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Washington DC Metro Area: Compendium of all Tiki Places, multiple, DC (other)

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Name:Washington DC Metro Area: Compendium of all Tiki Places
Street:multiple locations

Locating Tiki is primarily for individual locations, but the following is a regional exploration: assuming the D.C. Metro area to be anywhere within a 30 to 40 minute drive from downtown DC, here is a list of what I have compiled to be the tiki establishments in the DC area over the years. any additional info would be most welcome.

  1. Aloha Hut, AKA Jenny II - 1715 G. St. NW - not too far west of the White House, Washington, D.C., 20006
    status: closed

  2. Aloha Inn - 608 Quince Orchard Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878
    status: still open, but tikis/decor removed a long time ago

  3. Black Tahiti - 1776 K Street, N.W. Washington, D.C.,
    status: closed.

  4. Blue Hawaii a.k.a. "Tiki Hawaii" - 4906 St. Elmo Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814
    status: closed, currently Bangkok Garden thai restaurant

  5. Diamond Head - 6900 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase, Maryland.
    status: closed, original building demolished, now Miller's Furs
    (Loehmann's Plaza location?)

  6. Diamond Head - 1010 Wisconsin Avenue, Dodge Center, Georgetown, Washington DC
    status: closed, now Waterfront Center, a block from the Potomac River

  7. Honolulu Restaurant - 5634 Telegraph Rd Alexandria, VA
    status: closed April 10, 2004. Demolished for interstate ramp.

  8. Hula Hut - 11154-58 Georgia Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902
    status: closed, current location of Wheaton Metro Station

  9. Junkanoo - 1629 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 20009
    status: closed in 1979, location of current Chipotle Mexican Grill north of Dupont Circle

  10. The Kahlua Hut - 1812 East West Highway, West Hyattsville, MD 20783
    status: closed. It's now a bakery - it had been Jones Ice Cream Parlor
    operating in 1969, and confirmed to have changed to the Outrigger by 1973 (below)

  11. Kona Kai, Marriott Hotel - 5151 Pooks Hill Road, Bethesda, Maryland 20814
    status: closed in the late 1980s, now Agio Italian Restaurant

  12. Luau Hut ("Luau Hut Capitol Hill") - 14 F St NW, Washington D.C.
    status: closed - current location of Kelly's Irish TImes Pub near Union Station.

  13. Luau Hut ("Luau's In-Inn") - 1225 19th ST. N.W., Washington D.C.
    status: closed

  14. Luau Hut - 8407 Ramsey Ave, Silver Spring, MD
    status: closed - building still exists but is for lease and is painted yellow. Originally called "Moon's Garden."

  15. Orchid Isle - under new mgmt as Orchid 7 - 4723 Elm Street, Bethesda, MD 20814-2901
    status: closed. Currently the Barking Dog pub.

  16. Orchid 7 - 1055 Thomas Jefferson St., N.W., Washington, DC 20007
    status: closed

  17. Osaka - 1329 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
    status: closed

  18. The Outrigger - 1812 East West Highway, West Hyattsville, MD 20783
    status: closed. former location of the Kahlua Hut (above)

  19. Pacific Inn (Chick & Toshiko Lee's Pacific Inn), 6027 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, VA 22307
    status: closed. currently the Kyoto Japanese Restaurant

  20. Poli-Tiki - 319 Pennsylvania Ave Washington D.C., DC 20003-1148
    status: upstairs remodeled in 2000 to the "Pour House," basement remodeled in 2003 to german-themed bar "Sheisse Haus" (!)

  21. Polynesia Supper Club and Lounge (Dave Wu's) - 1018 Vermont N.W., Washington, DC 20005-4901
    status: closed

  22. South Pacific - 4200 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA
    status: closed, original building likely demolished

  23. Tahitian Hut, 1818 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
    status: closed, original building clearly demolished

  24. Tiki Island - Wilde Lake Village Center, 10400 Cross Fox Lane Columbia, MD 21044
    status: closed. was formerly the Karras’ Beef House, which subsequently moved to 9445 Baltimore National Pike Ellicott City, MD 21043 per the Baltimore Sun, May 17, 1985

  25. Trader Vic's, Capitol Hilton - 1001 16th St. NW - just two blocks directly north of Lafayette square (White House)
    status: closed in 1995

  26. The Waikiki - 14 F St NW, Washington D.C.
    status: closed / became one of the D.C. locations of the Luau Hut (above)

[ Edited by: Johnny Dollar 2017-02-01 10:04 ]

ok, this is interesting - an AMEX / NFL promotion in DC, newspaper ad dated November 19, 1973. clearly not every restaurant in the area participated - but of this list, there are 10 polynesian joints - in 1973!

i didn't realize there were so many south pacifics and so many diamond heads.

[ Edited by: Johnny Dollar 2014-01-04 07:53 ]

wow, who knew that DC Metro area in 1982 was so tiki? Great article,
thank you to the Washington Post for providing this archival information:

Beltway Bora-Bora

By JOANNE OSTROW January 22, 1982
Coconut trees sway to ukelele sounds, tiki gods peek through the wicker. Island days laze in a rum haze, and the nights flame with food. Thirteen hundred, round trip.

But as chill and sluch claim Washington, you can find Bora-Bora by the Beltway for a lot less: There are more than half a dozen island hideaways scattered around the city and its 'burbs, about 6,500 miles closer to home than Tahiti.

