Welcome to the Tiki Central 2.0 Beta. Read the announcement
Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

Tiki Central / Locating Tiki

Julian's Dining Room and Lounge, Ormond Beach , FL (restaurant)

Pages: 1 2 54 replies


Name:Julian's Dining Room and Lounge
Street:88 South Atlantic Avenue
City:Ormond Beach
Phone:(386) 677-6767

Julian's is a restaurant and bar that has been in business since 1967. It has been owned by the same family all that time. A few years ago, it was purchased by someone else in the family (no specific details on exactly who that is, but it is a couple and they were working the reservation desk and seating people). But despite the change in ownership, as far as I can tell, the place looks the same. Julian's claims to fame are its imposing A frame entrance and its spectacular Polynesian mural behind the sunken bar.

[ Edited by: GatorRob 2008-01-21 09:48 ]



Thanks for those great photos. It is really awesome to see an old place like that still standing and in such great shape.

Here are some shots from an old postcard I have from Julian's. It looks the same today.

Here is a menu I have from Julian's


What is that in the middle of the A-frame in the drawings? A mask or a shield? Whatever it was, if it ever existed at all on the actual building, it's not there now.

It looks almost like a turtle shell, but I think it' supposed to be PNG shield. That postcard is great, interesting that the buildings on the side had those weird beams extending to the pavement.

I always wished I would find a photo of the interior walls before they applied that garish paint to the shields, too bad this is so small. But you can make out that Witco "Balinese Goddess" wall hanging in the middle that is not there anymore. Bill Westenhaver told me he spent several months in the area, paying the hotels and restaurants with carvings in exchange for food and lodging.

Man I hope that place will last, I love it.

Just picked up a matchbook from Julian's making it a paper tri-fecta: Postcard, menu, matchbook. Did not get to go by here on my latest trip to Florida, will have to check it out on the way to Hukilau next year!

We had a really enjoyable dining experience last night at Julian’s in Ormond Beach. The waitress noted that the recent history of Julian’s has been a bit rocky, starting when the original owners sold the business about six years ago. Under new owners, the business eventually went under, and has only come back in the last several months. Our experience suggests that the new start is promising.

The building exterior, with its magnificent A-frame entry, looks much as it did when GatorRob last visited in 2008, though a bit of remodeling and repainting is evident...

On entering, one is greeted by a tiki at the hostess station, but your focus goes immediately to the striking Hawaiian mural on the back wall behind the bar...

Off to the right is another mural which seems to have been added since GatorRob’s visit...

On the left wall are backlit shields and Witco carvings...

Mid-century lounge music plays in the background. We’re offered drinks and order Mai Tais. The drinks that arrive are a nice, stiff Planter’s Punch with enough Myer’s dark rum to give you a pleasant buzz after downing several...

My son, Tommy, and his friend, Kathy, are digging the retro atmosphere...

The Chicken Satay appetizers are awesome, and then the entrees arrive, including lightly Blackened Salmon, New York Strip Steak, Grilled Mahi Mahi and Linguine Frutti de Mare. All are excellent. The service is great and the prices are moderate. We finish by sharing a Crème Brulee, very rich and artfully presented. After nearly three hours, we left, very happy to have chosen Julian’s...



Wondering what the online news archives might reveal about Julian’s, I ran across this photo caption at the beginning of it all...

Daytona Beach Sunday News-Journal July 1, 1967

This club meeting note indicates that Julian’s did meet its December 1967 opening date target...

Daytona Beach Morning Journal December 9, 1967

Through tragedy, we learn that the name of the artist who created that striking Hawaiian mural across the back wall of Julian’s Dining Room is Douglas Hines...

Daytona Beach Morning Journal November 26, 1973

In 1997, the 30th anniversary year of Julian’s Dining Room and Lounge, the City of Ormond Beach declared December 22 as “Julian’s Day” to honor Julian Lopez, the owner, for his civic and philanthropic contributions to the community. Among the tributes, we learn that Julian Lopez is a longtime Shriner (presumably with fez)...

Orlando Sentinel December 18, 1997

Orlando Sentinel December 19, 1997

In 2006, there was a change in ownership as GatorRob's source and our waitress observed. Various reviews started referring to “Julian’s Landmark Steak & Seafood Restaurant,” a subtle name change...

Orlando Sentinel December 31, 2006

After the ownership change, especially over the past year or so, the online restaurant reviews reflect erratic service and food quality, sometimes superb and sometimes disastrous. You wonder if these could all be about the same place.

