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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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N

So, After someone told me that there was going to be a new Tiki Bar in the Minneapolis area, I did some poking around. It turns out that one was opening at the Mall of America. It is owned by Famous Dave's BBQ. I haven't had a chance to see the place yet, but based on the decor of Famous Dave's, I will bet that the decor is amazing. There are supposedly 14ft. Tikis in the place. I am going to try and check out the place this week and will report back.

Below is the grand opening anouncement for the restaurant.

Mike

Kokomo's Island Cafe Grand Opening

Event Date:  Monday, November 03, 2003

When you enter Kokomo's Island Cafe, you'll feel you have escaped to an island paradise, complete with sparkling waterfalls, exotic colors, fresh flowers, and the hypnotic rhythms of steel-drum music.

Kokomo's Island Cafe is a feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds...featuring Tikis 14 feet tall and the flavors of the South Seas. Lunch or dinner at Kokomo's will paint an exciting and unforgettable South Pacific culinary experience.

Kokomo's Island Cafe opens Monday, November 3, at 319 South Avenue (Level 3 South).

 

Kokomos? ....Steel Drums???

Sounds like a Caribbean Bar -- NOT a tiki bar.

Was going to point that out also... didn't want to be the bearer of bad news...

N

I agree that the description in that article sounds more Carribean then Tiki, but another article I read mentions 14 foot tikis and pupu platters. It will almost certainly be a mish-mash of themes.

I am planning on checking it out Thursday or Friday. I will try and post pictures if it is worth while.

Mike

http://www.kokomoscafe.com/

Site only has there logo at the moment.

T

I wonder why the owners of these theme joints always want to make it a mish-mash of Buffett, Carribbean, and Tiki? Do they feel the customers wont notice, or do they think the customers will like it better that way?

Je ne sais pas. C'est fou!

Ah, Kokomo, that tropical paradise in the heart of... Indiana.

P
pablus posted on Wed, Nov 5, 2003 8:07 AM

Well congrats.
You're one up on Tampa:
The bay where drunken pirates took over every city council and county commission and burned, raped and pillaged all the Tikis.

On 2003-11-05 08:07, pablus wrote:

Well congrats.
You're one up on Tampa:
The bay where drunken pirates took over every city council and county commission and burned, raped and pillaged all the Tikis.

How did they... wait, I probably don't want to know.

I went to http://www.kokomoscafe.com & found nothing; I Googled "Kokomo's Island Cafe" & found a banner site, a CarrerBuilder ad for "SERVERS/BARTENDERS, HOSTS, LINE COOKS, MANAGERS, [&] SOUS CHEFS", and a notice from Lockheed Martin (?) recomending it to their interns.

The CareerBuilder ad was the most informative, saying: "Dave Anderson, founder of Famous Dave's has done it again! Kokomo's Island Cafe is newest concept and is on its way to being one of the hottest restaurants around! This island inspired cafe and gift shop boasts island music, vibrant colors, tiki torches, waterfalls and carefree island life. We are opening later this fall at the Mall of America and are beginning our search for the best people in the business
to execute our tropical cuisine and one of a kind cocktails with a NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, AT YOUR SERVICE kind of attitude!"


Rev. Dr. Frederick J. Freelance, Ph.D., D.F.S

[ Edited by: freddiefreelance on 2003-11-05 09:05 ]

Steel drums sound like enough to keep me away.

" NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, AT YOUR SERVICE kind of attitude!"

A little cold up there in the Cities to be running around like that...

T

Well, something is better than nothing...

Yeah...something about the Carribean that just reminds me too much of mud, poverty, bad pot, stinky people, death squads, trash, run-down buildings, and getting tortured by the Maquuut. Fuck Buffet. Give me South Pacific every time.

T

Happy, happy talk! Talk about things you like to do.

