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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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Mug-collectors know this restaurant for the unique parrot-shaped mugs that turn up frequently on E-bay. But I didn't know what a great piece of Polynesian-Pop architecture resided in Cherry Hill, New Jersey until I began acquiring postcards from the Hawaiian Cottage.


Check out the cool pineapple and coconut-shaped domes on the roof. This restaurant existed from 1938-1978, thus spanning both the pre-tiki and tiki eras. The postcard reads:

"Hawaiian Cottage Restaurant". Route 38 - Delaware Township, P.O. Merchantville, NJ. Unexcelled Food in an Enchanting Atmosphere of the Paradise Isles of the Pacific"

Here's a view of the interior from 1966 (between 1960 and 1966 the name of the city changes from Merchantville to Cherry Hill):
]
"Authentic Hawaiian Music and Revue - Floor Show - Continuous Entertainment - Dancing - Continental and Polynesian Cuisine)"

Here is a souvenir photo-folder from the restaurant. I've been finding these frequently from Polynesian restaurants in the 1940s and 1950s, though this is my latest - dated at 1960. Were souvenir photos part of an earlier era? Or does anyone have evidence that they were offered in restaurants during the 1960s and 1970s as well?


I like this shot because it's candid and shows that leis were actually given to patrons every day, not just when staging photos for postcards. On the table you can see some nice air-brushed tropical plates, probably by the Syracuse or Jackson China company:

Beautiful air-brushed plates and cups show up all the time on E-bay, and you know they were used in tiki restaurants - but because they're unmarked, there's no way to tell which ones, except by these old photos and postcards. Here's the text from the postcard folder:

Hawaiian Cottage - A theater-restaurant - where the decor creates an atmosphere of the fascinating Paradise Isles of the Pacific. Polynesians perform exotic dances and sing ancient chants of the islands. while dining in this tropical setting, you receive the impression of actually being in Hawaii"

And finally here's a picture of the mug from Mike's mug gallery:

Mike also has this helpful text with the mug:

"From the Hawaiian Cottage restaurant in New Jersey. Located on Rt. 38 in South New Jersey, this restaurant and club was started by Michael and Mary Egidi in 1938. For 40 years is was a popular, family run place with a giant pineapple dome roof and a luau show and dancing. Unfortunately it burned down July 1, 1978 in an early morning fire, and was not rebuilt."

That's all the info I have right now, but I bet you anything that puamana has a menu from this place.

Sabu


[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy on 2003-07-10 12:55 ]

T

Nice find Sabu! Here is a article I found it's from a few years ago it gives a little more background and info... Cool, under the pineapple was the gift shop.

I asked my mom about it, she remembers it. She said it was very popular with kids after the prom. It burnt down right before The Latin Casino nightclub closed down.

[ Edited by: tikimug on 2003-07-10 14:06 ]

P

That's a great souvenir photograph & folder! The souvenir photos I have are all older,
as well, mostly from the '50's...maybe it was mostly from an earlier era.

Here's a menu, postcard, & matchcover from the Hawaiian Cottage. First up is a dinner menu:

The back has a nice old view of Hawaii:

The inside of the menu has a great illustration on the top, showing almost the same view as Sabu's photo folder:

It is a slightly different illustration ( both restaurant sign & arrow sign are in different places,
driveway is slightly curved on left, more details in trees,bulding view at slightly different angle, etc.)
which means that this view was illustrated twice, perhaps by the same artist ?

Also on the menu is just a small list of cocktails:

I wonder if there was a separate drink menu, and which one was served in the parrot mug...

Next up is a linen postcard from the Hawaiian Cottage, showing the bar area, complete
with thatched roof above the center of the bar, and it looks like thatched upper walls, also:

Also, here's a matchcover:

P

tikimug,
Thanks for posting that link to the great article. So that thatched roof in the middle of the bar on the postcard was where the bands played... I wonder if the postcard view was before the mural was painted... Great history, thanks !

Hey,

This is really cool - thanks for posting it Sabu! I live right across the bridge from Cherry Hill, NJ, and, one of these days, I'm going to have to head over and see what remains of the building. The big pineapple is totally sublime, but I'm pretty sure it's all gone.

FYI for anyone that's interested -- there's actually a vintage drive-in hamburger stand (with carhops) on Route 38 in approximately the same vicinity (Weber's Root Beer). It's got the original sputnik on the roof, and the people who own it take really good care of it. A lot of times, you'll pull up and the parking lot will be filled with vintage cars, and, a few times, there has even been a really campy Elvis impersonator standing by the road. It's awesome. I just wish the Tiki restaurant also still remained...

Puamana,

Thanks for posting all that stuff. And here I thought you only had the menu! I especially like the old linen postcard because it shows just how far the interior evolved. Great job!

Sabu

S

Maybe these are those plates?

