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Aku-Tiki Room at the Andris Waunee Farm Restaurant, Kewanee, IL (restaurant)

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Name:Aku-Tiki Room at the Andris Waunee Farm Restaurant
Street:2314 US Hwy 34
Phone:(309) 852-2481

A large & beautifully decorated Restaurant & Bar, recently renovated without removing the Tikiness of the place. The walls are covered with murals of the South Pacific, Tropical Volcanos & Wahines, there large Witco pieces and vintage weapons on the walls in every room, vintage lights hanging from the ceiling (including a 3' diameter Puffer Fish lamp hanging over the bar), one room of the bar is completely covered in lava rock with a lava rock fireplace flanked by Tiki poles, Tikis used as rail posts in the Dining Room, and vintage prints of Tapa Cloth images used as panels in the bar.


Fantastic place, with perfect lighting, great architecture and decor, and really good drinks. They go great lengths to make them right. Friendly people, good prices. One of the best. Lots of Witco, Oceanic Arts and some Orchids of Hawii items. Built in 1967 and added to over the years without ever selling out. They are selling in.

"Where paradise meets the cornfield."

Take the highway through Kewaunee and they are on the left a couple of miles out of town. Big sign for Andris Waunee Farm.

Giant Witco fountain

Sunken bar

OA cannibal rail posts

Perfect vintage chairs and upholstery.

[ Edited by: Swanky 2007-05-21 20:24 ]

-Now this is 'livin, folks!

Looks great, guys! And thanks for not using a flash, Swanky.

Swanky posted on Wed, Dec 5, 2007 3:50 PM

Look for my article on the ATR in this issue of Tiki Magazine, and, check out their new website (simple as it is) http://www.akutikicentral.com

In May of 2008, we are having a very special event at the ATR. This place really inspired me and BK. I loved it. We are having an "intimate evening" at the ATR. It will be a night like you may have never experienced. Their design lends itself to a performance in the round. I have been fortunate to have Pablus at my home many times and I wanted to share that experience with you. I have also experience King Kukulele in a small room and in a huge room, and he kills close up. I want everyone to know that man I met at the first Hukilau at Trader Vic's Atlanta in 2002. So, I bring them both together, to do their own special thing, and to work together. I know it will be the sort of evening that you will cherish your whole life... Seriously.

We'll also be having a nice Kustom Kar show out on the grounds and some tiki-geek activities in the ATR. It will be a great time of fellowship. A bus will take you from the ATR to your motel room in Kewaunee. Java will head up pin up contests. Various other bands, etc.

Get to the ATR, and if you need a reason to get you there, plan on the weekend of May 17th, 2008 and Tiki Eyeball!


Sounds great, Tim.

I have been evangelizing the virtues of the ATR (as you call it) since 2001.

Someone emailed the old Tiki Bar Review Pages and told me about this place waaaay back in 1995 or 1996, and it took me until 2001 to make it over there. I figured that a Tiki Bar in a barn on a farm could not possibly be worth the trip - I was definitely wrong.
As soon as I set foot in the place for the first time in 2001, I knew that I had found the last great undiscovered classic Tiki palace (undiscovered, that is, by the Polynesian Pop community).
Off hand, I can't think of any others of similar or superior quality that - at that time - had not been brought to light by either the TBRP, Tiki News, or the old Yahoo TC. I miss that feeling of discovery, now that all of the greats have been discovered and catalogued.

Carol Andris is a really sweet lady (she and Polly Walls from Omni Hut really need to get together - they're spirit sistas). The facelift that Carol gave the place last year brings out the Tiki elements without destroying anything old or classic. The new drink menu is great.

I am so glad that someone is doing an intimate event out there.

My advance 2008 agenda puts me in Japan that week, but I just may consider postponing my trip for a few days!

