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The Outrigger (Trader Vic's), Denver, CO (restaurant)

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Name:The Outrigger (Trader Vic's)
Street:The Hotel Cosmopolitan

Trader Vic's second "Outrigger" restaurant.

Opened in 1954
Changed name from "Outrigger" to "Trader Vic's" in 1960
Moved to nearby Hilton in 1978
Don the Beachcomber takes over the Cosmopolitan location in 1978.

There's an old thread for this location in General Tiki:


... but since every picture link is dead, I thought it would be wiser to start a new thread here in Locating Tiki and hopefully get folks to re-post their photos here.

ZuluMagoo has a great series of blog posts on the history of the Denver Outrigger and it's relationship to Don The Beachcomber's chain in his blog:








... although my research indicates the Outrigger opened in 1954, just prior to the Beverly Hills location, instead of the 1962 date in the blog.

Puamana has some nice scans of an early brochure on her Arkiva Tropika website:


I also recently found these two photos from a 1956 University of Boulder yearbook:

:up: Note the walrus skulls on the wall, (the walrus roamed the Rocky Mountains in vast herds during the 1950s)

:down: Here's an ad from 1956:

...and finally, a few more pictures posted elsewhere on TC:

Here's the old entrance at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, after it became Don The Beachcomber's (photo from 1982):

Please add your photos and information if you've got them.

[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2011-10-06 14:44 ]

[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2011-10-06 16:49 ]

I have collected a variety of menus from the Outrigger and the Trader Vic's at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Denver. They used quite an array of different art.

A few from the Outrigger

And some from Trader Vics

Some matchbooks.

And another postcard from the Outrigger era.

As noted by Sabu, Zulu Magoo's blog has some great info and pics on this place. You should check it out.


DC, thanks for sharing your menu collection with us! Really nice artwork. I especially like that modernist Luncheon menu.

Your welcome Sabu. This particular Trader Vic's seemed to have the most varied art of all of the locations.

I have two intact feature matchbooks from the Denver location.

One from the Outrigger.

And one from Trader Vics.


How about an ad for the Trader Vic's at the Denver Cosmo.



Great 1978 Denver Post press photo for the opening of the new Trader Vic's when it moved from the Cosmopolitan Hotel to the Hilton.


Ii saw that photo on ebay a while back, a great shot. I don't think that is from the Trader Vic's at the Hilton in Denver however.

Here is another photo from the opening of the Trader Vic's at the Hilton in Denver which is dated August 20, 1978.

The photo you posted is from January 1978 and clearly shows a restaurant that is already open.

Also, the photo looks like one the A-frame Trader Vic buildings like the one in Vancouver rather than one that is in the interior of a hotel.

A mystery location.


And while were at it, here are a few more photos from the Cosmo version of Trader Vic's circa 1963.

(Look at all the Swag on that table!)


You have to be a bit of a collector geek to appreciate this one. A red logo matchbook from Trader Vic's at the Cosmopolitan. I have seen lots of these in green, but never one in red.

Maybe to match the red menu they also had.


Just got this great old photo of the Trader Vic's Outrigger sign at the Cosmo.

Very cool Tiki art. I am thinking that this was from the period when it transitioned from The Outrigger to Trader Vic's.

Tiki history is FUN!


I spotted these drink table top cards from the Denver Outrigger on ebay that I have never seen before.

The first one is for the Gun Club Punch geared towards the outdoors huntsman.

The second one is for the Honolulu which sent me scrambling for my dictionary. Pulchritude? Huapalas?


Look at those prices!


Reviving this old thread...

I found a ton of Denver Outrigger and Trader Vic's stuff in the Denver Library archives. I'll post it all here over the next few days.

(Shameless plug... I wrote about the history of the Denver Outrigger and Trader Vic's in issues No. 1&2 of my Denver Tiki Times zine. Click here to check them out: https://tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic_id=54393

These are 4x5 negatives from the Cosmopolitan Hotel lobby and exterior on the corner of 18th and Broadway from 1960. "Ralph Morgan was a commercial photographer in the Denver area. He took photographs of businesses for promotional purposes and was the official photographer for the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Denver, Colorado."


This last photo is a color negative of Trader Vic's exterior entrance in May 1978 shortly before moving to the Denver Hilton.

"Colored transparency collection: Allen Nossaman Book 2 - May 1976. Cosmopolitan Hotel and Metropole Hotel [1890], Denver [Razed]. This entire complex, on Broadway between 17th and 18th Avenues in Denver, was known as the Cosmopolitan Hotel at the time of this photograph. This is the Broadway side of the structures, facing west. The first portion, at the right, had been built as the Metropole Hotel in 1890, containing the luxurious Broadway Theater on the ground floor. The larger section at the left was built in. The Broadway was converted to a motion picture theater, but had been closed and remodeled into Trader Vic's Restaurant by this time. The Metropole was designed by Frank Edbrooke, and was one of the first Western structures to incorporate a finished, frontal light well. (One of the unsolved puzzles about this complex, however, is how the second set of rooms left of the well in the Metropole section came to be; the structure was totally symmetrical when built and as late as 1892. This had to be an addition between 1890 and the erection of the corner section, about which not much seems to be known.) The hotel was still going strong when this view was taken, but the establishment closed New Year's Eve, 1983, and the entire complex was razed in March that year. (Fortunately, I have some later pictures of this complex that are better-exposed.)