On February 4, 2011, the Volusia County official records show that bankruptcy was filed by Daria Vidas, as President of B&V Florida Holdings, LLC, listing Julian & Wenceslaa Lopez (the original Julian’s owners) as principal creditors with a $950,000 claim.

A newspaper article discusses this and states that Julian’s will continue to operate without interruption, all corroborating the waitress’ story from my earlier post, though hinting of a more complex tangle...

Daytona Beach News-Journal March 5, 2011

Here’s a Mother’s Day ad highlighting the newest owners...

Lifestyle Magazine of Florida May, 2011

Julian’s deserves to live on, if the atmosphere, service and food quality from last night is an indicator. I’d recommend that fellow TC’ers give it a try when you’re in the neighborhood.



Thanks for the photos and the restaurant review. Interesting to read in that first article that the owner Julian Lopez also owned the Tropics in Ormond Beach. I have this matchbook from the Tropics.

Looks like Julian's was not the first foray into Tiki for Mr. Lopez. Would like to hear more about the Tropics...


Ok I did a little digging this morning on the Tropics to Julian's connection.

The Tropics was located in the shopping center at Ellinor Village which featured a giant...

You guessed, an A-Frame that is just like the A-Frame that Julian built for his new restaurant.

You can barely make out the Tropics restaurant sign right next to the A-Frame in this postcard I found on-line. It also looks like it says "Julian's in the same font next to Tropics.

We can certainly see where Mr. Lopez got his inspiration!


Nice work, DC, on digging up visuals for The Tropics and Ellinor Village.

Here's a bit more of the story connecting Julian Lopez, The Tropics and Julian's...

Hometown News December 21, 2007

Regarding Ellinor Village, here's an excerpt from a realtor's web site...

A more contemporary view from Google Maps...


Thank you guys, excellent work! Great to find out the pre-history of Julian's, DC. And I had no idea how rocky its RECENT history had been, Tom!

Phew, it seems Julian's has escaped the downfall for the moment. I hope that with its ups and downs it did not alienate its regular retiree clientele that I saw when I dined there in 2006. Those are the people who will keep a place like this alive. I love that place, my favorite experience was seeing an Asian female lounge singer perform Patsy Cline songs on the stage that sits on top of the sunken bar - with that mural in the background. I don't remember as many Witco pieces hanging there, maybe they pulled some out of storage.

Yeah, that Cinemascope-sized mural is second to none. What a tragic story about the artist. Well, seems he was a free spirit, being an experimental plane guy.

DC, I found a bit more on The Tropics and its connection to Julian’s from a deep dive into the news archives. The article below indicates that The Tropics began life all the way back in 1950. Julian Lopez apparently not only got his idea on employing the A-frame from The Tropics, but also large wall murals (Pirates in this case, rather than Polynesians). I’m sorry the microfiche source is such poor quality, as clear interior images would be priceless. It was even worse than bad, as the whole page was photographed at an off-angle, so I spent a fair amount of time cutting, rotating and piecing this together...

Daytona Beach Morning Journal May 26, 1950

The excerpt that follows is from a larger article on area restaurants and indicates that Julian Lopez started work as a chef at The Tropics circa 1960, presumably leaving in 1967 to establish his own Julian’s Dining Room and Lounge that opened on December 22, 1967. It was stated that The Tropics had been open for 12 years, corroborating its 1950 opening date from the earlier article above.

Daytona Beach Morning Journal June 23, 1962

Bigbrotiki, retirees were fairly represented in the Sunday night attendance at Julian's. Some were clearly regulars as the staff seemed to know them and what they wanted. Several couples danced to the lounge music in the area off to the left where the shields and Witco carvings hang. A fair number of tourists also entered. More regulars intent on drinking and watching sports on TV could be found at the "tiki bar" hidden on the southwest end of the building, accessed from the dining area through the doors to the kitchen. Live entertainment wasn't present on Sunday, but we noticed that it was posted when we drove by on Saturday afternoon.


That sounds good all around, Tom, thanks, I am relieved.


DustyCajun, I zoomed in on your 1959 Ellinor Village B&W photo and then sharpened it up using a filter in a photo editing program. You can clearly see The Tropics sign next to the A-frame, flanked by what appear to be thatched A-frame porticos...

Here’s a 1940s postcard of that same Ellinor Village shopping center, before the time of The Tropics and A-frame structure...

I had no luck finding any photos, menus or other visual trinkets from The Tropics anywhere on the web. Your matchbook cover seems to be the only bone from the dig.