James, does their website DO anything? I would love to see more shots of their interior. Though I understand that it is a small scale (comparatively) mom'n'pop Tiki place. But it seems to be proof again that not budget, but love and a feel for the subject matter are more important.
What a great story that the owner was inspired by a Mexican Tiki haven that was clearly inspired by American precedents:

"The current owner, Glen Andris, purchased the building in 1953. Shortly afterwards, Glen began his annual winter trips to Acapulco. When there, he would visit a tiki bar which provided the inspiration for the Tiki Room, which was added to the Andris-Waunee Farm in 1967."

Jeff posted a great record cover from there

in his fantastic restaurant record thread,

...and on page 99 of TIKI MODERN you will find the menu cover from the Acapulco Aku Tiki. Must have been quite a place.

Friends, as mentioned in my "Safari" thread, my e-mail is STILL down! If need be, please contact me via the "personal message" feature here on Tiki Central, non-members can sign up easily to use it!

Swanky posted on Sun, Dec 9, 2007 1:14 PM

Hey BigBro, thanks for reminding me. I put that site up in a hurry. I just added a bunch of pictures of the place so you can see it all. They seat about 150, so, its not so small as you imagine.


Very sad news - owner Glen Andris has died.

Bartender Tom has told me that Glen actually died a month ago, and that Carol is deciding what she will do in the future.
It is unknown if she will keep the Aku Tiki Room open.

I suggest that anyone able to get out there should do so.
Give Carol your condolences, and support this farmland Tiki treasure.

With the severe illness of James Zuziak at Tiki Terrace and the death of Hala Kahiki owner Sonny, this is a dark time for Illinois Tiki!

From the Star-Courier:

Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2007 9:02 AM CST

Glen Andris — a man whose heart was in his business, and it showed

By Dave Clarke of the Star Courier

The place isn’t the same without him, yet the place is the same without him.

I stopped by the Andris Waunee Farm for supper last Friday night. In part, because I felt the need for a good steak, but also to just be there, to pay respect, in a way, to the man who built the place — Glen Andris — who died the day before in a Peoria hospital.

Glen hadn’t been in his usual seat at the end of the Aku Tiki Room bar for several weeks, fighting an infection following heart surgery but, even at 91, everyone thought (prayed) he would be back. He won’t. And, without his physical presence, the landmark restaurant that bears his name just won’t seem the same.

Though he is not there in body, he is certainly there through the eternal presence of his spirit.

Although many hearts were undoubtedly heavy Friday night, the staff carried on, as Glen would have wanted, and the place was crowded and buzzing as usual. Smiling hostess Pam Berlin greeted and seated guests, kitchen, dining room and bar staff went about their assigned tasks. It was almost like they knew Glen was watching to make sure they didn’t let his customers down.

Friends stopped by tables to talk with friends. There was a constant level of chatter mixed with laughter and tinkling glassware. Elsewhere in the building, the American Legions from Bradford, Wyoming, Toulon and LaFayette were holding a banquet.

It was the usual busy Friday night at the Waunee Farm.

As Kewanee’s oldest businessman, Glen lived for his customers, his employees, and his family (yes, including the dogs).

In an interview he once told me how, as a teenager, he learned how to cook his trademark steaks from his mother when she ran a steakhouse on the south edge of Kewanee. When he took over the Waunee Farm, more than 50 years ago, it was little more than a roadhouse with gas pumps next to a horse barn.

Over the years, Glen kept adding onto the building and built up a business and reputation for good food and service that people drove for hours to enjoy.

He was generous to a fault and would help anyone in need. “Glen never turned me down once,” said Ted Vlahos as he and his wife, Penny, and the Phil Milers walked in the door ahead of me Friday night. “Whether it was United Way, Chamber of Commerce, KEDC, whatever, he never said no.”

The Kewanee YMCA now has the Glen Andris Tumbling and Trampoline Center after Andris donated the funds for it to be built several years ago.

He also never forgot who really made the money around the place — the employees. As I sat in a booth carving my English prime rib (which Glen would have been glad to hear was just as good as if he’d cooked it himself) the woman refilling the salad bar next to me leaned over and said “You know, every day when I met him here at work, Glen would give me a piece of candy and tell me how much he appreciated the job I did.”

Glen loved people and loved talking to them — sometimes late into the night.

