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Pago Pago Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge, Tucson, AZ (restaurant)

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Name:Pago Pago Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge
Street:2201 Oracle Road

This ashtray just sold on EBay for what is to me a rather insane amount of money...


But on the other hand, Col. Batguano (a Strangelove fan! You rule!) may have a point. I've done several exhaustive TC searches and find no mention of this place. Please pardon me if I missed it--I tried alternative spellings galore, etc.

Here's the picture:

I know exactly where it is as I once stayed at a (Tiki, natch) motel several blocks up the street. When I look the address up, it's now a fabric and textile graphic design joint. So, no more Pago Pago. I also note that the street's evidently grown a lot, since there's now a North Oracle designation, but back when this ashtray was made it was just Oracle Street, period.

Anyone know anything else about this place? I like the pic on the ashtray. I'm sorry it wasn't still there when I was in Tucson, but hey, at least I got to visit the Kon-Tiki, which is marvelous, by the way--painted tikis and all :).

Here's a link to


(edited to fix image...)

[ Edited by: tikivixen 2005-09-11 11:59 ]

...and no, I can't find it in Critiki either! hmmm.

i've seen some paper goods from pago pago before. it is rare and the menu went for quite a bit as well.

however i'm not sure but i think there is more than one pago pago. this one and one somewhere in california.

Bob and Leroy know a lot about this place, they supplied a lot of stuff for it, and took some back when it closed. They were selling a bunch of their old beaten up lamps for a while...it went thru some name changes I think.
...hmm, what else...oh yeah, there are some nice "raised breasts" matches from it...that I remember!


Looks like another Pago Pago menu was up on ebay, and ended recently, for the very decent price of $8.50. Unfortunately I missed it, and only found the auction tonight.

Pago Pago menu on ebay

And a re-host of the picture in the auction, plus the description:

"This auction is for an authentic vintage menu. This menu is from Pago Pago's Polynesian Dining Room. It was operated by Jack Holcombe and located at 2201 N. Oracle Road in Tucson, Arizona. Menu is a single sheet folded once to make four pages. Menu is not dated but appears to be from 1950's or early 1960's. It measures 8-1/2" x 11" as folded. Covers and interiors have stained area at upper left. Covers show very light soiling and light edge wear. Menu is overall in good used condition. "


[ Edited by: Kona Chris 2006-09-05 02:57 ]


I am the buyer of the Pago Pago Menu on Ebay. Great Vintage piece from a place that unfortunatly does operate any longer. The location is now Starbuck Design, a promotional products company. Oracle Road in Tucson has become a little seedy in places and has lots of cheap motels etc.... Anyway I love collecting this stuff. Mahalo!



[ Edited by: bifcozz 2007-02-09 21:48 ]


Picked up this Pago-Pago menu recently. Lots of drinks and prices plus pics of the two owners. It is about 8 x 11 and double sided.

Good cocktail name on the menu - "Between The Sheets." I'd guess that was considered a pretty racy name for that time, and for some, part of the fun of going to that establishment was ordering "naughty" drinks. I love it!


Great score on that menu! There a bunch more images for Tucson's Pago-Pago in Critiki: Link to the Pago-Pago entry in Critiki

Re: Between the Sheets, isn't that a funny & unexpected cocktail name for the era? It's actually a very good drink, I made a blog post about it a while back, it in turn has links to some friends who have their own informative blog posts about Between the Sheets: Link to Between the Sheets on the Trottomatic blog

Love to see the prices too!!!

Thanks, humuhumu, I didn't think of looking up "Between The Sheets." But now that you've brought it up, I'm gonna make it tomorrow. What better way to get ready for Memorial Day? I found the permanent link on the Trottomatic blog is:


Cheers and mahalo to you!

On 2014-05-24 18:40, ukutiki wrote:
Picked up this Pago-Pago menu recently. Lots of drinks and prices plus pics of the two owners. It is about 8 x 11 and double sided.

