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Tiki Central / Locating Tiki

Luau, Fresno, CA (restaurant)

Pages: 1 29 replies

Street:1663 Fulton St.
Phone:559 237 4722

This place isn't in Tiki Road Trip. I had to use Google Earth's tiki finder add-on. Best $39.99 I ever spent. The building was there; it hadn't been made bulldozed to make a freeway or sunk into a tarpit or leveled by an earthquake. So I called it on the phone--still open! (They close at 8:00 tonight.)

Actually, I just posted that to post this:
(from the Fresno Bee, 19 June 1964)

I wonder if the cool modernist sign is still there:

I have a standard black Moai mug from it. The fact that the mug was used at TWO Fresno Tiki places shows that they were both owned by the same Chinese Family:

I believe the Leilani is long gone, though:

Jungle must see. CleenHat wanna do a roadtrip?

hat's been to both locations about two years ago. he took me by one of them to further inspect the inside. a large bar still remains, but it doesnt look like it is used. its your run-of-the-mill chinese restaurant.

oh, so NOW you want to do a roadtrip jt??! after im back at work and all? figures...

i'll have to dig up those pics we took.


The great sign on The Luau is still there.
Here's a current pic...

As for The Leilani it's no longer The Leilani - definitely "not" worth a road trip. The place used to have a great towering palm tree sign out front, with painted palm fronds and a trunk. Alas, the sign is still there in it's palm tree shape, but it's been painted black. The Last time I was in the Leilani was in the 90's. At the time I told my friend "this place looks like some kind of 'haunted' Chinese palace." Not sure if they changed the decor with the sign change, but not worth a trip! As for the connection between the two restaurants, I think it was discussed in one of the postings here on Tiki Central.

[ Edited by: Fres-tiki 2007-09-03 13:50 ]

[ Edited by: Fres-tiki 2007-09-04 13:32 ]

This matchbook was used for both the Luau and the Leilani.


Just got this in the mail. I had originally thought that "Chinee Smorgie" was a type-o. Apparently not. Yikes.


Dam'it Im missing a color!

There is also a white one.



............chinee Smorgie still there


https://tikicentral.com/uploads/1394/4a650154.jpg ..................The old Leilani is now the Pho Galaxy with a green paint job on the palm tree sign

I'm on the trail of another Luau restaurant (closed for some time) that has the same tiki pic and font in advertising. The owner was named Jimmie Dunn. Could this be a franchise or chain restaurant? Does any one have any info or more history on this restaurant?

I just bought one of the mugs used at both the Leilani & Luau restuarants. It jogged my memory - a friend once told me he went to school with a daughter of one of the owners. I did a little digging online and found an obituary for Roy Dunn who died in 2008.
Here's what it says:

"Roy Dunn peacefully passed away surrounded by his loved ones. He was born in Hanford, Ca. where he attended Zhong Wah Hok Haw Chinese School and he graduated from Hanford Union High School.

Roy's parents immigrated from China and opened the Lotus Bowl Restaurant in Hanford where Roy and his ten siblings worked. During World War II, Roy served in the U.S. Army, stationed in the Phillippines. Returning home after the Army, he attended Armstrong College in Berkeley, Ca. where he earned his B.A. degree in Business. In 1951, Roy and his brother Jimmie opened the Leilani and the Luau restaurants in Fresno which the Dunns successfully ran for 35 years. As many people know, Roy was an excellent chef who enjoyed cooking and developing the signature menus at the restaurants. His family will forever remember the delicious meals he cooked for them at home every night."

Here is the phone book ad from the little known Stockton location.

Nice find on the Stockton Luau, Abstract. Have you got any other information on this new place yet?

Here is another matchbook from the Leilani that does not have the Luau advertised. Makes on think that the Leilani preceded the Luau.

The menu

Of course copied from the old Trader Vic's men.

A napkin

Saw this lighter on ebay that advertises the Dunn Brothers.

And photos of the old Leilani sign from the internet.


That's a great sign and that lighter is an outstanding artifact. I searched and searched, followed several leads, made some calls but never could find any more info on the Stockton location. I really love that Luau sign, next time I'm in Fresno I'm definitely going to check it out.

Just saw posted on facebook by MCM Fresno that the LUAU sign is being dismantled and taken down now.

[ Edited by: 1961surf 2012-05-12 12:17 ]

If there is anyone that lives in or around Fresno that can find out where this sign
is going or being dismantled..I am interested in saving it and possibly using to
re-open a tiki bar down the road .Please message me or email me please !

As Indiana Jones once said: "That thing belongs in a museum".

Someone should offer to hook up the sign with the MONA Museum.


Aaw! One of the all time greats of Tiki Mod.


I got up early this morning and canceled all my business appointments for the day.
I was prepared to drive 263 miles... approx 4 1/2 hours to see what I could do to
contribute and save this iconic sign.I called the Fresno City manager , who then
referred me to the project manager of the Fresno Historic Preservation .The owners
live in Pollardville and speak very little English.The building has been sold and the
new owners without pulling permits starting gutting the interior as well as dismantling
the sign.The city posted a notice to stop and halt all work on the building .I got
referred to a gentleman that handles commercial neon in and around Fresno and has
saved many neon historic signs and are being stored in his wherehouse in Fresno.He is
investigating for me and trying to find out where the tiki faces and the letters
were taken after they were removed .It's not looking good so far, but I am not giving
up.This would be an absolute shame if this sign is gone forever.I will post some
pics of what it looks like after the removal from this past weekend.


It's really disappointing when you try and put some serious effort into trying to save part
of our past and people just don't give a sh**t !The new owners have no clue about iconic
signs or what they mean to alot of people out there.Here is a pic of the sign as of two
days ago.This makes me absolutely sick !I am surprised that more TC members have not
commented on this .I will be in touch with the new owners this afternnon.

Wow, i am sad to see this sign go. I would have loved to drive down there and help you salvage it. 61surf you made a valiant effort. It sucks but these rescue/salvage operations often don't work out. The logistics, luck, timing and other complex factors are often to much to overcome.

Here is one theory as to what happened. You may have been up against a profiteer scraper or salvager without historical motives or TC credentials. The face and letters were purposely removed by someone who specifically wanted those items. He likely was a friend of the new owners or one of the construction workers. He likely got permission from a contractor or owner. If the sign was to be scrapped by the new owners they would have just cut it into small pieces with a torch and put it all in a dump bin. Someone probably figured that they could sell those items on E-bay. The whole sign was just to big to handle intact and would take to much effort for this guy so he went for the easiest most valuable parts. I would not be surprised to see the letters or tiki head to show up for sale someday.

Here is one more thing, if anyone has a Tiki salvage/rescue mission come up please let me know. I will do what ever i can to help out.

Dang. I don't check this forum often. I would love to have helped, but too late now. In the future, contact me or David.

That is so sad it should be a hate crime.

Here's what the replacement sign looks like - just the skeleton of the original one - only with the heart & soul ripped out.

The daughter of the owners of the Luau and Leilani e-mailed me this photo of a black velvet painting. She said her mother has it. She said it was the inspiration for the Logo.

Compare it to the napkin posted earlier in the thread.

I assume it was hung in the Leilani. I requested more information and am waiting for a reply.


Was just in Fresno last week and took these sad pictures of the old Luau. The Leilani on Blackstone was also torn down and is a Rally's now./img

[ Edited by: tikidon 2015-07-10 15:14 ]

I was disgusted to drive through this area recently to see what they'd done to that sign. Really sickening.

Pages: 1 29 replies