When I drove by it last weekend, the buildings were intact, but the Ellinor Village shopping center is all but vacant now.



At its opening, the décor of The Tropics as described by the May 26, 1950 article posted earlier was apparently Caribbean tropical, dominated by a huge pirate mural and ship's wheels serving as chandeliers and signs. That was evident in this 1951 ad...

Daytona Beach Morning Journal March 19, 1951

In his February 13, 1955 travel article on Ellinor Village that appeared in The Baltimore Sun, Horace Sutton stated, “For anybody tired of eating home there is a sultry, candlelit bar and restaurant called The Tropics.” Well, it was a time in Florida before air conditioning was prevalent.

At some point, Julian Lopez and The Tropics were influenced to sail from Caribbean to Polynesian seas, abandoning pirates and embracing tiki... it would be fascinating to know how that came about, but DustyCajun’s matchbook cover is clear evidence...


We also have the statement from the June 23, 1962 article posted earlier that “Polynesian décor and Chef Julian Lopez’ cooking helped keep Philip Colodiy’s Tropics in the spotlight as a popular dining spot…,” additional evidence that The Tropics had been reborn as tiki somewhere along the way.

Obituaries can be a great source of information for the urban archaeologist. A life’s story is told in as few words as possible to keep the newspaper’s charges to a minimum (having recently written one for my father-in-law, I can tell you that every added word and photo carries a high premium). I learned through one that a Cuban émigré cousin of Julian Lopez, Maria Rodriguez, was owner of The Tropics and sold it to Julian Lopez circa 1960...

Daytona Beach Morning Journal December 16, 1975

I learned through another that Julian’s brother, Raul Lopez, a Cuban émigré like Julian, came to work at The Tropics and then moved on in 1967 to help his brother open up and run Julian’s as a Chef who did much to establish the restaurant’s reputation for fine cuisine...

Daytona Beach News-Journal January 31, 2011

I had wrongly presumed that Julian Lopez gave up The Tropics when he started Julian’s Dining Room and Lounge; not so. The following article indicates that he held onto The Tropics until selling it in 1974...

Daytona Beach Morning Journal March 30, 1974

Julian apparently held the mortgage to The Tropics, and foreclosed on the new owners within a year...

Daytona Beach Morning Journal March 9, 1975

And so he sold it again...

Daytona Beach Morning Journal October 24, 1976

It seems Julian was a Trustee with the Cuban Foundation that established a Cuban Exhibit at the Daytona Beach Museum of Arts and Sciences. Here we have a reasonably good photo of Julian along with Fulgencio Batista, the son of the former President of Cuba, and also a Trustee...

Daytona Beach Morning Journal September 9, 1971

In the following article, Julian Lopez describes how he continues to survive and thrive in the restaurant business, caught between escalating food and drink prices and the fixed incomes of the retirees who constitute his business base...

Daytona Beach Sunday News-Journal April 7, 1973


Great research once again Tiki Tom D.

I picked up one of the postcards showing the Tropics restaurant at Ellinor Village and did a close up scan of the sign and the two little A-Frame thatched huts.

A nice 57 Chevy too!



Nice, clear color zoom-in of the Tropics entry and that 57 Chevy as well, DustyCajun!

Your postcard photo got me to wondering again about several items: (1) The early newspaper and postcard photos of the Ellinor Village Shopping Center show a flat-roofed business office next to the Tropics, so when and what prompted the A-frame structure that shows up in photos from the late 1950s and on? and (2) The original décor of the Tropics was Caribbean tropical featuring a pirate mural, so was there some event that precipitated a change to the Polynesian décor cited by later newspaper articles and evidenced in the matchbook cover images?

After digging back into the newspaper archives, I believe I found a definitive answer to (1) and speculate that it was also the same event that precipitated (2)...

On December 12, 1957, a fire destroyed much of the Ellinor Village Shopping Center, including the Tropics...

Ocala Star-Banner December 12, 1957

St. Petersburg Times December 13, 1957

A year later almost to the day, the shopping center held its grand re-opening, to include the Tropics. Note the new A-frame structure...

Daytona Beach Morning Journal December 9, 1958

We dined again at Julian’s this past weekend. Though they were moderately busy with a 50th wedding anniversary party, the service and food remained excellent. This time, there was live entertainment in the form of a lady lounge singer who nicely performed a range of songs from the 1950s to the 1980s. The whole experience was like time-traveling back to the epoch of “I Dream of Jeannie.”



The it an Asian lady performing?

