-27 16:51, Bora Boris wrote:
I'm a fan. :)

...which brings up another logo transference mystery concerning the South Pacific Hallandale:

WHY does the back of that swizzle show the famous shield sign, which was used for so many Tiki temples, but NOT for the South Pacific?

As described in this post (which is incomplete unfortunately, even though the images are only from 2006):


(Answer: the design was probably offered as one of many by the swizzle company)

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-12-27 22:30 ]

On 2008-12-27 16:51, Bora Boris wrote:
I'm a fan. :)

Hmm. So am I.

I have that same swizzle with the shield, Sven. But mine is marked "Polynesian Room Ft. Lauderdale." (Oh. And I believe that the back of Boris' swizzle is blank.)

I recently saw this old "Honeymoon" drink bowl on ebay from the South Pacific.

It is featured in this menu from Mimi's web site.

Interesting that the bowl seems to have disappeared on my menu? Must not have been popular.


Nice close up of that bowl--didn't they use this one at the Aku Aku in Vegas, too, and at the Leilani in Wisconsin?

And the Kowloon in Los Angeles ~

I want a Keg 'O Rum. Has anyone found one of those? I've never seen an actual example.

Swanky posted on Mon, Aug 3, 2009 8:26 AM

DC, your menu pre-dates that one, judging by the prices.

The AKu AKu used an OMC bowl that I think is a bit different from these. Less painted details and more sculpt. I am not 100% sure but I don' tthink this is the Aku Aku fish bowl design.


Your right, my menu is older than Mimi's. I found a couple of photos from the Aku Aku drink menu, looks like a different bowl than the South Pacific one. Did not see anything on Ooga Mooga. Does anybody out there have the Aku Aku version of the fish bowl?



On 2009-08-01 23:43, Kailuageoff wrote:
I want a Keg 'O Rum. Has anyone found one of those? I've never seen an actual example.

My mother found 2 of them today at a flea market in Ohio


Your mom rocks, what a great find. Never seen the real deal before.

I'm assuming you'll be getting one of those?


This awesome postcard mailer just went through a slugfest bidding war on ebay that I sadly did not win.

Really great info on the South Pacific and some rare photos of the interior.

Here is the description on the back of the mailer. Some of the best poly-pop material I have ever seen - the description of the rooms, the drinks, the servers are soo cool.

One side of the mailer with interior photos of the Garden of Seven Pleasures, Luau Room and Bali Hi Room. And Tiki Pug Mom's Keg o' Rum!

The other side of the mailer. The Bloody Mary lounge (South Pacific Movie reference) and the Kauai Lounge.

The amazing thing is that Kimo Captain of the South Pacific is the same bartender from the Mai Kai postcard. Swanky, you got any intel on that connection?

This is a great piece from the South Pacific.


[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2009-09-16 20:51 ]


Sure looks like the same guy. The Mai Kai postcard is very early as it shows the Surf Bar. I would guess early 60s.

Great drink name there, The Miserable....


We just found two of them this past weekend!

One is slightly small than the other. One measured 5 1/2" tall X 6 1/2"
and the other is 6" tall x 7"

Great find!

I think I figured out where the Tiki used by the South Pacific and Bob Lee's originally came from:

I believe it is based on this Maori carving from 1905:

That popular New Zeland Tiki was also used on one of the Matson Line menus.

Here is a rare postcard showing a wide angle view of the exterior that sold on ebay recently.


see thread http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=35135&forum=2&1

DC determined that the SP mug was from SP in arlington, VA, not hallandale, FL.

[ Edited by: johnny dollar 2010-01-11 05:59 ]

Wow, never seen that one! Tell your friend that a friend of yours would like to have one! :D

Bigbro/Johnny Dollar,

I picked up one of those mugs some years ago and always wondered if it was from the South Pacific in Hallandale, FL. That mug is featured on page 88 of Tiki Quest, and Duke also surmised that the mug may have come from the South Pacific.

But, the logo on the mug does not look like the fonts or logos on any of the postcards or menus I have. The image of the mug is not on any of the paper items shown in this post either. I still wonder if this is really where it is from.

Maybe Johnny $ can ask his friend to get a little more history on the mug to solve this mini-mystery.


i'll see if my friend can ask his friend!

Aaah, now I dimly remember there was a discussion about that logo origin here before...I even had something to contribute I think...but now I totally forgot! Might have been in Tiki Finds, which would make it hard to find.

A HA, I solved the mug mystery and the proof was right under my nose. I kept thinking I had seen the SP logo before, then I realized it is from a matchbook in my collection.

Same logo.

The South Pacific restaurant from Arlington, Virginia. I had posted this before on the Hawaiian Village knock-off matchbook thread. Will start a thread on Locating Tiki.


wow! amazing work DC!!!

that address is, i believe, technically "ballston" virginia, and the buildings on that block are more 1980's and 1990's vintage, so the original building is surely long gone.

There was ANOTHER South Pacific Restaurant located in Silver Springs, Maryland.


[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2010-01-10 18:28 ]

Two different South Pacific matchbooks from ebay.

This one seemed to have inspired Don May's Leilani Hut.



OK the South Pacific story keeps going and going. I just won this matchbook from the Sun Wah Imperial Polynesian Restaurant and Gardens on ebay. Why would I post it here, you ask?

Because it is the same location as the South Pacific! I have never heard of this transition before, must have been towards the end of the restaurant.



The back of the Sun Wah matchbook lists another location in Boynton Beach, Fl. Wonder if that one had any Poly Pop going on? Have not heard of it before.


Here is a dinner plate from the South Pacific (not mine unfortunately).

and here is the dinner menu (this one is mine).

The South Pacific in Hallandale was a 'wanna be' of the Mai Kai in Ft. Lauderdale.
From the building to the menus and drinks.
The Keg O' Rum was there version of the Mai Kai Barrel O' Rum.
They also swapped musicians.


I am calling you NB from now on. Again, thanks for sharing all of your Florida history, sound like your have some stories to tell! Would love to hear more about your experiences during the hey-day of Florida tiki and see some family photos.

I came across this menu that confirms the South Pacific morphed into the Sun Wah Imperial, they used the same cover and drink images.


Next on the list of 'wanna be' was the Luau Restaunt on the 79th St Causeway, Miami Beach.
That's where I got my first job playing Polynesian music and being in a show.

A nice early photo of the South Pacific from flickr.

Cool surfboard sign.

Close up of the tower.


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