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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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Name:Lee's Hawaiian Islander, Lyndhurst, NJ
Type:restaurant
Street:768 Stuyvesant Ave
City:Lyndhurst
State:NJ
Zip: 07071
country:USA
Phone:(201) 939-3777
Status:operational

Description:
Lee's is a huge, orange-painted cavernous building with no windows, hiding the Tiki and Hawaiian paradise inside. This Polynesian restaurant dating back to the early 1970's serves both "Polynesian" flaming food specialties as well as traditional Chinese American fare, expertly prepared. The other Lee's location in Clifton closed due to a fire in 2003.

So, for lack of a better description, I didn’t get enough umbrella drinks and expertly prepared bad American Chinese food this week (we ate at Chan's Dragon Inn in Ridgefield on Friday) so Sunday night we went to North Jersey’s other Polynesian throwback, Lee’s Hawaiian Islander in Lyndhust.

Lee’s is a huge orange painted building with no windows that dates back 30 years.

The Tiki Bar.

The ceilings at Lee’s are at least 18 feet tall, probably closer to 20. A Polynesian outrigger boat filled with fake Hawaiian orchids and stuffed exotic birds is suspended from the ceiling.

The drink menu. Unlike other Polynesian restaurants I have visited previously, these drinks defy description. I guess they are so classic that everyone should know what they are and what’s mixed in them, but you could always ask.

A Mai Tai (left) and a Zombie (right). The Zombie appears to differ from the Mai Tai in that it has probably 4x the amount of alcohol in it.

Zombie Closeup.

Zombie after-effects.

Pu Pu Platter, the classic.

Young Chow Fried Rice

Sweet and Sour Pork. Yeah, I know, totally gwai-lo, so sue me.

Along with Shrimp with Lobster Sauce, Egg Foo Young is also a benchmark Chinese-Am dish for me, so I order it at pretty much every place I visit that specializes in that type of food. Lee’s is excellent — the gravy doesn’t taste like uncooked flour or overly grease laden and the egg patties are perfectly cooked.

[ Edited by: Jason Perlow 2006-07-10 09:26 ]

[ Edited by: Jason Perlow 2006-07-11 08:55 ]

R

Thanks for the pics Jason!

I have been to the Lee's in Clifton a few years ago and wasn't that impressed. For some reason, this location looks a lot more appetizing.

PS - I look forward to your posts on egullet also

Jason, How long do you think it would take to get there from Allentown?

On 2006-07-11 08:43, rugbymatt wrote:
Jason, How long do you think it would take to get there from Allentown?

WoooHooooo! How long would it take from Southern Califronia??? SoccerTiki and I want to go :)

Pennsylvania? Oh hell, two hours, I think. More if there is significant traffic. Google Maps says 1hr45m but I don't trust that.

WooHoo,

We can hit this place on our way to NYC when you guys come east to visit.

If you're going to be visiting the NYC area I would strongly reccomend King Yum as well in Queens. It's the oldest of all the Polynesian/Tiki places in the entire area. Food and drinks are awesome.

S

Looks great! I often go to the Chinese buffet here and see the massive aquariums and crazy decor and empty bar and think, if they built this a couple of decades ago, they might have done it up Polynesian style and I'd have a whole other attitude. I wish I had an alternative like that.

We just visited the other night. While the Tiki spirit still prevails, this place is sadly run-down. The food was just tolerable and the drinks were, well, I'm spoiled now from mixing my way through the Grog Log so it's not a fair comparison. The waiters still wear Hawaiian shirts and say "Aloha!" and hand out plastic leis. But the palm trees have lost their fronds -- they have a post-hurricane look -- and things look dusty and uncared-for. I fear for the future of this once-magical place, and I will still return regularly. I suggest you do the same, if only to look at that rock wall and dream about what once was.

The pictures already posted are way better than mine so I will only offer a few.





Here is a nice old postcard showing both locations of Lee's Hawaiian Islander.

DC

Saturday night karaoke at Lee's is a LOT of fun!

BB

Whoops, had the wrong location.

[ Edited by: Bam Bam 2019-03-30 21:32 ]

Spotted this nice old drink and pupu menu from Lee's Hawaiian Islander, great cover Art.

DC

H
Hamo posted on Mon, May 30, 2022 10:15 PM

"Tiki With Ray" posted one of his "Tiki In" videos of Lee's, from 5/27/22:

https://youtu.be/0vRWwrBj2vc

Pages: 1 14 replies