One of the last conversations I had with him was just after I did a column about the old Kewanee fairgrounds on East Third Street.

Glen recalled how previous Waunee Farm owner Grover Zang once told him that he hauled lumber from the grandstand and exhibit and livestock barns at the fairgounds to his property south of town between 1930 and 1932 to build the existing barn, crib and the original restaurant.

People looking for a great meal, or a place to meet, will still find their way to the Andris Waunee Farm, whether Glen is there in person, or not. Wife Carol and the staff will see to it that the warm, friendly atmosphere and good dining are still to be found because even though he’s not there in person, the spirit of Glen Andris will always be a part of the place that is the Waunee Farm.


Sad. I had talked to Carol a while ago when he was in the hospital and was planning to talk to her this weekend and see how he was.

I think that the place might be closed..

I just read today about the owners passing so, I called to see if they are still open and the number (309) 852-2481, is disconnected.

I'm hoping that maybe its just a glitch or something with the phone. If anyone has any news please post it and let us all know.


I just got off the phone with Carol. The ATR is closed.


This was a TRULY fantastic place. You really missed out if you never saw it. My top 5, if not top 3.

Tiki Calendar for 2008

[ Edited by: swanky 2008-01-12 10:14 ]

Bummer :(

It was such a fantastic place. I was just up there with my wife, brother and a friend. We all remarked how it seemed like when you walked through the door you were stepping back in time.

Aku Tiki Room thanks for the memories, you will be missed.

This is very, very sad news. Hearing about the loss of her husband I deeply understand what may motivate Carol. But The Aku Tiki Room was one of the last true remaining golden age Polynesian restaurants/bars of it's kind in the northeast. The photos scarcely do it justice. Hospitality alone placed it in my top five, not to mention the exacting care and standards Tom, Carol, and Bonita kept for their true-to the age tropical drinks. It was one of the most amazingly well preserved little tiki time capsules I had ever encountered. A real treasure. Carol bought and hung one of my Marquesan Plaques there last year; a real honor for me, and I had just been tapped and designed an Aku Tiki Room mug for them. It's just plain sad it will never hold one of those fantastic drinks. Aloha, Andris Waunee Farm/Aku Tiki Room.

I have many fond memories of the Aku Room.I'll miss the great drinks and hanging out at the bar with the twins.
One of my most favorite nights was when Carol took us on a private tour after hours a couple of winters ago.

It might be freezing cold and snowing outside, but inside the Andris's and staff made sure that when you walked through the doors you felt transported to some far away tropical shore.


[ Edited by: exotica59 2008-01-13 17:15 ]


Another view of the back side of the bar. Nice to see nipple there...

Outrigger hangs above.

These shell lamps are huge.

Aloha to the "Tiki Twins". If you didn't see my article in Tiki Mag, these two worked there from age, what, 15? Their Mom worked there before them and brought them on board.

swanky, please keep me posted about the may event. i live 2 and a half hours away, and me and the wahine missed the last years events due to us expecting. our daughter will be one by then, and has already survived exotica, so should be good to go. we cant wait, as we've made plans to go out there no less than 5 times over the past 5 years , and every time something has come up (car broke down,snow storm,closed for renovations,pregnancy,couple that were supposed to join us bailed,dog sitter bailed). this is far enough in advance where we can really plan this trip.


On 2008-01-16 15:56, hala bullhiki wrote:
swanky, please keep me posted about the may event. i live 2 and a half hours away, and me and the wahine missed the last years events due to us expecting. our daughter will be one by then, and has already survived exotica, so should be good to go. we cant wait, as we've made plans to go out there no less than 5 times over the past 5 years , and every time something has come up (car broke down,snow storm,closed for renovations,pregnancy,couple that were supposed to join us bailed,dog sitter bailed). this is far enough in advance where we can really plan this trip.

Cancelled. You are too late. Aku Tiki Room is closed for good now.

I think you should take it over and run it.

what? how?when? are you kidding me????????? this is devastating. didnt they just do the remodel from 05-06? please tell me what happened.

