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Chin Tiki Reopening?

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Tiki D posted on Sun, Jun 1, 2003 9:31 PM

hello everyone-
I just wanted to let everyone know that I have recieved two phone calls from two different family members saying that they saw a news story about the Chin Tiki reopening. They said that they had actually done an interview with Marvin Chin (the owner) in the story.
I know that the inside is still intact and when I went by it a couple of weeks ago I saw some bags of concrete around the entrance, but I had no idea that a reopening was in the works. I tried calling the news station today with no luck but plan on trying again tomorrow to get to the botttom of this. I will let you know what I find out.


I've been hearing the same story myself. I nearly ran off the road when my friend told me the news!!! Too cool a REAL Tiki bar in Detroit again! Keep us posted if you find out more news.





Of course, you'll have to hang out there with Eminem and his posse.



Enima M probably wouldn't know his tiki from his tinky winky!



To further substantiate this story...

My brother saw the door open over there on Saturday and stopped to see what was going on. He spoke with Marvin Chin who was there with a couple workmen fixing things up. Apparently the plan is that they will reopen within the year-- They still have the liquor license and all systems are go.

So-- Very Good News! Detroit could use a first-rate Tiki Bar.

My only concern (as someone else mentioned) is that they will try to cater to the Eminem crowd. We'll see...

For additional discussion see:


You can bet I'll be there at the opening party! Woohoooooooooo!

For new users of the forum, there is a review of Mr. Chin's other tiki restuarant on my website, tikifish.com....


I live less than a mile from the Chin's restaurant in Livonia and eat there occasionally. I'd have to say the decor is amazing, the drinks ok and the food is sometimes good and sometimes average.

Looks like I'll have to start lurking around the Chin Tiki and see if I can get in.

All you Detroiters should be sure to stop in at the Cat's Meow in Royal Oak for all your Tiki needs. They carry lots of cool stuff from Tiki Farm, etc. The owners are personal friends and some of the nicest people I know.

[ Edited by: mattfink on 2003-06-02 13:22 ]

it's definitely re-opening; the owner guesses it will be ready in about three months.

i'm a reporter from detroit and i'm doing a story on it, and the owner just let me come down and wander around.

it was amazing!! unlike anything i've ever seen in my life...truly gorgeous! two waterfalls, collectables crammed in every corner, stunning rattan bars and five foot tall tiki idols...truly a joy to explore! there was a layer of dust on everything, and it smelled pretty musty, but overall everything looked in remarkably good condition.

thejab posted on Mon, Jun 2, 2003 4:38 PM

That would be great if it opened before Exotica 2003 in Chicago! That's just shy of 3 months away. I would drive for 5 hours to go there!

Tiki D posted on Mon, Jun 2, 2003 5:53 PM

thanks for the great info. that is great to know that it still looks so good after all of these years. please keep us updated if you hear anything else.

i just live a few miles from Chin's myself. small world. also i stopped into the cat's meow this afternoon and picked up a cool vintage Harvey's mug. Keith was telling me about how he was still recovering from your Tiki party this weekend. Good times, Goodtimes!



No kidding! You'll have to come to the next Tiki bash we have.

[ Edited by: mattfink on 2003-06-03 07:31 ]


Thejab - if it is open and you go after (or before) Exotica let me (and the Detroit contingent here) know as we will be stopping in Detroit on our way to Chicago - we could all go at the same time, make it sort of a side-event or pre-event of Exotica for those of us from da north.



Here's why Keith is still recovering:

thejab posted on Tue, Jun 3, 2003 1:17 PM

On 2003-06-03 08:07, tikifish wrote:
Thejab - if it is open and you go after (or before) Exotica let me (and the Detroit contingent here) know as we will be stopping in Detroit on our way to Chicago - we could all go at the same time, make it sort of a side-event or pre-event of Exotica for those of us from da north.

Sounds great! It would most likely be after Exotica because we are flying into Chicago on Thursday, August 21 but we are open about when we depart on our road trip back (my plan is to stay in Chitown about a week).



Look me up at Exotica 2003 and I'll take you to both Chin's locations...granted they're both open by then!


Tiki D posted on Wed, Jun 4, 2003 7:43 PM

i am writing because i just came back from a tour of the Chin Tiki. i stopped by on my way home from work and saw the main door was open. there was a locked metal gate to keep people out. i yelled in and who answered but Marvin Chin. i introduced myself and told him how many people were already talking about the opening. the way his face lit up was priceless. he let me in and led me upstairs where i was free to look around. there were fish floats, puffer fish and lobster traps all over. standing alone in the corner were five 6 ft tall carved pine Tikis. there was also an impressive 15 ft waterfall.

Marvin was extremely nice and seemed very proud of his establishment. everything definitely needs some sprucing up but will be ready to go in no time. if i hear anything about grand openings i will let you know and we can meet up for a Mai Tai.

