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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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Name:Lo-Ray's
Type:restaurant
Street:558 East Willow Street
City:Long Beach
State:CA
Zip:
country:USA
Phone:
Status:defunct

Description:
AKA Lo-Ray Lounge AKA Lo Ray Cocktail Lounge AKA Lo-Ray's Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge

Does not appear on either Critiki or in Tiki Road Trip. The location at 558 East Willow Street in Long Beach is currently an empty lot.

Lo-Ray's was a restaurant and cocktail lounge serving tropical drinks, Chinese food and a "pupu plate". Also featured live entertainment on piano and live comedy shows.

(As a side note, it's unclear how the name was derived, although it was owned at least for a time by a Raymond F. Phillips, so possibly a name combo like Jakamos, another long-gone Long Beach Poly-pop place?)

The first mention of it I could find was in the August 14, 1962, Long Beach Independent, when it was referenced as being located on the same property as the Orbit Coffee Shop:

However, later ads in the Independent would claim it was established in 1963:

Apparently a popular early source of entertainment at Lo-Ray's was Frank Lotgering, Jr., appearing as Red Lester the Clown:

Another attraction was waitress Loretta Campbell, "swish[ing] around in wearing black net stockings, high heels and a leotard":


For most of the 1960s one or more of the Pagay family served Lo-Ray's as a chef. Brothers Frank and Robert are mentioned in this review from the April 29, 1966, Independent:

By November 21, 1968, Ernie Pagay was getting top chef billing:

By July 23, 1971, Ray Phillips and chefs Robert/Bobby and Ernie Pagay had either added or moved on to a new venture, the Velvet Horn in Buena Park:

(By the way, Ernie Pagay would also serve a stint at another Long Beach area Poly-pop restaurant, the Tahiti Hut (covered on Tiki Central here: http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=49157&forum=2).)

It appears that former manager Charles Hudson may have purchased the place by the time this review ran in the Independent on July 14, 1972, and had installed a new chef, Marv Fredenberg:


Sure wish I could see what that menu and those centerpiece models looked like.

Here's another review from a couple months later:

At the beginning of the 1970s, the advertising became a little less...well, boring, and at least added some Poly-pop graphics:

For some reason, Lo-Ray's seems to have become a popular place with stickup artists in the early 1970s, first in 1972:

And then again in 1973:

By at least July 12, 1974, the space had changed its name to Tee-Cee's:

I couldn't find any exterior shots anywhere, and no ephemera except for this very plain matchbook:

Anybody have anything else on this one?

[ Edited by: HotelCharlieEcho 2018-03-28 18:10 ]

MAN...it's almost impossible to find info on this place!!

I can find the name Tee Cee's slightly earlier, in September of 1973. Ray Phillips passed away on June 3, 1974. The name "Lo-Ray's" appears to be nothing more than an abbreviated combination of his name (Ray) and his wife's (Lois).

And though it's an empty lot now, I like the idea that the palms flanking this one particular driveway are kind of like the palms at 65th and San Pablo, the last remaining vestige of Trader Vics.

They look too small, though!

Aha!

Bobby, a professional musician in his spare time, has been at Tee Cee's longer than any other employee. He had been there for many years before Tommy took over the ownership in April, 1973.

So there's an ownership change. It appears that Chuck Hudson must have owned it for only a fleeting time.

Also, it turns out that the Tommy's Liquor and Deli at the same property from the very first clipping went through an ownership change. From an article on Tee Cee's:

For the past 21 years, Tommy has lived in the Long Beach area. For the past four years he has owned Tommy's Liquor Store and Deli on Willow Street near Atlantic.

Good stuff - thanks for the additional color!

With as much as we know about Don's, Vic's, the Kon-Tikis, the Mai-Kai, etc., etc., it's amazing how many of these little places just came and went in a few years without leaving much of a trace.

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