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Junkanoo, Washington, DC (restaurant)

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Street:1629 Connecticut Avenue

There is an old Tiki Archeology thread about the Junkanoo restaurant that Sabu and Puamana started years ago under General Tiki. All of the images are gone in that thread so I thought I should start a new one here under Locating Tiki.

The Junkanoo restaurant was located at 1629 Connecticut Avenue at Dupont Circle in the late 1960s. Apparently it was some pretty pricey real estate during that era. It was demolished in 1987-88. I got really interested in this place when I won this old news photo of the exterior on ebay.

The exterior had some cool thatched entrances and the signature Tiki - Witch Doctor logo on the outside of the building. You can see the menu in the shadow box by the front door.

Here is the menu from Mimi Paynes website.

The Junkanoo offered a signature mug made by Wellsville China. There are a few examples on Ooga Mooga, these are from the collections of eab21 and Kohalacharms.

Now the intriguing part of the Junkanoo story is the 1974 scandal involving Representative Wilbur Mills that embroiled Washington DC. Mills went partying at the Junkanoo with an Argentinian stripper who later jumped out of Mills car into the Tidal Basin river at 2:00 in the morning after being pulled over by the police. The incident ruined Mills career.

Here is the photo and the story.

Wilbur Mills and Fanne Foxe, talks with newsmen and photographers, outside her dressing room at the Pilgrim Theater. December 1st 1974.

Mark Sanfords Argentine affair seems to recall the Tidal Basin incidence where another Argentinean woman who killed the political career of powerful Representative Wilbur Mills (D-Arkansas). It wasn=t the most famous indiscretion in Senate History, but it was no less embarrassing. On the night of October 9, 1974, Mills and his stripper friend Annabelle Battistella (better known as Fanne Foxe or the Argentine Firecracker) were stopped by Park Police in D.C. because the driver had not turned on the lights. When police approached the car, Foxe leapt from the car and jumped into the nearby Tidal Basin in an attempt to escape.
Despite the scandal, Mills was re-elected to Congress in November 1974 in a heavily Democratic year helped by the Watergate scandal. On November 30, Mills visited Foxe at a Boston strip club, The Pilgrim Theatre; he received a kiss on the cheek on stage. In light of this second encounter, Mills (and his alcoholism) was viewed as a liability in the upcoming election and stripped of his chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee. He did not seek re-election in 1976. It was an ignominious downfall for someone who had once been considered a presidential contender.

Foxe, who was promised a movie career by the congressman, changed her name to the Tidal Basin Bombshell and wrote a book, AThe Stripper and the Congressman.

The story from my photo.

There's nothing better than a drunken political scandal involving a Tiki restaurant and a stripper!


Thanks for updating this thread and moving it to Locating Tiki. It's always disappointing to see the small thumbnail pics and red X's on those old threads.

In my research I have often found a Tiki bar/strip club/burlesque show/go-go dancer type connection.

I humorously think of that Happy Days episode where Richie sneaks into a club. He is so disappointed at the amount of clothing removed but he still brags to his friends at the wild time he had.

Nice work, Dusty, Your post has it all: Exterior photo, the menu, the mug...AND a stripper scandal !

(Be careful this thread doesn't get moved to Bilge - Junkanoo is a Caribbean term! :lol: )

I stumbled upon the Junkaroo last year while looking for inspiration for the Menu Art Swap


Here's a shot of another of those Tiki mugs but this one is taller and what I think is the rarer version:

This mug was recently on Ebay and sold for about $75. I didn't think that was too bad considering you don't see these mugs too often at all and they were probably made in low numbers. Crappy photos but you can still see the details. The base is marked just as the above photo.

The shorter version of this mug can also be seen much clearer in this cool postcard of Shanghai Lil's Restaurant I have:

I wonder if the one above was specifically marked for Shanghai's or not? Maybe it just didn't have the "Junkanoo" name on it but was otherwise marked the same on the base.

From Dusty's post above, it seems like it was quite the place with an intersting history.






Hey DC,

I've been combing through a lot of posts lately for photos for a small personal project and, as this thread so amply illustrates, I'm reminded that your contributions to TC are considerable. Just wanted to let you know that we are appreciative of all the old photos, matchbooks, menus, news clippings, etc that you have managed to dig up and post here. It really is quite a treasure trove when viewed as a whole. Mahalo!!



Thanks for the props, I enjoy doing it and appreciate that you appreciate the work. What kind of project you working on?


just a link to an earlier collecting thread.

Matchbook.. Lists a second location on Bay Street in Nassau, Bahamas. Or maybe that's just the parade street?



I just found the short version of the mug out thrifting yesterday---for some reason I thought it was a modern mug even though it had the same markings as the one pictured in this thread. Glad this thread got bounced back up to the top :)


Funny, I saw the mug you posted & wondered what it was. Is it marked Junkanoo on the bottom?


Yup it has the same markings as the oone shown here. I almost passed on it because I thought it was Made in China or so other such maker. Glad I bought it..for $0.75. :wink:


found a pre-demo photo of the junkanoo online: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kinorama/4359238027/

dated 1988.

Another photo of the Junkanoo at the end....


that is some beautiful tragedy.

We have one of these mugs but it is blank on the bottom, Wendy

Pages: 1 17 replies