What's the enchantment of a Polynesian restaurant? After all, a rum punch is a rum punch is a rum punch, give or take a lime or two. But float a gardenia in it, and it can conceal subtle mysteries: Luau Hut recently served its with a red-dyed grape instead of maraschino cherries. For now, ambiance is all: tiki-tacky dining experiences are theatrical.

On a typical journey into exotica, a Flaming Volcano, "lover's delight, a secret brew for 2," turns brains to lava. The rum-and-fruit combo from the menu's illustrated extra-strong category is cheaper than the cheapest package tour. After the first, the dream takes hold: the Polynesian kava ceremony, involving a narcotic beverage made from the roots of a pepper plant.

Communal tidbits encourage intimacy. Torches, too, set the tone for first dates. At the next table, a preppy Donnie charms his Marie by signing the Hawaiian Punch commercial theme song,

"We're Gonna Go Hawaiian!," after uncounted Mai Tais. Even RichardNixon, who could have ordered anything from his French chef at the White House, used to slip down 16th Street to the make-believe of TRADER VIC'S. What charmed him there? "We have sweetbreads, frogs' legs, steak..." says manager Peter Tung. But what about atmosphere?"Barbecued chicken, curry, steak..." But about the famous South Seas decor? "Veal, lamb..." Tung pushes the menu, not the fantasy.

But atmosphere can make up for much: Plant an orchid in your hair, avoid canned kumquats and try to remember that Wahini means the women's room. Lull yourself off to fantasy in a lush forest where nothing ever needs watering, TIKI HAWAII in Bethesda, hard to miss with its wooden totem poles out front. Decorator bamboo covers the place, pennies fill huge seashells -- just like Samoa, the last time you weren't there. At peak island-hopping season, we come with the will to be transported and without reservations.

Baskets of pumpernickel land beside the tropical hors d'. Menu offerings tend toward Oola Oola, giant red shrimp with crab stuffing; Mongolian Fire Steak, and "tiki speciality" cheesecake. The ocean roars in the bowl decorated with a hula girl and palms. A plastic flower speared beside the pineapple slice and orange looks just like it must look in Maori.

KONA KAI meets tropical-rain-forest standards for escapism, reinforced by the Don Ho music. The sunken-pit dining room and surrounding cocktail lounges are full on a Friday night. Menus are disguised as wicker placemats, and coconuts hang in fishnet. The Richard Nixon-lookalike plastic tiki-god drink stirrers are unique. The sugar, lamp, salt and pepper are in the familiar Marriott formation on the table's edge, but all sport the appropriate tiki-mask theme.

TRADER VIC'S serves its Kamaaina, from the endless list of rum punches, in a ceramic coconut. Heavy on the coconut mix. The Samoan Fog Cutter comes in a volcanic pot like the one you made your mother in crafts class. Dr. Funk is long on grenadine, Tahitian Pearl comes with a stunning plastic one. The condiments are less Hawaii than Heinz, but who's counting? The totems outside, glass-enclosed wood-fire ovens, bamboo ceilings, masks, sake jugs and tiki-god-with-lampshade dim lighting seem a million miles from L Street.

Downstairs at the LUAU HUT, in Silver Spring, there's a photo of Goldie Hawn giggling over a meal she had there -- local girl makes good, goes Polynesian. Island foods are pictured in faded transparencies at the door: pu-pu, flaming almond duck, lobster in butter, a surprisingly good salad bar, long on Cellophane noodles and exotic black beans. The punch was a sour disappointment, but the brown mug is yours for keeps.

Kob Phung, our Polynesian-stylewaiter admitted he's actually from Thailand. He went further to disclose a tradesecret the one-Zombie-per-customer warningis more to impress you than to restrict you.

At THE DIAMOND HEAD on Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase, such island favorites as the "Hawaiian War Chant" set the tone, though you'll have to imagine the tropical species in the bamboo birdcages overhead -- they're empty, thank goodness. Visitors may be perplexed by a tall glass column housing gold-fish, particularly when the visitors themselves are tanked.

Below K Street, at BLACK TAHITI's Bora-Bora Bar, only the names are true to fantasy: Head Hunter, "a good drink for tribal celebrations,... conjures drumbeats and black magic." Hints of rum and bourbon, too. The buffet lunch lacks flaeming whatnot, highlighted instead by egg rolls and ham slices. Large colored balls hang in the stairway to set the tone: Zombie drinks have an uphill task here. Travel on your Tahiti Swizzle, "a refreshing house speciality composed of gin, which leaves its drinker a little closer to the South Pacific."

On 2017-02-01 10:10, Johnny Dollar wrote:
wow, who knew that DC Metro area in 1982 was so tiki? Great article,
thank you to the Washington Post for providing this archival information:

Beltway Bora-Bora

By JOANNE OSTROW January 22, 1982

Very good! And by how many years does this pre-date today's tiki revival? :)

interesting also that the author did not mention the Honolulu Restaurant in Alexandria and the South Pacific in Arlington, the former of which was certainly operating at this time. Maybe they just didn't like Virginia.

The press tend to do that sometimes. I think its due to tight time deadlines and they just cannot afford to pursue each and every lead they have for these sorts of stories. It leaves a bit of room for someone else to write a book or create something more thorough for a history web site.

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