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Don the Beachcomber purchased by Florida group

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Big tiki news afoot! I know nothing about this group, but I've long argued that the Don The Beachcomber brand was far too valuable to stay dormant.https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2022/08/19/don-beachcomber-brand-23-restaurant-services.html

Hey cut and past the article here as this link is to a pay site.

On IG and FB I've had conversations with folks tangentially connected to this. They insist folks with genuine interest in tiki are involved with this, and this incarnation of Don's won't be like the Tiki Docks this group operates. We shall see.

By Ashley Gurbal Kritzer – Real Estate Editor, Tampa Bay Business Journal Aug 19, 2022

A Tampa-based hospitality company has acquired the intellectual property of an iconic California restaurant brand.

Marc Brown, president of 23 Restaurant Services, told the Tampa Bay Business Journal that the company has finalized a deal to purchase the Don the Beachcomber brand from Delia Snyder, who had owned it since 2003. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Snyder had worked for Donn Beach, aka Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, who founded the brand after his travels in the South Pacific and is widely considered the founding father of modern-day tiki culture.

23 Restaurant Services is the parent company of Ford’s Garage, Tiki Docks and Yeoman’s Cask and Lion. Some aspects of the Don the Beachcomber brand will be incorporated into Tiki Docks locations, and 23 Restaurant Services is also looking for stand-alone sites for the concept, Brown said.

Storytelling is a major part of Ford’s Garage, a casual dining concept with the feel of a 1920s service station and a focus on American automobile culture. Tiki Docks will be one platform for sharing the history and life of Don the Beachcomber.

“Admittedly, when we built Tiki Docks, I didn’t have the full understanding of tiki culture,” Brown said. “I think we’ve built a good product with Tiki Docks, but I don’t think it represents the history of tiki as well as it could. This will allow us to get really authentic with it.”

The acquisition includes the brand’s closely held cocktail recipes. Some Tiki Docks locations — there are restaurants open in Riverview and South St. Petersburg and locations in the works in Madeira Beach, suburban Orlando and on the Space Coast — will have Don the Beachcomber bars within them, Brown said.

It’s too soon, Brown said, to say what the ideal prototype for new Don the Beachcomber locations will look like, though 23 Restaurant Services is actively looking at sites.

“There will be some symmetries between the two,” Brown said of Tiki Docks and Don the Beachcomber. “But we’re really raising the authenticity of both brands.”

Hamo posted on Sat, Aug 20, 2022 6:38 PM

Very interesting. Thanks for posting this, Jayme. I'll need to double check, but I believe my sister and brother-in-law visited Tiki Docks when in Tampa last year.

Hamo, as I understand it, Tiki Docks is more of a thatch beach bar, the kind of thing that drives us tiki folk nuts. The CEO of the group admits they didn't get tiki when they opened Tiki Docks. I've seen elsewhere from folks involved that skepticisim is understandable, but they are planning to do DTB right. So we shall see. I've heard from others their Garage concept is a well done food and craft beer concept. All we can do is hurry up and wait.

Well I guess this means that Delia's plan to reopen a Don's here again is DOA, of course that was before the Pandemic, Bamboo Ben may know more as he had been in contact with her for awhile, "They insist folks with genuine interest in tiki are involved with this" well I have heard this time and time again and not once did it work out as promised, so.....


I love it when on American pickers somebody sells them something and they say "I'm just glad it's going to you because you really care about the thing they sold them"

Ha! they care about the markup they put on that thing when they sell it.

Bet they care more about making money than the tiki part and I'm not sure the whole real old-style tiki we like is what sells these days.

More like pretty tiki with loud rap at the end of the night.

But hey they need to make money, so I do get that kinda.

Good luck new people hope it works out.

Once the 1-year mark passed with no word of relocation, I figured the Huntington Beach incarnation of Don's was DOA. New ownership was the best we could hope for. This group has a mixed track record. The best we can do is hope they're sincere and see what they come up with. I won't hold my breath, but I've been pleasantly surprised in the past.


I guess my concern (beyond the issue of doing a good job) is if this is just going to be a Florida thing, or will they take this opportunity to have a West Coast presence for their company?

I, for one, welcome out new spambot member...

Rawim posted on Wed, Feb 22, 2023 4:28 PM

Saw the new announcement today from 23 Restaurant Services. Gives me hope, may have to wait for a SoCal location, but still hope!

Rawim, I agree that it would be great to have a Don the Beachcomber back in southern CA. I very much miss the Don's in Seal Beach...that was where I would go several times a week, but, SoCal is pretty lucky that we have some great Tiki Bars in the area.

