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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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Name:Polynesian
Type:restaurant
Street:333 Fishermans Wharf
City:Redondo Beach
State:CA
Zip:
country:USA
Phone:
Status:defunct

Description:
One of three tiki bars on the Redondo Beach Pier during the 1960s-70s. Haven't found much info, other than the items photographed below.

[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2006-01-27 12:16 ]

During the 1960s and 1970s, there were two actual tiki bars on the Redondo Beach Pier - the Polynesian, and the Lahani Haloha. There was (and is) also Tony's On The Pier which has a great, beachcomber-decorated crow's nest, and serves Mai Tais in signature glasses. You also had Beachbum Burt's in King Harbor, within spitting distance.

Note: This is not the Polynesian that later became the Latitude 20, just a few miles away in Torrance. Doctor Z and I vaguely remember the Polynesian when we were younger. Doctor Z's mom actually went there. It was upstairs and I think it was above the shell shop on the North end of the pier, but I'm not sure.

I just picked up an old snapshot of the building on eBay. That prompted this post, since I now have three items from this restaurant - a photo, a matchbook, and a double-rocks glass.

:down: The sign on the side of the building reads, "American - Polynesian Food. Cocktails. Lunch. Dinner."

:down: Note the seagulls on the sign and the skylights and shingles whitewhashed with guano.

:down: The matchbook

:down: And the glass. The glasses from all the establishments in Redondo seem to be made by the same manufacturer. They are all the same size and most have palm trees on them, including Tony's, Beachbum Burt's, Castagnola's Lobster House, and this one.


Does anyone else have memories of the Polynesian on the pier?

Sabu

(Sabu, you should remember this.)

Was the Polynesian one of the restaurants destroyed when a section of the pier burned down in 1988?

I remember the Polynesian - do I ever! Had tall stacks of those drink glasses, every Mai Tai that once filled those glasses was great. By the time I hit my 21st Birthday, they knew me by my first name in there. :) Great fun, loved the drinks and food on the pier. Thanks for the memories. Wonder where my glasses went?
:)

I found some different matchbooks from The Polynesian this weekend at a garage sale:

In answer to cynfulcynner's question above, I talked to the manager of Old Tony's on the pier and he confirmed that The Polynesian burned down in the fire. By then it was no longer named the Polynesian though. I've already lost the paper with the name he gave me so I may have to ask again.

Sabu,
I would love to find out which place had taken over for the Polynesian. I spent much of my childhood on that pier, a lot of hours clocked at the huge old arcade. I have wondered if there had ever been any polynesian themed bars or restaurants there because the location is perfect. Thanks for posting this.

There also was this giant Barney West Tiki on that pier:

I tried to keep an eye on it, but it disappeared. It was put there for Helen Yue's restaurant:

If I'm not mistaken, the Redondo Fun Factory used to be home to another faux polynesian bar for a short time. I haven't any clues,nor have I seen any souveniers from there, but my parents swear by it, since they met there! It was also a cowboyish/dive bar(?) at one time with sawdust/and or peanut shells covering the floor. Next time I'm over that area, I'll take a picture of where that Barney West tiki used to once stand proudly.

TS

Well...
A long story short...I went in search of information from the Polynesia. I went to the Redondo Beach Library- Main Branch, went through microfilm of old newspapers, and didnt turn up anything. I had the Librarians help me search for the information...anything, and came up with nothing. Well not completely nothing...Redondo used to host a fair called Luau Days in the mid 60s. The Librarians were very helpful and seemed enthused to try and help me on my quest. Anyhow, I walked next door to city hall, which was completely useless, thinking that I could dig up old business records. Come to find out they usually don't keep defunct business records over 5 years. So I'll be calling the Daily Breeze newspaper Librarian this week, and see if I can discover any polynesian/tiki bar info that was located on the pier, and repost here.