[ Edited by: hala bullhiki 2008-01-16 22:24 ]


Wish I could transplant it here. It's an incredible place. In a bigger city and with a little bit more "stuff" in it, it would be awesome. I was very much looking forward to seeing King Kuku and Pablus playing in the round in the open area above the bar. I think it would have been magical...

Hala, the man who built the place passed away in December. They were just open two nights a week as it was and when Glen died, they just decided to let go of it. It was thbe last room left of a bar and restaurant complex that once served 1000+ people a night with 4 bars and 4 bands a night. It used to be a heavy tourist area and it all just dwindled to the locals. I think it stayed open out of a certain sentimentality at this point.


One thing I never said and certainly didn't put in the Tiki Mag article is that Tom, the head bartender was ordering the Demerera rum (El Dorado 12 year) online. It was no longer available through any distributor there in the area. So, to keep making the cocktails true to their recipes, he was having the booze shipped to a friend and brought over the state line to him. That's going the extra mile! Incredible drinks you guys will not get to try now... And they had some nice vintage Lemon Hart bottles from before. Th eLemon Hart just got too hard to find. I sent him a place to order it after we visited last year.

This is a real Tiki tragedy. I'm just glad we made it out there for the Tiki Eyeball event to see it at least once. Swanky's right, though, it isn't really viable in that location.

On 2007-12-31 09:45, tikibars wrote:
this is a dark time for Illinois Tiki!

Yep. I also happened to drive by the site of Cirals' House of Tiki the other day to see nothing but construction fencing and scorched earth.


On 2008-01-21 08:47, Tonga Trader wrote:
I also happened to drive by the site of Cirals' House of Tiki the other day to see nothing but construction fencing and scorched earth.

It is amazing though, that their truly classic neon sign stayed up for like 5 or 6 years after they closed. Every day that the sign remained was a little gift to us all.

In the local paper last weekend. Auction for tiki memorabilia June 16(?), restaurant supplies 23rd, and then building will be demolished. Will be a sad day.

From a couple that spent many Friday nights, sitting with Tom and Venitta, and throwing back a few Anchor Steams, we really miss this place. Thanks for the friendships and memories. RIP Aku Tiki.

Damn. My old man took his prom date there. I have family in the area, and had looked forward to visiting the Aku Tiki Room on my next visit. Oh well.

dwig posted on Wed, Jan 23, 2008 9:12 AM

I just wanted to post a few words about growing up in the Aku Tiki room. My brother and I were fortunate enough to call the 'Farm' home for much of our childhood. The place remains one of my most endearing childhood memories.

We knew the 'Farm' from when Glen still lived in the little red house attached to the restaurant and were there when the new home was built.

The restaurant had distinct stages for my brother and and I, and my mother as well.

Very young, the Aku-Tiki room was a place that held a mystique. It had smells that I can still recall today.

The actual tikis scared the hell out of us and were a vivid part of our nightmares and were places where army men and matchbox cars would wind up. More than once we were scolded for leaving them in the mouth or in the displays.

Being little tykes, we were always 'exploring' the place. The bar in the tiki room always had a presence to it. You could feel it. The rubber mats behind the bar were usually just on the sticky side from the fountain sodas and in those days a lingering smell of smoke permeated. The real neat thing was the UV lights, the tikis and that room in particular when there was nobody there. It was spooky quiet except for the sound of the water coming out of the mouth of that tiki.

We used to pull out that wonderful toast garlic bread like candy and watch 'the boy's' making those wonderful steaks. The buffet was always a treat as well.

I had my first dance there (older girls from weddings :wink: ) stole a few kisses from when I worked there in my teens visiting and it is so much a part of my childhoold from birth to my early twenties that it pains me to see it go.

When I would visit, Glen would always pinch my gut (even if I was in great shape and I usually was) to make sure I was taking care of myself. He had a great sense of humor and will be sorely missed.

I do have to say that the 'Farm' was always a great place because of the people who worked there. It has always been a reflection of the combination of personalities that were involved and had stages of life like any person.