That advisory board strikes me as custom-tailored specifically to address the skepticism I and others have voiced with regard to 23 Restaurants' ability to do tiki correctly. If nothing else, it shows they are listening and care about public perception. Reading the tea leaves of those involved, I can offer the following baseless speculation with confidence:

Marie King: Well-known tiki cocktail veteran that gives them ties to the most recent incarnation of Donn's on the mainland.

Sven Kirsten: Big Bro Tiki knows all the history, has all the receipts. From his involvement I would hazard that this new Donn's incarnation would harken back the original, pre-tiki concept with more of a flotsam & jetsam beachcomber aesthetic, as opposed to the more tiki-centric decor of Stephen Crane's Kon-Tiki or Trader Vic's.

John Mulder: We know who has the contract to produce their bespoke mugs.

Tim Glazner: His forthcoming Donn Beach bio will be available in the gift shop and online. Sweet deal for Swanky!

Tiki Diablo: Likely on retainer. Will most probably oversee the design and decor. Danny's distinctive carvings will represent the bulk of actual tikis on display.

Martin Cate: The new Donn the Beachcomber's will have a rum selection second to none, with a well-reasoned but utterly confusing classification system.

Orlando seems an inevitable choice for the first location. Were I a betting man, I'd say they'll try to thread the needle and come up with a concept that finds a sweet spot between the tiki restaurants of yesteryear--the original Donn's, Trader Vic's, Kon-Tiki (ie big with expensive overhead)--and the many popular bars of the tiki renaissance (ie tiny, low overhead but 21+ only). That indicates something with a footprint akin to fast casual places such as Chili's or Applebee's, that balance a bar program with integrated food service. I don't think the look or vibe will resemble Chili's or Applebee's, only that the business model and location size may track along similar parameters. Broadly speaking, more than 50% of revenue needs to come from food service to avoid 21+ restrictions (rules may vary state to state). The other potential model they could pursue is the Rainforest Cafe approach, but I don't see anything in the 23 Restaurants background that indicates this is where they would go.

The Orlando location would be used to refine the business model and work out the kinks. Once they're satisfied with stable revenue, Tampa, Jacksonville and/or Miami would be obvious expansion candidates. Those are within 23 Restaurants' geographic footprint so would make logistical sense in working out expansion plans. After that, anything's possible. They could expand radially, setting up shop in Atlanta, New Orleans, Charlotte, Nashville, Memphis. They could hopscotch to population centers under-served by tiki. They might try to duplicate Orlando and stick to cities with major tourism. Or they could swing for the bleachers and go into New York, LA and Chicago. It depends on what they think gives them the best chance for continued financial success. Of course, if their first restaurants are a hit, franchising could be a way to rapidly expand.

Absolutely nothing I've written here is based on any insight or private knowledge. it's purely speculative on my part. But I'm quite curious to see how much I may have guessed right on, and how much I have gotten wildly wrong...

[ Edited by Prikli Pear on 2023-02-23 14:09:45 ]

[ Edited by Prikli Pear on 2023-02-23 14:10:07 ]

A new story on The Atomic Grog features renderings and video of one of the new locations, plus more info on the plans ... https://wp.me/p1xHjT-7d7


Marie King did a live stream with @polynesianpop and she said that:
the renders with "tiki docks" are old and that these will be labeled a DtB locations
definitely coming to west coast and other places outside the Southeast over time
each location will have it's own menu, so that a place like New Orleans would have NOLA specific cocktails

Thanks for that update, Kevin! Branding those locations DtB makes sense as the name has a lot more national recognition than Tiki Docks. I missed that livestream, darn it. Any idea if it'll make his podcast?

Mahalo Kevin! I've heard that updated renderings for the Hamlin location will be released soon.

Haven't listened yet, and not sure if it's the same as what Kevin was referring to, but here's Adrian's most recent podcast with Marie:


Thanks for the article, Jim; very informative.

We met the crew and sampled some tasty cocktails at The Hukilau in June ...


They promise to reveal many new details during a presentation at Tiki Oasis in August ...


Something popped up in my Facebook feed this morning about this, and there is a website for the new Don the Beachcombers dtb1932.com

They are saying "Fall of 2023" for opening the first one, at the Cambria Hotel in Madeira Beach, Florida 15015 Madeira Way, Suite 100 Madeira Beach, FL 33708

Two additional locations are planned for 2024 openings.

Thanks for the update and link, Jiminy! I have heard that some DTB elements/cocktails have already been introduced to existing Tiki Docks locations. Once the standalone DTB opens we'll have a much better baseline from which to evaluate.

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