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Tiki Central / Locating Tiki

Black Pearl, Chicago, IL (restaurant)

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Name:Black Pearl
Street:590 Diversey Pwky


I came across a matchbook from the Black Pearl restaurant in Chicago some time ago and clipped the image.

I had never heard anything more about the place until recently when these two menus surfaced on ebay.

The yellow drink menu looks like a picture of a Tiki that may have been used at the restaurant.

James T has a Black Pearl listed in Tiki Road Trip II but it is not this one. Anybody got any more info?

The address is now a medical/dental clinic.


[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2013-01-07 18:29 ]



Yeah, the Black Pearl in the suburb of Schaumburg was a modern-era place that came and went pretty fast.

I wonder if their name was inspired by this vintage place?
Interesting to ponder, too bad I wasn't in the loop about the classic-era place when I visited the Schaumburg one; I would have asked.


So many places to research, so little time.

Wow I was just googling this place for kicks because my dad used to take me here as a kid, and was friends with the owner. Thanks for the matchbook, great keepsake.

Here is a different matchbook from the Black Pearl showing the Trader Vic's style Tiki.

Research online shows that the Black Pearl operated as early as 1963.


Found an article on the Black Pearl from 1963.

They had a Tiki Room and Chef Jimmy came from the Trader Vic's in San Francisco.

And it included a photo of the interior.


I love how the reviewer notes that the singer is not really Hawaiian but that it is the illusion that matters :)

It would be interesting to create a family tree of how many Tiki places throughout the States, starting with the Mai Kai and the Kahiki, were staffed by ex Don & Vic employees.

On 2014-11-16 21:47, bigbrotiki wrote:
It would be interesting to create a family tree of how many Tiki places throughout the States, starting with the Mai Kai and the Kahiki, were staffed by ex Don & Vic employees.


I was thinking that same idea when I posted this. A few more famous locations that immediately come to mind with ex Don and Vic employees are Tiki Ti, Tiki Bobs and the Stockton Islander. I think this would be a great thread, there are many more.



Aloha everyone.
We've not been around much recently, life has been keeping us very, VERY busy, but this was too good not to share.
I just discovered this 1963 photo of the Black Pearl in Chicago from the archives of the Chicago Tribune. It looks like it was another shot taken the same time as the one taken above (appears to be the same patrons) however, it clearly shows an Andres Bumatay carving on the wall!

That is pretty cool in my book, but even cooler though is the fact that this carving looks to me like it was the basis of the classic OMC mug which has been found marked from Hala Kahiki, The Islander, JPCO., as well as unmarked. That mug has long been one of my absolute favorites, and Bumatay's carvings some of the most eccentric, imaginative of all the early independent carvers. We even took that mug design as inspiration for the Tiki Quest mug.

From the above image it looks like the carving was featured on their menu cover. Could it possibly be that this very carving was the inspiration/ origin of the mug?!? The very fact that this carving existed and was once here in Chicago is going to cause me to lose sleep. I refuse to concede that it could have ended up in a landfill and would rather believe that it is around here somewhere in someone’s basement waiting for us to rediscover it.

Interesting to see that they used the Trader Vic's style of soy sauce container.

Great photo! That would be quite a find if that Bumatay tiki turned up somewhere. One of my all time favorite designs. Thanks for posting this!

i saw this slide on ebay a few months back- clearly shows another carved bumatay about the same size- seller did not know where it was from. does not look like the black pearl but i could be wrong - tikis get moved around all the time in places. - or there must be more than one bumatay carving floating around out there.

[ Edited by: Tipsy McStagger 2015-06-28 06:21 ]

Another menu style with the Bumatay Tiki on the cover spotted from the Black Pearl, complete with the tropical drink selections.


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