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Florida Tiki

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Marian and I are taking our youngest son to the Hawaiian Inn in Daytona Beach this Saturday for the hula show. This will be our first visit since the "facelift" in February. Also, we are staying overnight in one of their condo's. If anyone wants to join us for the 7 pm show, let me know. Plenty fun for braddahs and sistahs.

Rumaging around various antique stores today, I found a swizzle for a place called "Tony Vons Hawaii Night Club", Indian Rocks Beach. Those in the know will recognize this address as the former home of Tiki Gardens. Anyone ever hear of this joint? BTW, the stick is black with an oval top embossed with a gold hula dancer. Kinda nice.

Wow!!! Not familiar with it, any chance you could send me a scan? Any info with how it ties in with the whole TG story.
I love learning something new about Tiki Gardens as I delve deeper into it's history.

I would be more than happy to send you a scan of the swizzle in a day or two... but I don't know anything more about the place. At some point, I want to research a few places on the West Coast (of Florida) by visiting the St. Pete Times. Maybe they have something about it in the archive.

I just got back from a hectic (spring break) weekend at the Hawaiian Inn in Daytona Beach. Here's what I found out... Teauila's hula show has upgraded the show room with new light fixtures, an improved bar, and more wall decorations. The also have a new drink menu with many of our favotites listed. Bigbrotiki will want to know the place is full of Witco decorations, some I had not seen before that might have been in storage.
Now some history courtesy of Frank the bartender. The Hawaiian Inn was owned by a man named Cohen in the 60's. He may have built it. Then he sold it to a guy named Dodd who ran it until he died two years ago.
The original owners had a luau and show and came up with the mugs and tiki logo. Mr. Dodd didn't care as much for the show and thought running the bar was "a pain in the ass"; especially because the original Hawaiian show group used to live at the hotel and were always staying up late partying and annoying the guests.
Teauila's show took over after the first group was fired. This was in the late 70's or early 80's. Teauila's show was closed in the mid-90's and moved to another hotel in Daytona (not sure which one). The show came back last year when the hotel was sold by Dodd's son and re-developed into a condo-hotel. For now, Frank wants to know where they can get some inexpensive volcano bowls? They might also be interested in placing a tiki mug order, if one of our mug manufacturing members can work with them. Just let me know and I'll carry the word.

Finally went to Disney's Polynesian Resort today. We had a great time and really liked the Ohana restaurant. Luckily we showed up around 4 pm when most of the sweaty tourists and their crumbcrunchers were still in the Magic Kingdom. We order a few cocktails at the Tambu Lounge (and borrowed a menu and dozen of so napkins), then went into the dining room -- which is crammed with tikis --and had the Ohana feast of much more food than one should eat. After dinner we walked around the property's beach, waterfalls and gardens until we found a comfy hammock to relax in. When we came back inside the place was mobbed, so we retreated back home to our private tiki room. FYI: the clear happy/angry tiki goblets they use are $10. Drinks are $6.50 - $7. Dinner was $22 each but was excellent.


Hey Kailuageoff!

Well I guess you know we did NOT make it to the Outrigger. I'll email you about it. We should make it next time our place to stay is available (prob. end of April/early May). So you made it to the Polynesian! Cool. When I was there they said they didn't even sell the 2-faced goblets anymore, which I knew was wrong. I got some swizzle sticks, and paper coctail napkins, but unfortunately not a menu. I seem to remember the fabric napkins were GREAT tapa cloth designs.

Walked by the South Seas and Surfcomber motels on South Beach yesterday. Their signs are great, and many Googie elements remain.

We didn't go to the Outrigger either... out of respect for your research and consideration of your priveledge to be the first to plant the flag of tiki-central on their property. We'd love to go when you do, however. Did you get the advertisement I sent you? It is from an old map of Staurt, Florida. I thought it would be helpful because it had the name of the road they are on. There is so much stuff to look for in Miami that I didn't know about until recently... glad you were able to do some exploring this weekend.

Happy Birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday Kailuageoff, you are going to Tahiti! Well, actually the Tahitian Resort in Tarpon Springs, Fla. I'll be 43 on Saturday.