I live about fifteen minutes from where this used to be. Not a sign of it now, though, the road is now a big long series of strip malls from Philadelphia to the hinterlands of New Jersey. Thanks for posting this, it's good to know such a landmark was once so close.

T

From what I understand there is an Olive Garden there now.... sorry to bring such bad news. :(

A

Indeed, the land is now just an Olive Garden. I live exactly 3 minutes away from there. My brother had trash picked a souvenir picture from a house around the corner from us and I have been interested ever since. Now this area is just a bunch of stores. :(

uggh.. yes the area has gone downhill quickly.. i still don't understand why everyone puts up with the horrible rapid overdevelopment of these strip malls.. they need to be stripped from the earth is more like it..

Ironically, I am about to make settlement on the house the the owners of the hawaiin cottage had built in 1955. I was doing some reasearch on the building and came across this site. The house it just as kitschy as the pineapple shaped restaurant! Also, have been stumbling across some artifacts from the hawaiin cottage in a few vintage shops and thrift stores in the south jersey area. Fun!

On 2005-08-31 13:15, lesliemchenryschott wrote:
Ironically, I am about to make settlement on the house the the owners of the hawaiin cottage had built in 1955. I was doing some reasearch on the building and came across this site. The house it just as kitschy as the pineapple shaped restaurant! Also, have been stumbling across some artifacts from the hawaiin cottage in a few vintage shops and thrift stores in the south jersey area. Fun!

Congrats on the house and welcome to Tiki Central!
What do you plan to do with the house(renovate, restore, etc.)may I ask?

P

Here's another postcard from the Hawaiian Cottage:


Those were the days, When Women wore pearls with their dresses and a coat and tie was standard fare. Even a hanky in the coat pocket. He looks as if he is afraid someone from work will see him. Dang I was born too late. A simpler time, a sweeter time, holding hands.


[ Edited by: bananabobs 2005-09-05 23:04 ]

Hello,
My name is Sadie Lang. I have been trying to do some research on the Hawaiian Cottage, and I was very pleased to find this site. My father, Isadore "Eddie" Lang was the band leader there at some point. I am not sure exactly when. My godmother, Hazel Sweeney, was one of his singers and dancers. My father passed away on October 30, 1994 of cancer at the age of 78. I am looking for some memorabilia, and maybe a picture of him there. If anyone has any info, please contact me!! Thanks for your time!!!

[ Edited by: sweetsadie79 2009-06-03 10:01 ]

This is one of those places that was around for ever and made the transition from pre-tiki to tiki to post-tiki. I have collected a lot of items from The Hawaiian Cottage over the years, so here we go.

PRE-TIKI

The linen bar postcard (one of my favorite old cards)

Postcard of the exterior after the utilities were placed underground, a much better look to the place - very progressive of the township of Cherry Hill.

Here is a close-up of the sign, the pineapple dome, and the coconut hut.

Another old souvenir photo frame

(It's always great to see the old photos of the tiki peeps)

TIKI

These postcards show the tiki period with the lighting, murals, and other Poly Pop items that were added to the interior. Some great shots.

POST-TIKI

Yikes, what happened! Looks like my Grandma's veranda.

DC

Hey, that goldfish table is one of the coolest table concepts I've ever seen. Are you sure that's POST- , not PRE-Tiki !!?

Wow Dusty. Great collection of images. Seems you have a little of everything. Here's a couple of items to add to the history.

The black fog cutter style mug is reminiscent of your photo frame with the Geisha Room on it.

The back of the geisha mug with cold glaze gold paint and an Asian style arch.

The bottom of the mugs.

On 2009-04-11 18:10, uncle trav wrote:
Wow Dusty. Great collection of images. Seems you have a little of everything. Here's a couple of items to add to the history.

The black fog cutter style mug is reminiscent of your photo frame with the Geisha Room on it.

coincidentally i just bought a parrot mug from the hawaiian room today at an antique mall, when i was visiting my parents in the pOcOnOs.

On 2009-04-11 15:41, bigbrotiki wrote:
Hey, that goldfish table is one of the coolest table concepts I've ever seen. Are you sure that's POST- , not PRE-Tiki !!?

Bigbro,

As usual, you are correct sir. The postcard from the Hawaiian Cottage was actually an old pre-tiki shot, as the back of the card lists the Merchantville location prior to the change to Cherry Hills. No wonder it reminded me of Grandma.

The fishbowl table is wicked cool, but how the heck did they maintain that??

DC

On 2009-04-11 18:10, uncle trav wrote:

The black fog cutter style mug is reminiscent of your photo frame with the Geisha Room on it.

Trav,

This is the postcard from the interior of the Geisha Room. Honestly, I don't know why anybody would choose to go to this room instead of the Hawaiian room!

DC

On 2009-04-11 23:10, Dustycajun wrote:

On 2009-04-11 18:10, uncle trav wrote:

The black fog cutter style mug is reminiscent of your photo frame with the Geisha Room on it.

