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Honolulu Harry's Waikiki Restaurant, Chicago, IL (restaurant)

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Name:Honolulu Harry's Waikiki Restaurant
Street:804 Wilson Avenue

Honolulu Harry's Waikiki Club and Restaurant was a happening South Pacific restaurant and night club in Chicago. Advertised American, Cantonese and Hawaiian foods with dancing under the Hawaiian skies.

I had posted a menu from the South Pacific Restaurant located in Chicago and got a lot of feedback on the numerous tiki restaurants that once flourished in Chicago. I decided to put this post together showing all of the paper I have collected for Honolulu Harry's Waikiki Club and Restaurant.

The Waikiki bar

Surf Dining Room

This is an oversized card showing different rooms within the restaurant.

Close-up of the Surf Room and Stage

Close-up of the Hoonanea Lounge

Close-up of the Waikiki Bar

Close-up of the Surf Room South Section

Here are a couple of Business Cards front side

Business Cards back side

These are always fun - the restaurant photo holder with the old time photo intact.

It seems that "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" even back then! It must have been Ladies Night.

Here is a picture from the Barefoot Hawaiian showing a Hula performances at Honolulu Harry's Waikiki.

Barefoot Hawaiian founder, Gwen Keaké akamai Kennedy, front center, at 4 years old
Stars in floor shows at the world famous and highly nostalgic, Honolulu Harry's Club Waikiki

Forgot to include this matchbook.


Nice collection.

This place is right near Lake Shore Drive, I drive by the location fairly often.
there is a modern hi-rise apartment building there now.

Gwen has told me lots of stories about dancing there as a kid.
If you ever see her at a Barefoot Hawaiian event, ask her about her adventures - she has been dancing the hula in Chicago area tiki bars for her entire life, and has been to all of the defunct ones that we crave info on!


Must have been very cool to talk to Gwen about the good old days. Here is a link to the Barefoot Hawaiian web page which has got some neat stuff. Those Barefoot Hawaiians must get awfully cold during the Thanksgiving Day parade in Chicago! Have you seen them in that before?


Here are a few more posts of menus from Honolulu Harry's from Mimi Payne's website.

On the menu under Waikiki appetizers theres something called Rumaki which is Chicken Liver, Bacon and Chestnuts. Wow thats straight out of Fear Factor!


I wanna play on that stage in the Surf dining room !

On 2008-07-18 13:15, Mongoloid wrote:
On the menu under Waikiki appetizers theres something called Rumaki which is Chicken Liver, Bacon and Chestnuts. Wow thats straight out of Fear Factor!

Runaki was a popular appetizer in many of the classic Tiki restaurants.
A lot of them still serve it.
Can't say that I am a fan...!

it's actually quite good if you substitute grilled chicken for the chicken liver part....

Hey, you just don't go and change a famous Don The Beachcomber recipe like that! :)


Really enjoyed looking through your fabulous collection from Honolulu Harry's! How sad it's now a highrise. A note on rumaki---it is really yummy when cooked correctly!

Selena, Honolulu Hotels Manager

[ Edited by: SelenaC 2009-10-18 06:25 ]

On 2008-07-02 17:43, Dustycajun wrote:

It seems that "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" even back then! It must have been Ladies Night.

Man that's a swinging bunch, why do I think that the Lei's and the picture was their highlight of the evening?


And why does the woman seated lower right look liken a dead ringer for Hawaii's current Governor, Linda Lingle?
There may be a story behind this pic.
Where is Charlie Chan when you need him?!


Here's another matchcover from the Club Waikiki... interesting that Honolulu Harry isn't mentioned on this one...
wonder if it changed owners in the late 1950's or early '60's ?

[ Edited by: puamana 2010-01-19 15:47 ]


Nice matchbook. You posted the two front sides, what's the back side look like?

Looks like Honolulu Harry may have come along after the Waikiki started.



Oops, just fixed the pics, thanks DC! By the way, those 2 business cards & the photo folder
are nice finds!

Here is another pre-Honolulu Harry matchbook from the Club Waikiki.


Then there's this older matchbook with Honolulu Harry. I don't think that it was the Club Waikiki without Harry for that long.


