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Name:Mauna Kai
Street:6870 Main Street
City:Williamsville 21

There does not seem to be much information on this location, but I have noticed some of their plates on another thread.

The back of the menu is imprinted "Mauna Kai Room" inc with the address on Main St. Under that is a stamp that reads:

Explorer East Restaurant
1104-4 Erie Blvd.
Syracuse, N.Y.

Very curious.
Restaurantware can be seen here...

Not much out there but I did come by this mention on the YesterCuse.com website. The restaurants were connected at one time. Maybe some more info will come out.

On the block bounded by Erie Boulevard East, East Water Street, University Avenue and Walnut Avenue, there was once an Polynesian-themed restaurant and nightclub. The restaurant was razed in the 1960s or 1970s. Today, the entire block is a wide, featureless, grassy median that no longer even has sidewalks. Because of its exposure to the traffic of Erie Boulevard, it makes for a poor location to relax.

(above) "Shangri-La East Gardens - 1104 Erie Blvd., E. at Univ. Ave. - Syracuse, N.Y. - TEL. 476-4244 - An adventure in decor. Delightful and warm. American and Polynesian food. Tropical drinks. Intriguing, delicious, taste pleasers. Open weekdays - noon 'til 1 a.m. Weekends 'til 3 a.m. - Music and Dancing"

(right) "Explorer East - 1104 Erie Blvd E.
An Adventure in Decor -- Delightful and Warm Intriguing, Delicious, Taste Pleasers
American & Polynesian Foods - Explore the Exotic Tropical Drinks"

Sorry about the small pics but that's what was on the site.

The mystery of Explorer East has puzzled me for a long time. There is a plate in Tiki Quest on page 121* and ever since I saw that I’ve wondered where this place was? Last summer while doing a Google search for it I came across a closed ebay auction** featuring a creamer and the Tiki on it has a kinda a serious Abraham Lincoln look about him which is different than the Tiki on the plate. The auction had ended around $8.00 Grrr! :evil:

Oh Jackson China you made cool stuff.

Anyway I was hoping that it would a nice addition to the Big Ten post making it The Big Eleven but so far all we have is tableware which is actually really good start. :)

  • I apologize for not having a scanner in 2010.
    ** Yes Dusty Cajun I am a hypocrite.


Need to see the menu on the post! I am adding for you, as well as Big Kahuna's plate.

Get some more scans of it will ya.



I have a scanner and don't worry, I don't think of you as a hypocrite.*
Here is the Explorer East plate from Tiki Quest.

*It should really be the Big 12 with the Beachcomber and Hawaii Kai!


So I guess the Mauna Kai and the Explorer East were sister restaurants, all though none of the Explorer East items I have seen mention the Mauna Kai.

Here are a few more items I saw on ebay.

A dinner and drink menu set.

And a matchbook.

Looks like they were trying to cover all of the culinary bases with the Chinese and Polynesian Room, the Sayonara Room for Japanese food, and, for those meat loving Americans, the Sir Aurthur Room for steaks and chops. That's funny!


I finally managed to find one of the drink menus from the Mauna Kai Room. The cover again.

And the back. This one does not have the Explorer East stamp that is on Bongo Fury's menu.

There are some great drink illustrations with some poetic drink descriptions throughout the menu, so I did some close ups.

All of the Tiki art in the repeating border is borrowed from Steven Crane's Luau and Kon Tiki restaurants.


[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2011-08-05 16:39 ]


Here's a Mauna-Kai version of the Explorer East plate.

Different color and of course the different name. No doubt there's a connection between the two restaurants...

Here's the Explorer East plate for comparison:

[ Edited by: Tattoo 2013-09-22 14:39 ]

OMGosh..!! This is WILD… my parents owned the Mauna Kai in Williamsville, NY many, many moons ago..!!

Swanky posted on Fri, May 2, 2014 6:12 AM

I hope you have things to share with us about this location!


Shanghai-La and Explorer East in Syracuse were my dad's restaurants!

Cathyzie - it's great to have you posting here! Can you share any photos or other details of your family's restaurants with us?


I have some of the same menus. I will have to look. I may have other photos. I may even have the "recipes" for the Polynesian drinks. :)

On 2015-07-10 16:12, Cathyzie wrote:
I have some of the same menus. I will have to look. I may have other photos. I may even have the "recipes" for the Polynesian drinks. :)

That would be awesome!! And welcome to TC.


I have some of the same menus. I will have to look. I may have other photos. I may even have the "recipes" for the Polynesian drinks. :)

Welcome to TC. Here are some old newspaper ads from Explorer East.

Grand opening in 1965.

First year 1966.

New Years 1967.

The band.


On 2015-07-10 07:28, Cathyzie wrote:
Shanghai-La and Explorer East in Syracuse were my dad's restaurants!

My mom worked at Shangri-la in the early 70's and my brother was a busboy. Our parents probably knew each other!

Finally some postcard images of the interior of the Mauna Kai! Some cool stuff in the bar area with the Tiki bridge, Tiki poles, PNG art and lighting. And of course, the outrigger canoe buffet in the dining room.


Mauna Kai PC 2Mauna Kai PC 1

And while were at it, a better image of the Explorer East postcard.

Explorer East PC

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