Trav,

This is the postcard from the interior of the Geisha Room. Honestly, I don't know why anybody would choose to go to this room instead of the Hawaiian room!

DC

That's [email protected] up, y'all!

T

On 2005-09-05 11:07, puamana wrote:
Here's another postcard from the Hawaiian Cottage:

Beautiful place...note the lei covered folded napkins on every table. Such great attention to detail.

On 2009-04-11 22:40, Dustycajun wrote:

On 2009-04-11 15:41, bigbrotiki wrote:
Hey, that goldfish table is one of the coolest table concepts I've ever seen. Are you sure that's POST- , not PRE-Tiki !!?

The fishbowl table is wicked cool, but how the heck did they maintain that??

DC

goldfish are cheap.
they used to have goldfish tables at silk city back when is was called sweet & sour silk.
i am pretty sure if the smoke didn't kill the fish the bass from the music would have.
you can also get plastic battery operated fish which are pretty neat.
sweet & sour silk also used to serve flaming volcanos and monday night was $10 volcano night, or as i liked to think of it,"date night."

Wow, with all the material here, we have evidence of possibly the first use of a "logo Geisha": As a mug, as an illustration, and as a statue in the restaurant. :) Where did Mimi's images go?

Is there anything left of this place?

You're looking at it. :(

On 2009-04-12 11:27, bigbrotiki wrote:
Where did Mimi's images go?

The dreaded Red Xs.

Here is the menu from Mimi's web site.

DC

Going through my matchbooks and found a couple versions from the Hawaiian Cottage.

The first one is the older version.

The second one is a little more modern looking.

Both of the matchbooks had the Geisha Room graphics on the inside.

You can also see by comparing the two matchbooks that that the original "Hawaiian Room" became the "Hawaiian Outrigger Tiki Rooms".

Now that's what I call progress!

DC

A postcard with yet another sign configuration out front of the Hawaiian Cottage.

DC

T

I picked up this matchbook recently.

UT

On page 23 of Tiki Quest Duke says there is evidence to suggest that these mugs were used at the Hawaiian Cottage. I thought I would post the ones from my collection. Made by "Best Ever" of Japan.

T

IMAGINE Tiki @ EXIT 5 Cherry Hill NJ

Thortiki

Trav,

Nice mugs, how can we nail down the connection to the Hawaiian Cottage?

Here is yet another matchbook, obviously and older version.

DC

On 2009-08-11 21:01, Dustycajun wrote:
Trav,

Nice mugs, how can we nail down the connection to the Hawaiian Cottage?

DC

Thanks DC maybe Duke would have some more info on the connection.


Good score on the mugs TIKI DAVID. Here is another interior shot showing the mural and some Witco on the walls.

M

If anyone is looking for an incredibly recent item for their Hawaiian Cottage collection, or maybe just something to wear out and about, those cool folks at Vintage Roadside have created a Hawaiian Cottage tee as part of their collection:

https://www3074.ssldomain.com/vintageroadside/ProductDetail.aspx?ID=67&Cat=60

I know this mug was posted previously but the place burned - and I am "told" these survived the fire - note the smoke on top - could be bs but hey you never know.


pleased to be injoyed

UT

Heres an earlier card that I picked up the other day.

a few images stolen from ebay..

On 2009-11-11 14:40, sneakyjack wrote:
a few images stolen from ebay..

Thief! :D

On 2009-08-09 08:01, uncle trav wrote:
On page 23 of Tiki Quest Duke says there is evidence to suggest that these mugs were used at the Hawaiian Cottage.

I've always wondered what that evidence was. I assumed it was an illustration from a menu but have not been able to substantiate that very simple theory.

These are the mugs that I have from this series. I can't quite imagine them surviving a restaurant environment though.

Tiki Kate,

Would be nice to hear from Duke where he got the connection to these mugs from.

Trav,

I just got that postcard you posted an image of a while back. What a great mural and a ton of Witco on the walls.

Here are some close ups.

The mural

Witco

Witco everywhere.

This must have been the peak of the Tiki revolution period.

Did you check out that serving ware on the tables from your postcard? Have not seen that pattern show up before, have you?

DC

Dusty, That is a great card . I think the china is from Jackson as any detail is hard to make out even with a loop. I added it to the list on the restaurant china page. And thanks for the closeups. This place is one of my favorites.

T

I've been busy with training for the fire academy but I had a little time to do some urban archeology and came across this little gem. Here's a special "prom menu" from the hawaiian cottage to add the post...

Enjoy and happy hunting! :)

TikiNomad,

I had seen that prom menu before on ebay. All the drinks served were non-alcoholic. Here are some larger images (a bit fuzzy).

The signature drink in the parrot mug was called the Polly Pokii.

What a great prom night that must have been.

DC

T

Cool Dusty Cajun, thanks for posting better pic's.
I have that Hawaiian Cottage parrot mug buried somewhere in my collection....

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