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Trader Nick's, Pismo Beach, CA (restaurant)

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Name:Trader Nick's
Street:1601 Price Street
City:Pismo Beach
Phone:(805) 773-4711

Polynesian Restaurant and cocktail lounge next to the Kon Tiki Inn. Bought in 1999 by McClintock's and turned into "Steamer's" seafood restaurant. Sits on a bluff with great views of Pismo Beach.


Here are some pictures from some matchbooks I have aquired ....

In the last pic there is one of those 2 tiki type bowls someone asked about recently and a Trader Nick's Grog Log drink menu.....


I enjoyed your pics on Trader Nick's. I went to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in the late Eighties and could have gone there anytime. But, unfortunately, Tiki was not a part of my life then and I never made it. I even moved back to the Central Coast a number of years ago and could have gone then; but no, alas, I was still lost and hopeless. Well, now that I have recently found Tiki, (or rediscovered Him from my childhood)I could just hit myself in the head with a coconut for not making it to Trader Nick's at least once! Oh well, like the financial area of my life, another missed opportunity!


Incredible architecture, on the beach, with a tiki hut in front. What a gem!

Thanks for the photographs.

That would have been the true Central Coast attraction, Hearst Castle being secondary.


Found this postcard today:

Closeup of the middle pic:


My parent's live in Grover Beach and they just took me to Steamer's for the first time about a month ago. I wish it was still a Trader Nicks's. Thanks for the pics!

Photo courtesy of Joel Fletcher

There are some cool photos in this guy's gallery.

Unga Bunga

Great find on the old picture of Trader Nick's entrance and building exterior in all of its glory. I used to stop at Trader Nick's for Mai Tais and Pupu's on the way back home from skiing at Lake Nacimiento. Memories!

Here is a matchbook from Trader Nicks and the Kon Tiki Inn

I just came across this photo that I took several years ago.


Oh, I see...Trader Nicks & the Kon Tiki Inn shared the same sign so they cut off the top of that sign for the postcard. I was wondering why the restaurant had a "jacuzzi pool." Actually, that would have been pretty cool as long as people didn't drop their food in the jacuzzi.

TX Tikiphile Gathering @ Trader Vic's on May 3rd!

[ Edited by: Kenike 2008-04-23 16:14 ]

Tiki-Kate, Thanks for the photo.

Here is another matchbook I have from Trader Nicks.

I've got a couple of Trader Nick's matchbooks also.


Oh man! I used to hang out at Trader Nick's in the mid-80s... didn't think to save any matchbook covers tho... good times!

I haven't been to Pismo Beach in over a decade... anyone know what has taken Nick's place? damn shame its shut down...

ah ha! I read over the previous posts a little more closely and see its now called Steamers... correct? to be perfectly frank when i frequented the place in the early to mid 80s tiki was not on my mind necessarily... i'd just gotten divorced from my first wife and went there for the babes! LOL! but the atmosphere was perfect for that kind of that thing... you could sit at the bar listening to live music (definitely NOT exoctica or lounge then) and watch the Pacific rolling in whilst sipping your cocktail... ah the days of our dissipated youth eh?


[ Edited by: Lokepa 2010-09-19 09:14 ]

[ Edited by: Lokepa 2010-09-20 02:11 ]

A match box from Trader Nick's.

Those four A-frames on the roof of Trader Nick's remind me of the Mono Kai apartments in Isla Vista.


[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2011-01-08 07:05 ]

I forgot to post this from January 24, 2007.

John Nichols remembered as a Pismo visionary, longtime resident, died recently at 78 years old. He started several well known South County restaurants including The Outrigger in Shell Beach, Trader Nick's In Pismo Beach, and WM. Cody's in Grover Beach (which is still there). OK DC time to look for stuff from The Outrigger (no longer there).

All I have from Trader Nick's is 4 or 5 matchbooks, this long sleeve t-shirt (90s?), and some pilings from out front (now in our back yard)



Cheesecake Factory?

On 2010-12-31 14:57, bongofury wrote:

OK DC time to look for stuff from The Outrigger (no longer there).


Nice shirt.

I came across some matchbooks from the Pismo Beach Outrigger years ago and grabbed the images. It was located at 401 Shell Beach Road. Had no idea that the place was related (by owner) to Trader Nick's. Will have to check out more info on The Outrigger. Thanks for the history lesson.