Cool menu. Bob and Homer stole the menu layout from the famous three monkey drink menu used the Tropics in Beverly Hills.

Speaking of Bob and Homer, here is a postcard from my collection showing the rather frumpy looking hosts at the Pago Pago.

Bob and Homer were then replaced by "Phil"



Dusty...Thanks for the info. I admit Bob and Homer look frumpy but Phil looks just plain mean


Here's a good sized hanging lamp from Pago Pago which now resides at Oceanic Arts in Whittier. I would think that the lamp dates to late 50's, early 60's "TIKI", rather than the 40's "Pre-TIKI" look of both DC's postcard and Ukutiki's menu.

A Frame,

That Pago Pago lamp looks inspirational!!

The Tropics menu was not the only image "borrowed" by Bob and Homer for the Pago Pago. They also appropriated this Trader Vic's menu rather unabashedly!


Interesting note on the "borrowing" of artwork from others. I'm thinking that this was done back then because they didn't have access to an "internet" full of material like we have today. So both inspiration for, and creation of, materials was done by plagiarism more frequently back then than it is today. Getting away with doing it was probably also much easier, and I'm guessing that the copyright laws weren't as strong back then either.

A few different match-covers I spotted from the Pago Pago in Tuscon with some nice graphics.

Interesting to note the address on the matchbox was listed as 2201 Miracle Mile - which was a name given to the main drag streets of Oracle Road, Miracle Mile and Drachman Street.

Also found a nice old photo of the exterior and the sign.




I am doing research about retro restaurants in Tucson and came across this forum. I would love to actually talk with someone who worked at the Pago Pago or Aku Aku or any other Dean Short Restaurant. in person, by email or phone.

The Pago Pago became the Aku Aku in 1966 as evidenced by this newspaper ad. It was a sister restaurant to the Kon Tiki in Tucson.


New year's eve celebration in 1966

The one year anniversary of the Aku Aku from 1967.

Then fire strikes in 1967, doing significant damage to the building.

An all to familiar story.


A little more history on the original Pago Pago building and its transformation over time. As discussed above, it became the Aku Aku which was owned by famous Tucson restaurateur Dean Short (he also owned the Kon Tiki). In 1968, Short reopened the burned out Aku Aku under the new name of Ports o Call. It was billed as a mix of Nautical and Polynesian styles.

In 1980 Short sold the restaurant to Chul Chung and it became Bali Hai, retaining its Polynesian decorations.

Nice Tiki devolution statement in the article: As hokey as it may sound, its actually pretty nice Tiki with toned down Gilligan's Island Muzak.

It only lasted a few years. In 1982 Dean Short bought it back from Chung and it became a Rib place called 22 Hundred.

What’s really amazing is that the bones of the old building can still be seen on Google Street view, albeit with a modern stucco twist. The street changed names from Miracle Mile to Oracle in 1987.

Now, if we could just pull of a Tiki Bob's - Pagan Idol historical morph one more time!


Incredible, it seems Mr. Short copied both of Steve Crane's names - Kon Tiki and also Ports o Call. I wonder how this worked out as I was under the impression that Steve Crane had to either get original permission or pay some royalty to use the Kon Tiki name, and one would think he would have registered the Ports O Call name. Maybe in Arizona there was different copyright laws...but it seems an obvious attempt to play off the success of Mr. Cranes restaurants even though there was no connection that I know of between the two men.

A little more early history on the Pago Pago. It opened on May 5, 1949 and was owned by Bob and Homer. They even used Sugies Tropic's monkeys for the newspaper ad. Interesting that the roadway was called Oracle and not Miracle Mile Strip.

At some point Phil Kessler bought it from Bob and homer.

Phil sold it to AG Bleakley in 1954.

Around 1966 Dean Short took it over and introduced the Mystery Girl serving the Mystery Drink. Wonder where he got that idea from?

Short changed the name to the Aku Aku in October of 1966.


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