Just returned from Tarpon Springs, Fla. where we stayed at the Tahitian Resort in Holiday, Fla.; a mere 5 minutes from Tarpon's famous Sponge Docks.
Two major and unfortunate developments to report at the Tahitian Resort: 1) a new color scheme of pink and aqua trim has replaced the former beige and brown that felt much more Polynesian. 2) The huge restaurant that was next door burned down a few weeeks ago and the ruins were being hauled away during our visit. The restaurant was architecturally part of the huge Tahitian complex that the Tahitain Resort anchors. This complex also includes an office tower and multiple retirement villas (huts?). When I visited last year the resuraunt was a buffet but still had many Polynesian elements including large tiki masks on the exterior walls. The demolition company told me the place had been converted to a Country & Western bar a few months before the fire and I could still see where a bright green cactus had been painted on one of the outside walls. Whether this means the tiki masks had been removed, or were lost in the fire is a mystery. Perhaps the tiki gods immolated themselves rather than endure this awful desecration?
In any event, I strongly recommend all tiki-philes that are able to visit the resort do so in the near future, as it is hard to predict the future of this wonderful vestige of pre-Disney tiki. There is a photo of the old restaurant on my Yahoo photos page, as well as a picture of the pool area of the resort. Unfortunately, the pictures I took of the restaurant tiki masks didn't turn out last year due to poor lighting.

Here's the article from the Tampa Tribune on the fire. I'm sure there's much more to the history of this place, but this is what the reporter found out.
Fire Blamed On Power Surge (from angry tiki gods, no doubt!)
March 26, 2002
Section: PASCO
Page: 1
LISA A. [email protected]
Memo: Reporter Lisa A. Davis can be reached at (727) 815-1083.
HOLIDAY - It was the view from Anna's Family Buffet that sold Terry Hogan on buying a condominium in Tahitian Gardens 22 years ago.
The west side of the 9,000- square-foot restaurant was glass, overlooking the small lake that is the focal point of the 55-and-older community.
Hogan watched in horror early Monday as flames tore through the one-story, concrete building that most recently housed the Lakeview Rodeo Food Corral.
"I heard the biggest explosion and looked here and just screamed," she said later, as she surveyed the damage. ". . . It was so scary to see those flames shoot so high."
It took firefighters from Pasco County, New Port Richey and Tarpon Springs - 45 personnel in all - to battle the three-alarm fire, which began around 2:30 a.m., said Pasco battalion chief Michael Ciccarello. By 11 a.m., a crane was knocking down what was left of the business, while firefighters hosed down hot spots.
The building, at 2401 U.S. 19, behind the Best Western Tahitian Resort, has changed hands several times over the years. In recent months it had reopened as Lakeview Rodeo Food Corral, a restaurant and country line dance bar. The grand opening sign still hangs on its roadside marquee.
Originally, residents said, the building was the Tahitian Gardens recreation center.
All day Monday, the charred remains drew spectators who were shocked to discover how fire had ravaged it.
The heat from the blaze, which later was determined to be accidental, was so intense it melted about a half-dozen light post globes lining the pathway behind the building. Steel beams were twisted and bent. The roof had caved in. And most of what was inside was not recognizable.
Witnesses said they first saw flames shoot up from the southwest part of the building. The fire then raced across the roof to the north wall.
"You could just hear the glass tinkling as it exploded," said Jill Smith, who moved to Tahitian Gardens just a week ago. "Then that [the roof] just caved in."
No one was injured during the blaze, but a county fire investigator was taken to Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital in Tarpon Springs after twisting his knee later in the day. After getting treatment, he was sent home to rest, Ciccarello said.
Investigators from three agencies determined an electrical surge from an underground transformer shorted out the building's electrical system, causing the fire, said Ciccarello. What caused the surge is still being investigated by Florida Power, but it wasn't anything suspicious, he said.
"I was definitely a major power surge," he said.
Michael Tenore bought the property in August 2000 for $352,000, but for tax purposes the land and building are assessed at a total of $241,231, property appraiser records show. Tenore, of Martinsville, N.J., could not be reached for comment Monday.

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