TS

I found some details. Here are retyped articles found by the librarian of the Daily Breeze, who so graciously scanned copies for me..(Thanks Sam!)
The first article dates March 8,1962:
RESTAURANT SET FOR KING HARBOR
A South Sea atmosphere will prevail at Redondo Beach King Harbor wit the completion of a Polynesian restaurant this spring.
Gordon McRae, president of Redondo Pleasure Fishing Inc., said the restaurant, to be built on the north horseshoe section of the pier, will be opened by June 13th.
Cost of the 200 foot long building has been placed at more than $150,000.00.
Pilings Inspected
Skindivers from Dive n' Surf Co., Redondo Beach, began inspecting the pilings yesterday. McRae said pilings will be replaced if skindivers discover any damage to the existing ones.
The building also will house a cocktail lounge, dress, sport and marine supply shops and a seafood cocktail bar.
Overhang Slated
An overhang will be built for fishermen at the north side of the pier, McRae said.
Windows from the floor to the ceiling will face the harbor. Seating capacity will be at least 150, he said.
Corwin Eberting Jr., a Redondo Beach Architect, is designing the building. McRae said the corporation will continue with other buildings after the restaurant is completed.
Shops Slated
Plans call for shops to be constructed on the west side of the downtown lagoon.
Steps will be constructed at the north edge of the pier, linking the shopping area with the restaurant, McRae said. Ralph and Daniel Mohr will be the managers of the building.
End of March 8th, 1962 article**

Begin January 31, 1963************
Pier Project
First phase of a half-million dollar prject on Redondo Beach Horseshoe pier will be finished by May 15th.
Ralph Mohr, president of Pier Properties Ltd., wich has leased the pier from the city, said the first business to open will be Polynesian style restaurant.
The restaurant and cocktail lounge will be on the norht section of the pier. the restaurant is under construction.
Mohr said the restaurant will offer a view of King Harbor, especially where boats enter and leave the harbor.
Four Shops
With the restaurant project, four shops are being constructed. The shop buildings will house gift shops, a snack bar, and a sports shop. The restaurant will be 20 feet above the water, and it will seat 175 persons. Estimated cost of the project is estimated at $250,000. Pier Properties Ltd, has a 66 year lease on the city pier.
Its goal is to develop the pier into a "Fishermans Wharf" type development such as exists at Monterey and San Francisco.
Motel on the Pier
On the center section of the pier, Mohr plans a motel, which he believes will be the only one on a pier in the Country. On a small finger of the pier, another restaurant and cocktail lounge will be constructed.
On the south section, the present buildings will remain, but will be remodeled. City councilmen last week approved plans for remodeling of Tony's restaurant. The project started yesterday. A fast service sandwich shop also is planned for the south section of the pier.
End of Jan 31,1963 Article*******
I'll have an image to scan in tomorrow, and a snipit advertising the Grand Opening over 6 years later! Stay posted!

Very cool Tom, it looks like Corwin Eberting Jr. still designing cool stuff.

TS

Nice Find Boris! The story thickens! I might have to give Mr. Eberting a call and see if he knows/remembers the stories, and the Polynesian restaurant! So we now know that the southside of the pier (aka Horseshoe area)in essence was completely designed by Corwin. The Southernmost portion still holds a newer Irish bar, a concert venue below that, a souveneir shop and pick a pearl store...Also an El Torito, and a fish/fast food market area, furthest west on that section of the pier. the buildings on that side are all his style. Compare these:



to his picture from his website:

TS

Here is what I promised. It came out ugly when I scanned it, due to the pixelation of the article, so I took a photo.

In case you cant read the picture:
March 12,1969
Putting on the finishing touches isn't always easy. It took a helicopter to fly in a 40 foot sign to the top of the new restaurant at Redondo Horseshoe Pier. The Polynesian is opposite Castagnola's Restaurant.

And the final snipit from April 9th, 1969:
REDONDO FESTIVAL PLANNED
Merchants of the Redondo Fishermans Wharf will hold a 3-day festival April 11 through 13 to celebrate the opening of the Polynesian Restaurant on the municiple pier.
The celebration will feature an 8 piece mariachi band, the distribution of 6,000 helium filled balloons by Miss Bikini, Miss Surfer, Miss Hot Rod, and Bozo the Clown. The Restaurant will offer typical South Sea Cuisine and a variety of Hawaiian Cocktails.

