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Photo taken in the 1950s or 1960s, possibly in a tiki restaurant. Can anyone identify the location?

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The woman on the left and the man second from the right are my grandparents. They lived in North Carolina but I know they traveled to New York, Miami, Detroit, and Hawaii, among other places. The decor very looks tiki-themed to me, though the food on the table (steaks and salad) suggest otherwise. I know it's a long shot, but does anyone have any ideas as to where this picture might have been taken? grandparents


You would have had a better chance of getting an answer in the old days of Tiki Central when we had so many more people posting and looking at posts.


Definitely some old tiki place -- tapa on the walls, carvings, fish floats. But other than that, there aren't any real clues that jump out. No centerpiece, tiki mugs, etc. I thought that word on the carving behind them might be a clue, but I couldn't find Nuyentu via Google.

Gotta be Dobbs House Luau.

It was a southern chain of tiki restaurants. I believe most if not all locations were built inside luxury hotels. The first was in Atlanta but they were all over the south, there were almost a dozen of them at one time.

Steak was the featured entree. Well, not just any steak, but Hawaiian chopped sirloin served with Bedspring potatoes (aka curly fries) and fried banana & pineapple.

The homemade looking tapa on the wall in this photo looks like the Dallas location:


The rails, definitely had these in Atlanta:


The locations were not identical but they all shared some of the look and feel. There was a location in Charlotte.

Great photo. I think we can nail it down to the Charlotte, Dallas, or Atlanta locations. In all photos I've seen chair styles were different in Dallas & Atlanta, so maybe it's Charlotte?

Incidentally we think the best tiki bars always had steak on the menu & it was usually about the best thing in the house. This was definitely so at Trader Vic's as well as the Mai-Kai back in the day when they had like a 17 page menu ...

Hamo posted on Fri, Sep 9, 2022 6:31 PM

Well, look at that. Oh GROG of little faith. Great work, mike and marie.

Google Translate says nuyentu means "you are something" in Zulu. Not sure if that is accurate here, but we know some tiki places certainly had African pieces mixed in.

This bit of sleuthing is next level cool. Thank you for the information, it was fun to learn something new!

GROG surprised as hell. Now if somebody can help GROG find GROG' keys, that would really be some next level sleuthing.

Some of the best threads on TC are the urban archaeology and internet sleuthing, especially when they lead to real-life finds, like the guy who went up to Oxnard and met I believe a cook from the old Trade Winds ... we always liked the tv finds too like hunting for tiki on Fantasy Island ... dustycajun was the master at pulling great lost photos and clippings of forgotten tiki places, like of Kelbo's and stuff in Tarzana ... but there's so much gold like this in the TC archives, like JOHN-O's search for Frank Bowers and all the fun at the Marina del Rey's Don the Beachcomber ... the threads that forward ideas on old places and people are ones we like too, like the thoughts on Don Blanding and Banana Republic.

But now we need some sleuthing help here ... we remember an interesting thread about the edge of Santa Monica and finding stuff there along Chautauqua and W Channel, like traces of nautical and proto-tiki at the SHOREbar, and even posting screenshots of the Bogart film In A Lonely Place which had a scene there ... and we can't find it. There's tons of stuff buried deep in these archives ...

Mike and Marie: Thanks so much for your reply! I had never heard of the Dobbs House Luau before. As Charlotte is the closest (about 20 miles) city to my grandparents' town, the photo was most likely taken at the Charlotte location. Happy to have this little mystery solved. I should add that I'm new to this site, despite being a tiki fan for about 7 years now. I heard on the Quiet Village podcast that this was the place for getting questions like mine answered, and so far my expectations have been exceeded!

Great job, mike and marie! I love seeing things like this happen again here.

And great photo, Tiki-Michi.

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