Carol, I plan to visit next time I am in town. I hope you and your family are doing well.

That phone number is iconic. "Andris Wa-nee faaarm, may I help you"

[ Edited by: dwig 2008-01-23 09:28 ]

The tiki auction is June 15. That raises an interesting conundrum: whether to haul up to Kewanee for the auction or fly out to Ft. Lauderdale for Hukilau. Decisions, decisions...

Well the sad news sucks. I was just reading the article in Tiki MAG IT looked and sounded like a fun place. When the auction rolls around might be a fun trip - also wondering if anything will go on line auction? Or if its a show up and walk away thing? Some awesome pieces in there from lamps to fences! thanks for postin, writin and tryin to do an event there Swanky.

[ Edited by: sneakyjack 2008-02-01 09:05 ]


I called Carol and suggested she think about a different weekend for the auction. I'm sure it will not be online. We'll see.

june 15th sounds good....you folks go to hukilau....and i will go to the auction!! i'll let you know how it pans out and post pics of all the cool stuff i buy....

Vultures! Hyenas, you all ! These things should not be discussed before the end of the customary mourning period associated with the loss of an authentic Tiki lounge!

I just made that up, there is no such thing, a customary mourning period....though there SHOULD be ! :)

..no better way to celebrate a tiki temple that has fallen than to add it's relics to your own tiki temple so that the spirit of the original bar lives on in your modern lounge....

..it'e either that or the stuff goes to a landfill....now you tell me which is more honorable...

besides, it's a long time till june .....that leaves a few months more of mourning left to do....i'd say that's more than sufficient.....

[ Edited by: Tipsy McStagger 2008-01-31 15:17 ]

..but you were THINKING about it now! :wink:


On 2008-01-23 09:12, dwig wrote:
I just wanted to post a few words about growing up in the Aku Tiki room. My brother and I were fortunate enough to call the 'Farm' home for much of our childhood. The place remains one of my most endearing childhood memories.............

You could go on for days like that, talking story about back in the day, the smells, the troubles with army men and matchbox cars, the mystique, the nightmares, the 'presence', etc. If you wrote a book on it I would suggest it being no shorter than several thousand pages and many of us would read it through, again and again.....it's that kind of personal experience (though not that intense for alot of us) that is the reason many of us wind up here at TC. Thank you for taking me back to where you once were, sounds like a wonderful place to have explored as a child...and as an adult.

On 2008-01-31 16:29, bigbrotiki wrote:
..but you were THINKING about it now! :wink:

..gotta plan ahead!!

Try and break out of the gloom. Distract yourself by getting us an update on the Trader Vics re-opening up there.

Hmmmm, Chicago Trader Vic's opening, other Illinois Tiki places closing or in peril... coincidence or conspiracy?


Conspiracy, definitely. The people following me were whispering about it at the supermarket.

Gaaaah! I tried to go in October but wasn't able to since my Mother-in-Law & Sister-in-Law didn't want to stop. No more delicious Home-Style Fried Chicken & Mai Tais. :(


I loved that Henny Penny chicken...

see you in june tipsy

On 2008-02-04 16:07, hala bullhiki wrote:
see you in june tipsy

bring a fat wallet!!

im taking out a second mortgage on the house....lol

Swanky posted on Tue, Feb 5, 2008 6:08 AM

I'm sending my people. Looking for scraps... I gotta have a piece of that place in my bar.

On 2008-02-05 06:08, Swanky wrote:
I'm sending my people. Looking for scraps... I gotta have a piece of that place in my bar.

i'll get you something swanky....i don't mind helping you out if ya can't make it...just p.m. me what you were interested in and what your price limit is....

..i know!! i'll get you that giant puffer fish you had your eye on that was hanging above the bar!

[ Edited by: tipsy mcstagger 2008-02-05 10:49 ]

Carol had an appreciation dinner for former employees and loyal patrons last Saturday. Great time, good to see Tom and Venetta back behind the bar. Sadly missing Aku Tiki though. She said something about possibly rebuilding down the road.

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