[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2011-01-08 06:30 ]


Found this little piece on John Nichols from a book on the internet.

Seems as though John Nichols opened The Outrigger in Pismo Beach in 1964. The restaurant used to be called Pal's. Wonder when he opened Trader Nick's?


[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2011-01-08 06:32 ]


Wish we could see the "Exotic" interior of the Outrigger. Good research DC. Hopefully there are some photos out there. Here are some of the pilings rescued from Trader Nick's.....

I recently found this matchbook from Trader Nick's featuring a rendering of the A Frame features.

Had not seen this one before.


A matchbox recently acquired showing the more modern Trader Nick's sign.

A very cool sign.


Wow...what an awesome looking place...certainly missed this thread...defunct :(

Here is a piece I just acquired from Trader Nicks interior decor. Its a mahogany carving of what looks like Neptune. Trader Nicks had more nautical decor than Tiki from what I know. I live in Pismo Beach so its great to have some local Polynesian restaurant history.

A closer view.

A little more history on the Outrigger in Pismo Beach. I purchased this matchcover from the Outrigger recently.

Close up.

The same logo Tiki that was on the Trader Nick's matchbooks.

That was of course borrowed from the Bali Hai in San Diego.

But the name on the matchover is Edward Fixen. Must have bought the place from John Nichols


I founds some old photos online from Trader Nick's.



Does anyone have an idea when Trader Nick's opened?

Phone book ad from Trader Nick's.



Like Dusty above, I just happened to find an old box of matches in one of my dad's old jackets. When I felt in the pocket I somehow knew/remembered this was in it. I grew up near Pismo Beach and only remember going there once as a kid for a mother's day brunch, eating chocolate strawberries. I have zero recollection on the decor etc and certainly was unaware of cocktails at the time.

Just got a postcard from Trader Nick's that I have never seen before (which, if you know me is rare!)

This one has nice shot of the sign.

But even better, a view of the building with the prominent A-Frame on the left which has never really been seen before in the photos. It was BIG.

And, some nice text on the back "Yes we have motel accommodations" in case you have a few too many cocktails!

Thank you Tiki Shaker for the score.


Wow! Score indeed!


I get excited for this thread every time I see a new post, however it would really make my day if I could see a drink menu w/all their offerings.

On 2015-09-10 22:27, Dustycajun wrote:
Just got a postcard from Trader Nick's that I have never seen before (which, if you know me is rare!)


Lightning strikes twice! Picked up another postcard from Trader Nick's with some never seen before photos of the interior.

Night view.

Kinda of funny card, almost like the photographer was there on a family photo shoot.

Baby with a Tapa looking high chair.

Nice lamps

1970s party with the Tiki band stand.


Otto posted on Sun, Nov 18, 2018 8:05 PM

Spotted in the lobby of the Sunbeam Motel in SLO
Metal wall sign of CA sites must be at least 18 years old.


Not sure if this matchbook is a repeat from some earlier posts which have 'missing images'. This is from an eBay post.


I also saw this Photo listed on eBay



Well in the time that TC came down with covid in 2020, I decided to make a Facebook page dedicated specifically to Nick's. I spent weeks going through articles archived on Newspaper.com and I think grabbed just about everything published in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

I also took the names featured in the article captions and attempted to look everybody up on Facebook - some, believe it or not, have accounts. Many haven't read the messages, especially the older folk, but that's to be expected. I was also able to track down former employees toward Nick's demise. A few run their own place along the coast. Alas as of now, no amazing discoveries unearthed like recipes or what have you, and sadly I missed being able to talk to a bar manager by a few years as he has passed on.

Going through the articles I collected, it was obvious how popular the place was with the locals. I was also able to track down the logo history and variations over the years. Hopefully in the near future I can get started with sorting and posting them all (and here, as long as it doesn't spam things up), but life's not been easy since 2020.

Big thanks to Bongofury for sharing some of his collection with me (the awful shirt which I would still love to own!) and passing the page to an Arroyo Grande FB page. A grandson of Nichols reached out to me just to appreciate my dedication and I've debated reaching out to his son via LinkedIn. I believe he specializes in real estate around the area. I did manage to snag 2 business cards off of eBay which is a pretty sweet find. nicks cards

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