[ Edited by AcmeTiki on 2023-11-27 09:04:32 ]

[ Edited by AcmeTiki on 2023-11-27 09:06:26 ]


Those are fantastic AT...Thanks for sharing.


The full menu from the Denver Outrigger in the Cosmopolitan Hotel, probably from the 50s or 60s.

1 Outrigger_Front2 Outrigger_Inside3 Outrigger_Insert4 Outrigger_Back

The full menu from the Denver Trader Vic's. Not sure of the date or if this was the Cosmo or Hilton location.


In invitation for Trader Vic's Chinese New Year - February 22, 1977.


[ Edited by AcmeTiki on 2023-11-27 09:19:33 ]

[ Edited by AcmeTiki on 2023-11-27 09:28:41 ]


Various newspaper ads for the Denver Outrigger Room and Trader Vic's circa the 50s and 60s.



Here are various photos of Trader Vic Bergeron from the Rocky Mountain News archives. Some are from the Denver Outrigger and Trader Vic's, some aren't. I've Photoshopped the fronts and backs of the photos together for reference.

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Here are a bunch of 1960s photos of the Denver Outrigger and Trader Vic's employees from the Rocky Mountain News archives. I've photoshopped the fronts and backs of the photos together for reference.

4B79ED6D-E218-410F-A528-0EF622EA9A83_1_105_c 6B146F27-DD59-4673-B063-1F1B7A60A05C_1_105_c IMG_0170 IMG_0171 IMG_0176


These are photos of Denver Outrigger and Trader Vic's manager Leo Goto from the 1960s. Leo was legendary in the Denver restaurant scene. Born in Sacramento CA, his family were forced into Japanese internment camp in Ft. Lupton, CO during WWII. Goto’s career had a humble start: washing dishes in the Denver Outrigger while attending the University of Denver. He quickly earned the trust and respect of owner Victor Bergeron, who promoted him to general manager and enlisted him to help open additional locations of the upscale eatery in London, Houston and Portland. In 1969, Goto ventured into restaurant ownership with the opening Leo’s Place at 16th and Broadway. Leo’s Place became an instant hit, drawing nightly Who’s Who crowds until the property was condemned to make way for an RTD station and high-rise buildings.

Here are some quotes I found online after his passing:

“Leo was a marvelous greeter with an incredible memory. He knew everyone’s story; plus, he was a real sweet guy,” said longtime friend and business partner Larry Atler.

Goto was “the consumate host,” adds restaurant consultant John Imbergamo. “He was the superstar face of restaurants long before restaurants started to be identified by their chefs.”

“Leo was a mentor to many current restaurant owners and employees,” said CRA president/CEO Peter Meersman. “He always put others first,” added Holly Arnold Kinney, whose late father, Sam Arnold, owner of The Fort, had been one of Goto’s best friends.

"Makes me very said because I knew Leo back all the way to Trader Vics. He was a consummate restauranteur and a pillar of the community. I think all the classy front of the house guys are gone (including Paul Attardi most recently). Not many gracious hosts these days IMO just a bunch of teenagers who don't have a clue." –Denver Dave, The Denver Westword

You can read more about Leo Goto here: https://www.denverpost.com/2013/03/06/leo-goto-dies-denver-restaurateur-was-philanthropist-and-friend/

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[ Edited by AcmeTiki on 2023-11-28 16:55:28 ]

Here are interior photos of the Denver Trader Vic's.

The first one is from the Cosmopolitan Hotel in 1969.


These two are from 1980 in the Denver Hilton location. Unfortunately, I couldn't track down the actual photos. I reprinted this Rocky Mountain News article in my zine.


Here are photos of different Denver Trader Vic's managers over the years.

Victor Bergeron III


Robert Niederhauser

"Niederhauser is young, (25 according to the press release) good looking and enthusiastic. Despite his age he is the no stranger to the restaurant and hotel world, and in the short time here he has made several changes in the restaurant. Niederhauser, a native Mexico, born of a German father and a Swiss mother, attended the University of Denver School of Hotel and Restaurant Management and worked in several locations for Western International Hotels in Mexico, including the Camino Real in Juarez and Hotel Alameda in Mexico City."

IMG_0179 219D3AB5-6C4A-4854-9FB1-13C52766850C_1_105_c

Lynn Bergeron


Steve Jung

"Steve Yung was named manager of the Denver Trader Vic’s. Steve has been a friendly and familiar face in the eating establishment for the past 14 years. He started as a bartender and worked his way up to that of bar manager. In 1967 Steve spent several months in Dallas setting up the operation for Trader's in that city.”


[ Edited by AcmeTiki on 2023-11-29 18:40:52 ]

Here are a number of newspaper articles from the Denver Library archives. I think, if you right click and select "open image in new tab," you can zoom in to read them.

1958-Expanded-Outrigger-2_3-DPost-12-14-58 1966-DPost-2-8-66 IMG_0422 IMG_0430 IMG_0434 IMG_0452 IMG_0454 IMG_0455 International-Jewish-News_1967-12-22 IMG_0435 IMG_0446

[ Edited by AcmeTiki on 2023-11-29 19:38:21 ]

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