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The Breakers (or, Lenny's The Breakers), Crystal Lake, IL (restaurant)

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Name:The Breakers (or, Lenny's The Breakers)
Street:7728 Rt 14
City:Crystal Lake
Phone:(815) 459-9860

Chinese restaurant, serves tropical drinks in tiki mugs. Was tiki at one point... maybe still?

I keep an eye out for tiki pictures on Flickr, and today these two pictures came up:

:up: From Future Pandemic's photo stream, labelled "Trés Tiki...er...& American...& Chinese..."

:up: Another from Future Pandemic, labelled "Cocktails at the Breakers" -- left is a Polynesian Chi Chi, right is a Mai Tai

My interest, it is piqued! The only thing tiki in these pictures is the new Tiki Farm mugs, but that sign is neat -- it does look like it could be a cool old place, even if not really tiki. Curious where this place could be, I set to Googling, and discovered it is in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Found this postcard on eBay:

Ding ding ding! It was at least mildly tikified at some point -- check out those smilin' Tiki Bob-esque tikis out front. It's not the snazziest tiki place, sure, but it looks neat enough. From the background on that cocktails picture above, it looks like at least some of the wall coverings might still be in place (check out that cool Chinese cabinet, too). And they're serving a Mai Tai and a Chi Chi -- can't help but wonder if at one point they had a bartender who had been part of the Don the Beachcomber fold...

Crystal Lake is at the northwest edge of the outer Chicago suburbs... has anyone been to this place?

Here's a lil' sneak-preview from TRT2:

"Breakers, The, 7728 US Hwy. 14, Crystal Lake, IL (815) 459-9860

Breakers was opened in 1949 by Lenny Felcman, who ran it as a bar until making a 1950s deal with George Don, who opened a kitchen on-site. To this day, Don’s grandchildren serve Chinese food from the kitchen. Felcman and his wife (who had no children) have willed the overall business to Jo-Ann Spielman and her daughter Judy, who have been managing things for decades. You’ll want to make sure you get left-handed chopsticks from 40-year veteran waiter Danny. He showed us the vintage Orchids of Hawaii Tiki (the one that lights up), another ancient Tiki made of palm wood, and a mural of the (real) Breakers in Hawai’i. After fifty-eight years, changes are inevitable; gone to the years are the organ player (and organ) in the lounge, the aquariums, the thatching on the peaked dining room ceiling, and the palm trees. Nevertheless, The Breakers has a friendly homey vibe, a few vintage mugs behind the bar, some big puffers, and a Mai Tai that is absolutely worth the 50-mile drive from Chicago. And a red sparkly padded bar. We like those."

Tiki Road Trip 2:

On 2007-05-09 13:01, Humuhumu wrote:

Crystal Lake is at the northwest edge of the outer Chicago suburbs... has anyone been to this place?

We've been there. I tipped off a couple of the local Chicago ohana to it. A friend who grew up in that area told me about it. It looks pretty much like any Cantonese restaurant from the outside, but there's a tiki to greet you as you open the door. Their bar is nice, has a bamboo roof, puffer fish, etc. Bar staff all wears aloha shirts. Excellent traditional Mai Tais, very much like you find in Waikiki, but served with a rock candy swizzle stick. Other tropical drink selections available, and tasty. There's one of those big plastic tikis with the light inside, like Hala Kahiki has, in the bar area. Dining room is mostly Cantonese restauraunt chic. Food is good, Cantonese but with their own distinctive style. Steak dishes have big chunks of tender steak, lobster dishes have actual lobster (both priced accordingly.) We recommend it, the staff is friendly, and it's a pretty busy place - which is always a good sign.

Been trying to get out there lately to take some pics and post about it here. So we'll try to do that 50 miles in the next few weeks. So, meanwhile, enjoy!


The Breakers in Crystal Lake IL.... yes indeed... it has a Tiki Bar!! It is as Tiki as it gets in there... Old School Tiki. Better than most of the Tiki places I have been to in Fla, etc. The Mai Tai is awesome and is their most popular drink; served up in a Tiki Mug if you so wish and garnished with a stick of Rock Candy. The atmosphere is comfortable and friendly. Enjoy the kitschy decor, retro red glitter vinyl padded L shaped bar under a bamboo supported awning and lit up with puffer-fish lanterns. Plenty of bamboo, murals and Ooga Mooga's adorn every nook and cranny. Out back there is a oriental garden complete with evergreen bonsai and a pond, viewable from a large portion of the dining room. They serve up delicious food. Large portions, made fresh and always tasty. A must see place. (Closed on Mondays.)

For more pix:


May the Tiki Be With You.

Finally got back out to The Breakers last nite. Thanks to the great staff for a pleasant evening. Here are a few shots. (Note there are some xmas decorations since it is that time of year.) Enjoy.


finally made the trek up there, and glad we did.....the mai tai there is killer...complete with rock candy stir stick, this is the real deal......average food,amazing mai tais, great staff.....definately would go again.

Here's a great little article on their 65th year in business! If you are ever in the area, do yourself a favor and stop on in, you will not be disappointed! :wink:


One of our favorites... just wish it was closer!

In fact... we're meeting my folks out there for dinner tomorrow...

More than worth the trip; a true time-capsule gem.

Here's a few photos from our last trip out that way (which has been a good
long while now...)

Just when you walk in, a light-up fiberglass OA Tiki...

The dining room, replete with Orchids of Hawaii lamps and a huge mural...

Friendly locals at the bar...

...the ceiling of which is appropriately crammed with flotsam and jetsam...

Meticulously maintained outdoor gardens... It's no Mai Kai, but it sher is purdy...

Old school menus...

The drinks are fabulous, and the food is pretty darn good (the egg rolls are phenomenal, even!)

And if you're not feeling Chinese food, grab an appetizer and a Mai Tai and soak in the ambiance (they often have someone playing slack-key style guitar, too) then head to Algonquin a few miles down the road and pay a visit to another classic joint, the Port of Edward:


Old school nautical joint, complete with a ship floating in the middle of the room (that you can eat on, if you book it a year in advance...!) Last time we were there, there was even an old guy dressed like a pirate wandering around playing the concertina. Ya don't get that at Applebee's, jack...


I picked up the old postcard and did some blow-ups.


The bar. Nice stools.

The dining room with the mural.

Back of card listing chef Geo. Don and proprietors Marion and Lenny Felcman.

Also got a nice matchbook with a Tiki image.



Some cool vintage pics from their website...they are still going strong.

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