All this talk about the Chin Tiki reopening is extremely exciting. I bet once the place is open it will feel like walking straight into a time warp!

Ok, so I've heard some disturbing rumors about the reopening of Chins in Detroit:

  1. Chin's no longer has a liquor liscense for the restaurant.

  2. There will be no food due the cost of refurbising the kitchen.

  3. The Chin family is actually trying to lease the building out to someone who has a liquor liscense and who will be running the club.

  4. A considerable amount of "tiki" was stolen during the filming of 8-Mile. Enough to make a difference...

Anyone who can dispell these rumors please do so as I want to believe they just aren't true.



So close to home...I'm intrigued! Will keep an eye out for more news.


Please keep us informed!! Is there any Tiki in your neck of the woods?

thejab posted on Wed, Jul 9, 2003 5:46 PM

Any news yet on Chin Tiki reopening? Any news on the rumors of no liquor license or food (as posted last month)? If it's open I'll be driving there on Monday, August 25th. Hope we can visit it together tikifish, mattfink, and other folks from the area.


Well folks, it doesn't look good. I went to the Tigers game tonight (insert joke here) and I strolled by the Chin Tiki. There was a sign on the door that said that any venture capitalists or entrepreneurs interested in the sight should call their number. So the rumor about the owner looking for another buyer sounds like it might be true. I just worry that if somebody comes along and buys the place, they will forget about it's history and we'll end up with something very far from Tiki. :cry:


Looks like I wont be going to Detroit after all this summer. Unless I can come up with a million bucks to buy the place. :(


This is sad news. Detroit doesn't have a very evolved restaurant scene so I think if anyone bought it it would likely turn into another Fishbones or Brew Pub or something. I hope that's not the case, but I just have a bad feeling!



I was afraid that this was too good to be true. With more Tiki bars closing than opening, i thought the news of the Chin reopening sounded strange. However, i (naively) thought that there might be hope. But alas, it looks like i was wrong; which won't be the first time.

I heard yesterday from a reliable source that Chin Tiki is officialy NOT opening, and the owners are looking to sell the porperty. All of the work being done in there lately was to make it look presentable for potential buyers.

This is NOT from the owner himself, so this isn't the final word, but the guy who told me this is usually pretty accurate and doesn't run his trap unless it's solid data. Let's hope he is wrong for once, I'd be happy to be mistaken about this one.


...it sounded too good to be true...Detroit, the land of disappointment...


well, more chin tiki speculation:

i'm meeting with marvin, the owner, at the chin tiki today...he says he still plans to reopen it, and is looking for a financial backer (hence the posted sign) but is NOT looking to sell the place. i'll know more after my meeting.

and in case you didn't see my other post: i'm writing an article on tiki for detroit's metro times, and would love to interview and photograph any detroit tikiphiles - contact me at [email protected] if interested.

i'll snap a couple of shots at the chin tiki today and see if i can post them here. it truly is a wonder to see!


Does anyone know the status of the Chin Tiki now?

I did the chin tiki tour after the detroit tiki show, it is amazing! got a lot of video. if things were stolen from there I couldnt tell. it was packed with tikis and old witco stuff. anyways Mr.Chin was trying to talk his son into runnning the place.by the look of pride in that old mans face, I would have to say he wont let it go.

Oh yeah, i think the wife got lots of pic's too. she is in washington until sunday. we'll try to post them for you then.


Like Chisel Slinger said...the after show tour was UNREAL! Tons of cool stuff still there! Mr.Chin was super cool and seemed somewhat amazed at all the enthusiasm everyone was displaying. It seemed like the big decision was being left to his son...hopefully he will step up and open it!

thejab posted on Thu, Jun 2, 2005 5:33 PM

Things are looking bad for the Chin Tiki. The National Trust for Historic Preservation released its annual Most Endangered Historic Places List today. The buildings in downtown Detroit made the list. There are over 200 buildings there on the national register of historic sites. One of the buildings made the most endangered list last year and is now gone (the Madison Lenox), and the Statler Hilton is being demolished right now. The city plans to demolish 100 buildings by the 2006 Super Bowl!

The full list:


Ah, yes– PROGRESS! God bless those forward thinking city planners... and the selfless developers too!


P.S. We just lost another Keck house in Flossmoor. The McMansion next door made it look puny, so they knocked it down to build a ridiculously oversize eyesore much too big for the lot.

P.S.S. They appear to be taking down the Tonga Trader (the long-closed sister bar right next to the Hala Kahiki), let's hope it stops there. If we loose the Hala Kahiki, Amy, Logan and I may just leave Chicago and move in with Swanky and work in his new Tiki restaurant. I'm sure he would not mind.

Pages: 1 33 replies