Now my questions and curiousities are:

  1. Why did it take just over 6 years to complete, when it was supposed to open in 1963?
  2. Up until what year was the Polynesian open and running?
  3. Was it the pier fire, or the fierce storms of the 80's that destroyed the Polynesian?
  4. Where the hell did Bozo the Clown fit in all this!? :lol:

This is all of the research I could dig up and find. I'd like to know if they had OMC mugs as well as the above screened glass, which I have been looking for to add to the collection....Stuff from this place is extremely rare due to the Restaurant being engulfed in flames and finally falling off into the ocean. I wonder if anything like the barware was recovered?

[ Edited by: Tom Slick 2008-11-07 11:08 ]

I talked to some of the old-timers who work at Tony's On The Pier. The Polynesian was later renamed "The Edge" some time in the 1970s, and later burned down, as we know, in the pier fire.

Here's a tiny eBay picture showing a matchbook from The Edge:

The other place on the pier that Tom Slick remembers, with the peanut-shells on the floor, aquariums, and all sorts of flotsam & jetsom on the walls, was called The Sea Inn. Doctor Z remembers this place a lot better than I do.

Sabu

T

I love the Redondo Pier. I really hope that they don't "update" it too much. It still has alot of funky old 70's Charm.

Must've been great with the Polynesian there tho'.

On 2008-11-07 09:05, Tom Slick wrote:
The celebration will feature an 8 piece mariachi band,...Miss Bikini, Miss Surfer, Miss Hot Rod, and Bozo the Clown. The Restaurant will offer typical South Sea Cuisine and a variety of Hawaiian Cocktails.

Indeed, what a line up. Talk about Polynesian POP! I so wanna see photos of that.
That last line already kinda seems to reflect the jaded attitude towards Tiki beginning in the late 60s: "Typical" South Sea Cuisine! How original!

TS

Sabu, you are right again! I found out through my parents that the Redondo Fun Factory was once an enormous bar where they encouraged you to throw your shells on the floor after eating the peanuts. This is where I became the twinkle in pops eye! haha, My parents met at the Sea Inn for the second time, after briefly brushing into eachother at the "Brothers 3" also formally known as the Tiki Kai on Redondo Beach Blvd in Lawndale. My parents told me the Brothers 3 remained faux polynesian, after the sale of Tiki Kai...Great stuff!
:D

BigBro, I would be curious to see photos of Bozo, Ms. Surfer and the rest of the Muscle Beach Party cast at the Grand Opening of The Polynesian! :lol:

Picked up a matchbook from the Polynesian Restaurant on the Redondo Pier.

I also have a matchbook from the Yue's restaurant in Gardena, but have never seen one for the Yue's on the Pier. How many locations did Helen Yue have?

DC

[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2009-05-05 12:10 ]

Just got this cool postcard showing the Fisherman's Village area of the Redondo Pier.

You can see Tony's and the Hawaiian Shop.

Also got one of those great matchbooks with the rendering of the Polynesian building and the Tiki.

DC

found these at an estate sale and put them on ebay today.....and on my etsy site today i listed three tony's fish market rocks glasses from this same location i believe...


" In a perfect world...Elvis would still be alive ....and all the elvis impersonators would be dead!!"

[ Edited by: Tipsy McStagger 2009-09-26 14:04 ]

Hello, googled Mishima's and Helen Yue's and found this website.

I grew up in So. Calif. and these two restaurants were my all-time favorites in the late 70's.

Mishimas served the best frog's legs with tartar sauce. I ate dinner there on my graduation night (high school) and had a singapore sling. I had to be carried out later... lol

Helen Yue's had a bridge that went over a koi pond upon entering the restaurant. I believe it was on Rosecrans Avenue.

Anyways, does anyone know if Helen Yue is still alive?

[ Edited by: MishimasLover 2009-11-16 20:45 ]

TS

On 2009-05-05 11:24, Dustycajun wrote:

I also have a matchbook from the Yue's restaurant in Gardena, but have never seen one for the Yue's on the Pier. How many locations did Helen Yue have?

DC

Here is a shoddy drive by photo of Yues Gardena current status

"Giovannis" catering and Banquet hall.

Spotted this old photo slide of the Polynesian Restaurant on the Redondo Pier.

Wonder what happened to the Redondo bad luck Tiki that was scheduled to be resurrected?

http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=41150&forum=1&start=15&hilite=redondo%20tiki

DC

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