TM

A tiki bar in Minnesota...geez, what's next? An Austrian bodybuilder becoming governor of California? Honestly, I think it's great somebody is trying to bring a taste of Oceania to the cold north-midlands...even if it is materially motivated. Besides, tiki is more a state of mind than a actual state.

Bong~
I'm gonna hurl...seriously.

But back on subject, they don't seem to know that Reggae isn't Pacific in Hawaii, either. It's taking over the native music scene.

[ Edited by: purple jade on 2003-11-05 18:58 ]

On 2003-11-05 06:47, tikifish wrote:
I wonder why the owners of these theme joints always want to make it a mish-mash of Buffett, Carribbean, and Tiki? Do they feel the customers wont notice, or do they think the customers will like it better that way?

I don't think the owner's themselves even know there's a difference!

  • Tikis are of South PACIFIC origin -- about oh, 6,000 miles or so from the Caribbean (in the ATLANTIC ocean).
  • Music from the South Pacific - Hapa Haole, ukuleles and lap steel guitars. Music from the Caribbean - Reggae and Steel Drums.
  • Pacific Islands - Volcanoes, Caribbean Islands - Rocks.
  • South Pacific pastime - Surfing, Caribbean pastime - smoking ganja.
  • Pacific ambassador - Don Ho. Caribbean ambassador - Jimmy Buffet.
  • South Pacific tikis - Ku, Lono, Moai, Maori, Marquesan. Caribbean tikis - Carter takes a poo.
  • Lastly, native Polynesians look COMPLETELY different from native Caribbeans.

Seems like there's a lot of differences here -- how come nobody else sees them????


**Poly-Pop ***

He who dies with the most broken mugs WINS!

[ Edited by: PolynesianPop on 2003-11-05 21:51 ]

TM

Poly,
Was that a rhetorical question. Nobody sees the differences because nobody really cares to. Most restuarant patrons aren't folks like us spending their leisure time posting "tiki-esque" commentary on internet tiki forums. Normal people just want to sip their margaritas or mai tais and eat their blackened grouper sandwich in a quaint atmosphere that envelopes them in a generic island motiff. So you see, it's all good, mon.

Also, Bob Marley is more of a Caribbean ambassador than Jimmy Buffet ever was.

"Generic island motif" was run into the ground as of the late 1980's. It just never cast the same spell as the South Seas enchantment of the tiki era. It's become as tired and boring as the 80's Applebee's-style fern bar. True Tiki had 40 good years in the heyday. That Carribean crap was cliche in about 5 years. The style was lame, the drinks were lame, the music was lame, and the whole thing geared to the lowest common denominator. Bob Marley? Jimmy Buffett? Man...I'd need the pot and the margarita just to fight the depression of listening to any more of that garbage. Visit the Mai Kai soon and take notes.

TM

Basement Kahuna,
Perhaps if you were freezing your arse off in -30 degree weather you'd be a little more accepting of this hybrid, mongrel tiki bar-gone-bad. Then again, perhaps you wouldn't...Anyway, I wasn't defending the actual bar (which I've never been to), or even the blantant over-commericialization of the tiki bar concept. My point was merely that everyone is not a cultural purest, South Pacific affectionado or otherwise tikigeek. I've studied tiki culture, both Polynesian and Caribbean (yes, the native Caribbean folks made carvings too...sort of African looking)and I know the difference. However, the average Joe does not...and could care less.

K
kctiki posted on Thu, Nov 6, 2003 6:00 AM

And another thing. If this Carribbean/Tiki abomination turns out to be popular there, maybe some tasteful entrepeneur will dig the tiki stuff & open a strictly tiki spot done right. In light of that, this could be a step in the right direction for Minnesota.

I think Carribbean history & culture is fascinating in & of itself, ditto for the South Pacific. But it does kind of bug me to see it all swirled together.

I'm such an old relic I can remember listening to Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, long before the Margarita twit brigade ran it into the ground. I still like to listen to it, but not in it's usual current public setting.