Edited with upgraded photo

[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2012-07-25 18:22 ]

Honolulu Harry had a bit of clever marketing with his goddess, "Hina":

Here is Hina arriving in Chicago from Hawaii (an archival news bureau photo from July 1955):

"HOPE" COMES TO CHICAGO ... Hina, traditional Hawaiian emblem of hope, the first to come to Chicago, was flown in yesterday by Untited Airlines. It is claimed Hina will grant any reasonable wish made to her - provided a token donation is made to charity. Hina is 'alive' - carved from a living fern root and sprouts leaves and flowers. A special niche has been prepared at Club Waikiki. A group of Polynesians greeted the legendary figure at the airport by performing flower and sword dances to island music. From L to R, Nailei, who did a ritual hula, and Honolulu Harry.


I found this picture on ebay. Auction for the negative ends tonight.

here's a menu i found at an estate sale.

Does anyone know why there are two different addresses listed for Honolulu Harry's?

In older materials (there's a 1940's postcard that seems to pop up on eBay fairly frequently) the address is listed at 4541 N. Broadway, and it's called "Honolulu Harry's Waikiki." On later matchbooks and promotional materials, it's listed at 804 W. Wilson, and the name has changed to "Club Waikiki."

Granted, these addresses aren't too terribly far from each other (I should know, we live a few blocks from there) but I'm wondering if the same bar moved, or if there were two totally different Waikiki-themed bars within a couple blocks of each other once upon a time?

Worth mentioning, too, that the Polynesian Village used to be in the Edgewater Beach hotel, too (just a bit north of the 804 Wilson locale on Sheridan.)

Here is where I would share cool pictures of ephemera from the Polynesian Village...

...unfortunately I don't have any.

On 2011-12-01 19:12, Ragbag Comics wrote:
Does anyone know why there are two different addresses listed for Honolulu Harry's?


Nice observation, never noticed that before. This early postcard is the only piece of paper I have seen that has the 4551 Broadway address. It was Honolulu Harry's so I am assuming the place moved early on.

Here is another photo of the building exterior.

Here is where I would share cool pictures of ephemera from the Polynesian Village...

...unfortunately I don't have any.

And here is the link to the cool stuff from the Polynesian Village.



The Broadway address is at the corner of Broadway and Wilson, so it might have been a zoning thing, or maybe their entrance moved around the corner or something?

I know Broadway and Wilson was voted dry some time in the 1960's or early 70's, but Harry's would've moved to Wilson way before that (in fact, it likely closed in the 1960's, as most of the ephemera I've seen from there dries up around the mid-to-late 1950's. Anybody know exactly when it closed?)

Even if Harry's HAD made it deep into the '60's, by the 70's the neighborhood had gotten so bad people were razing their buildings for insurance money. The 1980's saw a new alderman and a massive influx of social services and public housing that was still going on up to her retirement a year ago.

My assumption is the building that housed Harry's was probably torn down during the mass exodus of more affluent folks from the neighborhood in the 60's and 70's. Many neighborhood business shuttered their doors around that time. By the 1980's, even the noble, classic Chicago gem that is the Green Mill (Al Capone's ACTUAL old hang out) was more or less abandoned and full of junkies until the current owner bought and restored it in 1989 (leading to a kind of slow renaissance that's still going on today.)

But I digress... no way Harry's was gonna weather that perfect storm.


Spotted these napkins on ebay that show the rather seamless progression from Club Waikiki on Wilson to Honolulu Harry's Waikiki on Broadway.


Picked up another matchcover from the Waikiki with some nice graphics.

Back of the matchcover advertises a free Hawaiian Lucky Charm... wonder what that looked like?


I found some information on the Honolulu Harry's Club Waikiki time-line.

This article from May, 1962 announces the 10-year anniversary of Club Waikiki. So Honolulu Harry must have opened it in 1952.

This article from June 1962 indicates that talent agent Bernie Horne and Chief Tavui the Samoan fire cancer took over the restaurant from Honolulu Harry.

Some more of the entertainment from 1956.

And finally a nice souvenir tourist photo of the ladies dressed up on stage for the obligatory audience participation hula show.


Found this article from 1952 stating that Club Waikiki was newly opened.

And Tanoa, the Hawaiian knife dancer celebrating the Hawaii as the 50th state.


I acquired these at two different times from relatives of someone who worked at Honolulu Harry's. There are no markings on them, but you can see they were for the Coconut Punch on the menu.


Here are a couple more souvenir group photos showing the frivolity at Honolulu Harry's Waikiki.


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