No, Swanky, this was not the Asian lady who sang Patsy Cline songs. The lady who appeared last Saturday night was originally from Detroit, I believe, and sang everything from The Shirelles "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" to Manhattan Transfer's "Boy from New York City." She did a great vocalization of Patsy Cline's "Crazy" along the way...



Here's another postcard variation for Julian's, acquired from a Hukilau 2012 vendor. It has a scalloped edge...



Nice postcard, have not seen that one before.

Here is another matchbook from the Tropics at Elanor Village with a rendering of the mural.


Most excellent find, DC... with your latest post we are viewing an artifact of the original Tropics. I base that conclusion on the rendering of the mural: it appears to be Pirates!

Recall that The Tropics, when it opened in 1950, featured a large Pirate mural. If you look at the newspaper article photo I posted on page one of this thread, you'll find a match between the Richard Sanford mural telling the story of Sir Henry Morgan and the matchbook rendering.

After the December, 1957 fire destroyed The Tropics and other businesses in Ellinor Village, a rebuilt shopping center emerged with the A-frame that's still there, along with a new Polynesian version of The Tropics. Your earlier matchbook posting is, I'm certain, representative of the post-fire era...


Gosh, I have mused about this matchbook since forever, never connecting it to Julian's !

The big question here is: If the back of the matches is clearly copied from the Seattle Trader Vic's...

...how the heck did King Kukulele make it on the front of the matchbook - twice !!?

Hilarious, Sven :lol: Would that suggest King Kukulele is a Time Lord?

The headwear here looks more Egyptian than Polynesian, as in this statue of Mentuhotep II...



Sadly, Julian's has closed and the property is up for sale...

I don't want to even contemplate what will become of that magnificent mural...


OH NO! What a loss! A true gem of Polynesian Pop.

I believe it's not the food or drink, it's the economy: As the old retiree clientele is dying off, the new impoverished middle class either does not have the disposable income to eat and drink out every week, or they are to scared about their job to do so.

Aren't there any hip, rich New Yorkers who want to take it over and run a really cool Tiki bar? But: Who would come down there, and who's left down in Ormond or Daytona Beach?

This breaks my heart! I went here last summer, took photos and marveled at this wonderful place. It IS (was) the PERFECT Tiki nightclub. Whereas the Mai-Kai is the dream palace of Tiki, Julians had an amazing design and mood starting with being greeted by the door, then stepping DOWN into the main action, with the large bar and mural taking center stage of the whole place. It felt like being in an oyster. Not that I'd know what that feels like. I just mean the shape made it feel that way.

I was there early, around 4:30 p.m., which in Florida Old People Time means the dinner hour... and it was pretty quiet. I gave the manager a copy of Tiki Magazine and went on and on about what a gem of a place he was overseeing and how they needed to hook up with the Tiki community, etc. I'm not sure he got it.

Florida ohana, I hope you'll keep us posted and IF it is to be bulldozed, save any relics you can!


Tangaroa-Ru, well stated.

Sven, I’ve searched through recent media reports to see if anything else was at play other than what you stated and found nothing at all. It is but the latest addition to a long and growing list of legacy businesses in the Daytona Beach area, for that matter, everywhere, that are folding under this economy. Notwithstanding reports to the contrary, the business climate remains abysmal. For example, Ohana Luau at the Hawaiian Inn has been really struggling, with the frequency of shows curtailed to the point where the performers must have other work to survive.

I ran across this recent Julian’s restaurant review in the local Hometown News that recaps in part what we’ve lost...

Hometown News October 14, 2011

I treasure the memories of great meals and good times at Julian's, and I'm thankful for capturing a bit of that beautiful mural on a wall adjacent to my home Tiki bar.


DeTiki and I were able to purchase the the witco and a few of the remaining tiki posts from Julians after a friend forwarded the craigslist ad. We were told that the family kept quite a bit, the property is still owned by them but whatever happens to the restaurant will be up to who buys it. (I am hoping for the best and assuming the worst.) We just bought a home there not even a mile down the road for our personal tiki studio, so I am pleased that the items will at least live close by.

picked this up recently - this pack is full with some printing on the inside cover.


Nice find, Tipsy! Similar, but a variation on the matchbook cover previously posted by DC... and we learn who the contractor was! Assuming that information wasn't also on the inside cover of DC's matchbook, that would suggest your's is from an earlier time, close to the opening date of The Tropics and perhaps printed before it opened.