N

Let's not forget that the key ingrediant in most Tiki drinks is rum, and where does rum come from? That's right, the Carribbean!

Mike

Re: music, I recall driving around Honolulu in 1999, listening to the local radio in my rental car. A large part was reggae-esque, and I recall one song with heavy rotation stating "Proud to be Hawaiian...." to a caribbean beat. Irony...

When I was in Honolulu the other year there were 2 "Jawaiian" reggae radio stations, the drinks were all made with rum, there were palmettos lining some streets...


Rev. Dr. Frederick J. Freelance, Ph.D., D.F.S

[ Edited by: freddiefreelance on 2003-11-06 09:26 ]

[ Edited by: freddiefreelance on 2003-11-06 09:27 ]

T

On 2003-11-05 18:56, purple jade wrote:
Bong~
I'm gonna hurl...seriously.

PJ,

My 'happy talk' comment was just a tie into BK 'gimme South Pacific' comment'. No respect, no respect at all!.

T

On 2003-11-06 06:06, Nepenthes wrote:
Let's not forget that the key ingrediant in most Tiki drinks is rum, and where does rum come from? That's right, the Carribbean!

Mike

Damn good point!

T

Hey, how come it is, the more I start to post like everyone else did, the more they start to post like I used to (ie hyper-critical extravaganza).

On 2003-11-06 09:00, Tiki_Bong wrote:
Hey, how come it is, the more I start to post like everyone else did, the more they start to post like I used to (ie hyper-critical extravaganza).

Mr Bong, it's a joy to me whenever you post, however you post, whatever you post.

Don't go changing/ To try & please me...

On 2003-11-06 05:05, Tiki Mon wrote:
I've studied tiki culture, both Polynesian and Caribbean (yes, the native Caribbean folks made carvings too...sort of African looking)and I know the difference. However, the average Joe does not...and could care less.

I hate to break it to you, but the concept of difference is moot because there is no such thing (as Carribean Tiki). The Carribeans are creating approximations of the African carvings they left behind when they were brought to the Carribean as slaves in the 17th and 18th centuries to work in the sugar industry. -On the "tiki" that really does exist, the word Tiki emanated from the South Pacific; first with the Maori of present-day New Zealand and later to Tahiti/Bora Bora/Cook Island and the Austral Islands (it loosely means "first man"). It eventually took on similar meaning throughout Oceana. Us haoles sort of took the word and ran with it to mean any sort of South Seas figure. It's Pacific. Always was, always is, always will be. Anyone citing it's origins from anywhere else is misinformed. Do you own Sven Kirsten's "Book Of Tiki","Arts Of The South Seas" illustrated by Miguel Covarrrubias, or Anthony J.P. Meyer's "Oceanic Art"? I'd stop listening to brain-dead parrotheads...They know little past the base instincts "Let's get drunk and screw". Again, too I'd suggest a field trip to the Mai Kai or Trader Vic's.

P.S. Bong...I love you. (And didn't we drive this information home in about 100 different other topics fromtimes gone by?). I (in my meaningless opinion) say the Book of Tiki, cover to cover, should be a required doctrine here...would keep everyone on the same sheet of music. :)

[ Edited by: Basement Kahuna on 2003-11-06 09:58 ]

TM

Read the book, been to Mai Tai...both very great. In fact, I'll be going there again very soon...just a couple of hours away down 1-95.

Can of worms, anyone?

In his book, Night of the Tiki (2001), Nason redefines tiki as "any anthropomorphic image from Oceania. As such, tiki should include human-like images not only from Polynesia but from other Oceanic areas." But he's just an anthropologist, not an authority or anything.

Perhaps it's time to broaden one's horizons. Or at least find someone to get drunk and screw with.

[ Edited by: Tiki Mon on 2003-11-06 10:15 ]

Riiiight. Look up Oceanic, too, while you're at it. (sound of tiki long bus pulling away now...sound of tiki short bus pulling up and opening it's doors).

