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Waikiki Restaurant, Davenport, IA (restaurant)

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Name:Waikiki Restaurant
Street:1706 Brady St

"Exotic Atmosphere and Chinese-Polynesian Cuisine"

A rare Iowa Tiki (or at least Polynesian) location that was operating thru at least 1981... Scant information available online.

I stumbled on this not-terribly-exciting matchbook on eBay awhile back....

Visually, not the most striking, but hugely intriguing in that I've never heard anything about this place.

I was born and raised in the Quad Cities area (Davenport/Rock Island/Moline) and have heard about the Tahitian Room at the Plantation in Moline (and I've seen a few photos and picked up a few matchbooks and postcards from that location) but I know actual fully Tiki/Polynesian joints were few and far between in the area. Likely the most well known fully-Tiki location in the area would be the sadly somewhat recently defunct Aku-Tiki Room in Kewaunee.

There's almost no information about the Waikiki Restaurant online. Matchbook looks 60's/70's to me, and the lack of an area code on the phone number would certainly put it pre-1980's. The zip code and phone number aren't in the old 50's/60's arrangement, so I'm guessing 70's is about spot on.

The only newspaper reference I can find online is from an August 13, 1981 "Dining Out" guide in the Quad City Times. It says:

"WAIKIKI RESTAURANT, Davenport One of the foremost Polynesian and Chinese Restaurants In the midwest. Our Gourmet Polynesian entrees are served native style In a Hawaiian atmosphere. Includes exotic Polynesian cocktails. Serving Lunches 11:30-2:00 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Dinners 6:00-10:00 p.m. Mon.-Sat. Carry out orders welcomed and reservations accepted. Call 391-6046. 3826 N. Division (South off Kimberly)"

The address on the matchbook above puts it at 1706 Brady Street, so it must have moved at some point.

Looking at Google Maps, the 1706 Brady address on the matchbook is now the Midtown Plaza, a rather unremarkable office building that looks to be of late 1970's/early 1980's construction:

There is retail space in the building, but I think the matchbook unquestionably pre-dates this building, and I really can't envision "exotic atmosphere" being anywhere near it.

The more recent address from the 1981 newspaper listing is a house built in 1951:

...so now I'm REALLY confused...

The two locations are only about 3 miles away from each other, but the timelines are totally screwy.

I'll be back in the QC in a month or so. I'll find out if my parents remember anything about it, and maybe drive by the locations and check out the library, if time permits...




I found this in an old cookbook from 1979 and thought I'd share. The cookbook is primarily a collection of recipes submitted by members of the Tri-City Symphony and the symphony's board members, but the book also features a section of recipes submitted by local restaurants.

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