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

Tiki Central / Locating Tiki

Saxony South Seas, Milwaukee, WI (restaurant)

Pages: 1 23 replies


Name:Saxony South Seas
Street:8825 North Lake Drive


[ Edited by: Mo-Eye 2009-07-26 04:12 ]


Not a whole lot of info, but I found that this restaurant had a bad fire in 1954, killing 2 employees, then another fire on January 28 1961, which destroyed the building during the end of a Polynesian themed remodel. A spokesperson said that the Saxony will be rebuilt again in the Polynesian theme.

Looking at google maps, there is still a restaurant at this location.


I found another mention of this place that confirms that is did re-open as Polynesian after the 1961 fire, but in October 1964 was in the process of changing to American cuisine.


Just found a great Oct. 25 1961 article about this place. They re-opened in early September after the January fire.

The Saxony South Seas boasted authentic South Seas decoration, including 48 carvings of various sizes from exotic places such as Samoa, Tahiti and Hawaii. Behind the bar stood a massive 1300 pound Tiki idol, while the back bar was inlaid with mother of pearl - 3000 pieces - all hand inlaid, weighing 65 pounds. The manager Richard Tierney said the restaurant incorporates what the management considered the best elements of famous Polynesian restaurants throughout the country. "We used native materials, imported trough a San Francisco agent, then refined the atmosphere to what we thought would be attractive to our Milwaukee patrons." The restaurant sat 170.

Leon Garces was the Filipino chef who came from the Beachcomber's in Chicago. "The forte of the bar, of course, is rum drinks. Most come in exotic containers, such as the Tonga, called a sorcerer's blend and served in a ceramic miniature Easter Island figure. The Volcano is served in a real coconut and consists of gin, brandy, rum and pineapple juice, garnished with an orchid.

Here's a great ad for the place from the same newspaper :down:

On 2009-07-26 04:11, Mo-Eye wrote:
...then refined the atmosphere to what we thought would be attractive to our Milwaukee patrons."

PBR and Old Style on tap? Stuffed squirrels wearing lederhosen and smoking cigarettes in a glass case? A big jar of pickled turkey gizzards?

Disclaimer: I kid because I was born in Milwaukee....:wink:

Weblog: Eye of the Goof

[ Edited by: mrbalihai 2009-07-26 07:30 ]


Here's another 1962 ad. :down:



That is one killer swizzle Kate! I'd love to find one of those.

Great matchbook too!


How funny: In Germany, people from Saxony are traditionally pegged for being very spendthrift, in a Jack Benny sort of a way, which seems to go against the concept of a voluminous Polynesian repast. :)

croe67 posted on Fri, Sep 9, 2011 4:03 PM

Just found a few of these swizzles in a bundle of misc. swizzles at a local antique mall :D

croe67 was kind enough to trade me one of the gold swizzles and I was lucky to find another blue one.

One of my favorite Tiki swizzles.


croe67 posted on Wed, Nov 9, 2011 7:33 PM

On 2011-11-09 19:22, Dustycajun wrote:
croe67 was kind enough to trade me one of the gold swizzles and I was lucky to find another blue one.

One of my favorite Tiki swizzles.


Cool!! I guess one attracts another :D

I know the location well... in the 70's, 80's and 90's it was Pandl's of Bayside.

Had no idea that such a paradise had once stood on that property.

I did some digging in the Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Sentinel and came up with this...

April 27, 1963

Same article, slightly larger type...


I'm going to try to swing by the village of Bayside library or city hall to see if there might be a path to follow for photos.

[ Edited by: Lake Surfer 2011-11-14 01:53 ]

The October 25, 1961 article that Max was quoting from his above post..


I believe Saxony's started out as a more Germanic style such as Mader's/Karl Ratzsch's Restaurants(local) German fare, and began moving to more international fare in 1960 as these ads indicate:

It wouldn't be a stretch seeing the Luau nights becoming more & more popular at this point in time.

I'm not sure if this following ad is pre or post fire grand opening:


Hard to imagine Mader's turning into a Poly Pop joint! I think I still have my Boot stein from when I went there.

Reminds me of another Tiki-German twist, the Trade Winds Tiki motel with the Duetche Hof Restaurant.

But I digress. It's been a good month for Saxony South Seas stuff for me. I just got this really big drink and diner menu.

The cover with the Tiki and the Conch Blower.

Back of the menu salutation.

The best part - the illustrated drink page, what an eye popper.

I don't remember seeing the Trader Vic's style Suffering Bastard mug available at other Tiki places. And, you could buy all of the mugs there. They must not have been marked as I have never seen one with a South Seas logo.


meega posted on Thu, Dec 1, 2011 11:07 AM

Well Mader's is still Mader's, but I appears that Saxony's started to experiment, and their Luaus may have been enough of a hit to push a transformation to an all out South Seas theme.
BTW: Nice menus - shows there's still interesting stuff out there to be had.

Found a full page newspaper ad for the grand opening. Not sure where the artist was going with that Tiki?

With some fuzzy photos of the interior.

The Shell Bar

The Maori spirit house

The dining room

The freebies and the entertainment

This place looked sweet, Tikis everywhere!


Here is the chef and story on the food from the grand opening ad.

Just a few years later the Saxony shifted to an American menu as documented in this article.

The article also discusses the other two Milwaukee restaurants, the Leilani and Judge's Beyond the Reef.

I guess Milwaukee wasn't ready for three Poly-Pop restaurants!


A HA! I figured out where the iconic conch blower image used by the South Seas came from.

Ripped from a South Pacific Airlines travel poster!

But, the Tiki image was not borrowed from the South Pacific Airlines promotional photo!


Great archeology, DC. Thanks for all the informative material on this lost Tiki temple.

Another comparison of the Saxony South Seas logo conch blower with the South Pacific Air Lines advertisement.

An what about that description of the travel itinerary! Jet to Hawaii for a day, week or just a frosty Mai Tai! And then fly real first class to Tahiti on a Floating Island in the Sky.

The Saxony South Seas also suffered from Tiki theft more than once, including several giant Clam Shells. Bad Tiki Karma.

Funny that the manager mentions opening a German restaurant where the beer steins would be stolen.


Some good news, one of the stolen Tikis was recovered and returned!


Pages: 1 23 replies