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Beef ‘n’ Reef, Cocoa Beach, FL (restaurant)

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Name:Beef ‘n’ Reef
Street:3900 N Atlantic Ave
City:Cocoa Beach

James Billet opened the Beef ‘n’ Reef in Cocoa Beach on September 1973. It featured full Polynesian décor with exotic drinks, food and live entertainment on weekends. Wayne Coombs, legendary Space Coast Tiki carver, provided the initial 12 tall Tikis for the restaurant, as noted in another TC thread posted by kahukini in 2002 (http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=289&forum=4&vpost=2724&hilite=beef)

Here’s an article from the archives describing the opening experience...

Florida Today September 21, 1973

Kono posted a menu in this TC thread back in 2005, but the image link is broken (it would be great if someone could fix it or re-post the image): http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=1099&forum=5&vpost=181193&hilite=beef

After opening, a few adjustments were made...

Florida Today January 7, 1974

Here’s an article overviewing the competition at the time...

Florida Today April 27, 1974

And here are some representative ads over the years, all from Florida Today...

October 7, 1973

October 28, 1973

November 23, 1973

December 30, 1973

October 11, 1974

January 24, 1975

February 15, 1975

October 8, 1975

October 31, 1975

Thought you might appreciate this article on Wayne Coombs that includes mention of his work for the Beef ‘n’ Reef...

Florida Today July 13, 1973

Next, the Beef ‘n’ Reef is sold...


Great post. Can't wait for more. I think if my publication's name was "Brevard After Dark", I would elect not to use the acronym. I love the ads with the wind-blown palm and tiki. Very simple but evocative. Please submit this place to critiki. I looked for it there and there's nothing.


Nice work, Tom!
Some great archival stuff there!
Here's a matchbook from our collection:


Mahalo, kenbo-jitsu. When I finish my research, I’ll email humuhumu to see if she’s interested in adding the Beef ’n’ Reef to critiki.

Jonpaul, many thanks for bringing us the first color image of an artifact from this lost little land of Tiki. It sure brings life to a thread thus far immersed in drab microfiche black & white.

Here’s the Beef ‘n’ Reef drink recipe for a “Blue Hawaii”...

Florida Today July 14, 1974

Marvin Argo, who’s listed as owner-manager above, evidently had some interest in the restaurant from the beginning, but James Billet seemed to be the owner of record. Argo was also the manager of the Hibiscus restaurant, contained within the Cocoa Beach Country Club. According to a 1973 article, the Hibiscus was “a quiet restaurant in Cocoa Beach with a beautiful view of the Banana River, a subdued Hawaiian décor, very good food and waitresses so attentive you almost wished they’d get lost for a while.” The article goes on to note...

Florida Today August 17, 1973

Here’s some more representative Florida Today ads from early 1977...

January 23, 1977

February 4, 1977

April 19, 1977

In August 1977, the Beef ‘n’ Reef was sold to Don Kirwan and Joan West for $300,000...

Florida Today August 30, 1977

The new owners retained the Polynesian theme, with some changes...

Florida Today September 22, 1978

Next, the Beef ’n’ Reef is sold yet again...



In less than two years, the Beef ‘n’ Reef changed hands yet again, this time completing its devolution from Polynesian Pop origins. Bernie Lavin purchased the property in April 1979 and immediately began changing the décor, menu and drinks...

Florida Today May 1, 1979

He initially renamed it Bernie’s Beef ‘n’ Reef. The ads in Florida Today changed accordingly...

May 12, 1979

May 22, 1979

May 22, 1979

In July 1979, a new restaurant name was announced, The Dunes...

Florida Today July 29, 1979

Florida Today ads started appearing with the new name in August 1979...

August 5, 1979

August 12, 1979

In another two years, The Dunes was sold to Ken Rudin and Bill Peters, who reopened it in August 1981 as The Greenhouse Restaurant and Lounge...

Florida Today July 21, 1981

Florida Today August 25, 1981

Florida Today September 17, 1982

Next, the final reincarnation of the Beef ‘n’Reef...



In June 1984, Mike Boukedis announced that he had bought the property formerly known as The Greenhouse Restaurant and Lounge (and originally known as the Beef ‘n’ Reef). In July 1984, he reopened it as the G’Kedis Family Restaurant, already a landmark Cocoa Beach eatery that he relocated to the new property from across the street. The name, G’Kedis, was derived from a contraction of Mike’s father’s name, George Boukedis...

Florida Today June 15, 1984

Florida Today August 10, 1984

From Tikis in the old Beef ‘n’ Reef to togas in the G’Kedis...

Florida Today July 19, 1985

After five-and-a-half years at the new location, the G’Kedis Family Restaurant went into bankruptcy, according to a January 1, 1990 article in the Orlando Sentinel. I was unable to find any reference to a successor, although there was a notice of a US Government Small Business Administration auction of the property on September 6, 1995.

Today, the original restaurant building is gone. There is a remnant building from 1974 located on the southwest corner of the property that may have been used by James Billet, the original owner of the Beef ‘n’ Reef, for his retail lighting business, Imagination, Inc. The property is located about three blocks south of the SR520 Causeway, on the west side of A1A, immediately south of the existing McDonald’s and across the street from the existing Comfort Inn & Suites.

According to the records of the Brevard County Tax Appraiser, the property is now owned by Ron Jon Surf Shop of Florida and the remnant building is used as a warehouse. Ron Jon’s main retail complex is on the east side of A1A about a block north of the property.

It would be great if TC members could search their collections for photos, menus, and the like and post images as Jonpaul did for the really cool Tiki matchbook cover.


Nice research!

I have a feeling this place must be related to the earlier "Islander Beef and Grog" further down Atlantic Ave.


Aloha, Sabu! How did I miss you at Hukilau 2011?

Great matchbook cover. Funny you should post on the Islander Beef & Grog, as that's been one of my ongoing research projects. Soon I plan to add a thread to this forum with the findings. Hopefully you can re-post the matchbook cover in that thread.

The Beef 'n' Reef and the Islander Beef & Grog were Cocoa Beach competitors from the mid-1970s to circa 1980. They had different owners and each took a different approach, although they both were quite popular and featured exotic drinks, menu and decor. Other things in common: Wayne Coombs decorated both restaurants and one of the bartenders served a spell in each. The Space Coast was awash with glorious Poly pop restaurants in those days, with the Moon Islander active in Titusville, while the Beef 'n' Reef and Islander Beef & Grog were going strong in Cocoa Beach. The Samoa's time had passed by then, from what I can tell. It's (the Samoa's) advertising focused primarily on exotic (topless) entertainment at the end.


Hi Tom,

I don't know how I missed you at Hukilau either. I'll have to make a point to find you at next year's event.

I had no idea that the "Beef and Reef" & "Beef & Grog" were tiki competitors! And the "Beef and Grog" is obviously not as old as I thought it was. Thanks for clearing up the mystery and thanks again for the great research.

[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2011-09-14 23:40 ]

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