Good news!:


"...Belden, 69, has worked in the hospitality industry since the 1960s, when he tended bar in college.
He managed resorts in Hawaii and Australia before he moved to the Daytona Beach area in the early 1970s to work for the late hotelier Tom Staed. Belden managed the Beachcomber and Treasure Island hotels, which were then part of Staed’s company, Ocean Eleven Resorts...."

Under a new concept, oh well, but it's better than a tear down. And with a name like "Mango Cove", maybe they will even keep that awesome mural...

This thread is another great example of united TC research, it would be nice to see this place live on.

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2013-10-15 10:57 ]


Here is a magazine ad for Julian’s, circa 1969…

When I drove by the defunct Julian’s site today, the “For Sale” sign still says “Contract Pending.” There has yet been no activity at the site. The October 2013 newspaper article that Sven posted of a pending sale indicated a desire to complete that transaction within a month. It has only been a couple of months since then, and these transactions are often more complex than anticipated, so there’s probably no reason to yet be concerned. The buyer’s stated desire was to retain the basic Julian’s structure, but add a rooftop deck and beer garden, presumably to the flat-roofed portion of the building behind the A-frame. He may be exploring those proposed changes in advance with the City of Ormond Beach, notoriously tough on code compliance.

DeTiki and Tiki-Troll, who posted earlier about acquiring Julian’s Witco and other décor items, decided to part with one of the pair of Julian’s freestanding Tikis. I am the fortunate buyer. They intend to keep the other. So one will remain in Ormond Beach within a mile of Julian’s at their home, and the other will reside at my home bar in Flagler Beach, less than fifteen miles from Julian’s. Here are the pair of them, moments before they parted way…

DeTiki and Tiki-Troll kindly let me choose which one I wanted, so I took the one on the right. Here it is in its new home at the Blowfish Bar.



How long has it been since they stayed open until 2AM every day including Sundays.

Mai-Kai Memories Series Custom ceramic mugs!

[ Edited by: Swanky 2013-12-24 06:21 ]

Nice job TikiTomD. Glad to see that the Julian's Tikis found these great homes!



While rummaging around the State Archives of Florida, I came across this photo simply labeled, "Ellinor Village Night Club"... it is dated August of 1950...

State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory http://floridamemory.com/items/show/69981

From the pirate mural on the wall, it is easy to identify this as an interior photo of Julian Lopez's first restaurant, The Tropics, which opened in early 1950. This is the only photo I've come across showing the interior after it opened. Too bad it's not in color.


Nice find! As the matchbook reveals, there was one third more to it than the photo shows:

To me, ANY documentation of these lost-forever pieces of art is important. Here is a photo from an unknown location that's gonna be in my new book:

The bamboo screen caught the flashlight and obscures the fact that the mural is continuous behind it. I am assuming from where I found the pic that the location is San Diego...


This entire thread is so great. When I first started going to Julians 15 years ago, they told me Julian was a Cuban refugee and started out washing dishes at the Tropics. Thanks for all the research, news clips, etc. Brings back good memories of the tiki gatherings we had there.

…and that Asian Patsy Cline singer on the stage on top of the bar!

Sounds like good time were had! Here is another ad from the Tropics showing the sigh and lists Julian Lopez as the owner.

Also a photo of the interior.

You can see some glass floats, netting and a small Tiki on the wall left.



Nice work and posts, DC!

It hurts every time I drive past Julian's and see the "For Sale - Price Reduced" sign.


So that Hank Belden deal didn't go thru, huh? :(


The longer it sits there, the less likely it is to be re-used as is… hey, Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago is so successful, they could use a snowbird outpost!


Sadly, Sven, there hasn't been a peep since about Hank Belden and his plans... they clearly went amiss, as the "Price Reduced" sign was added well after the article you cited.

I like your thinking on the business opportunities... that panoramic Polynesian mural is a grand treasure at risk.

Here is a vintage Julian's postcard that I picked up... it is similar to the one that DC posted way back on page 1, but shows more of the mural...


How ironic...the wife and I were just there yesterday, coming back through DB and OB, and I snapped a bunch of photos of the place, not knowing exactly what it was (I also got some pics of the Treasure Island reboot).

Then, I come here today, and find a thread about Julian's, which answers a lot of the questions I had about the place....neato.

I'll post those recent (yesterday) pics here tonight, if anyone wants to see them. :)


Camera phone pics:


This just in:

Sven, Julian's in Ormond Beach is going to be torn down. I know I sent you an artifact from there and I believe you have been. A shame but it has sat empty for a long while.

Pages: 1 2 54 replies