TM

Webster is so overrated.

On page 19 - Night of the Tiki (2001), Nason writes:
"...new school of tiki carvers have extended the boundaries of Oceanic Art, which today extends from Southeast Asia to Florida and the Caribbean..."

Sorry, bus was delayed in Key Wasted...
Go Gators!

[i]On 2003-11-05 21:48, PolynesianPop wrote:
Caribbean ambassador - Jimmy Buffet.

My vote's for Bob Marley, but I'd even choose Jimmy Cliff/Harry Belafonte/Tito Puente/Celia Cruz/Wyclef Jean over Buffet!

Just b/c we don't want him in the South Pacific doesn't mean we have to dirty up the Caribbean!

However, you raised some very good points.

Tiki Chris

[ Edited by: Tiki Chris on 2003-11-06 12:19 ]

TB

BK, did you have a bad carribean vacation experience?

On 2003-11-05 22:00, Tiki Mon wrote:
Also, Bob Marley is more of a Caribbean ambassador than Jimmy Buffet ever was.

Tiki Mon,
You're right, Bob Marley IS more of a Caribbean ambassador than Jimmy Buffet. But you obviously missed the point of my post.

The point was -- CARIBBEAN IS NOT TIKI.

No matter how you slice it, it's not even close. Again, note the points I illustrated in my original post:

On 2003-11-05 21:48, PolynesianPop wrote:

  • Tikis are of South PACIFIC origin -- about oh, 6,000 miles or so from the Caribbean (in the ATLANTIC ocean).
  • Music from the South Pacific - Hapa Haole, ukuleles and lap steel guitars. Music from the Caribbean - Reggae and Steel Drums.
  • Pacific Islands - Volcanoes, Caribbean Islands - Rocks.
  • South Pacific pastime - Surfing, Caribbean pastime - smoking ganja.
  • Pacific ambassador - Don Ho. Caribbean ambassador - Jimmy Buffet.
  • South Pacific tikis - Ku, Lono, Moai, Maori, Marquesan. Caribbean tikis - Carter takes a poo.
  • Lastly, native Polynesians look COMPLETELY different from native Caribbeans.

I was illustrating how different South Pacific culture is from Caribbean culture.

Basement Kahuna hit the nail on the head when he said:

I hate to break it to you, but the concept of difference is moot because there is no such thing (as Carribean Tiki). -On the "tiki" that really does exist, the word Tiki emanated from the South Pacific; first with the Maori of present-day New Zealand and later to Tahiti/Bora Bora/Cook Island and the Austral Islands (it loosely means "first man"). It's Pacific. Always was, always is, always will be. Anyone citing it's origins from anywhere else is misinformed.

Therefore, if it ain't tiki then how can it be called a tiki bar?!

BTW - it ain't even Polynesian Pop!

TM

All points taken and well received. Just having a bit of fun playin' the devil's advocate. Must be all this damn tropical moisture blowin' in from the Caribbean. Good ole' Florida, it's November and we're still in the mid 80s with humidity at 87%. Oh well, it'll be Fall in a couple more months.

"They're freezin' up in Buffalo, stuck in their cars and I'm lyin' here beneath the sun and the stars." -JB

S
seamus posted on Thu, Nov 6, 2003 5:53 PM

In Eugene Oregon there is a lame college hangout called Kokomo's Bar and Grill - it's written up in TRT. We stopped in there for lunch last month to check it out, and it's the same type of thing. A mish mash of "island style" decor with some bamboo around the booths and a few decent but hard to find Tikis hidden in the corners. Like I said, it was lame, BUT, much like Minnesota, we don't have alot of Tiki establishments to choose from around here, and I haven't been up to Portland in quite awhile, so even though the place kinda sucked it was also kinda nice to have a Hula burger in a bamboo booth with a couple of Tikis standing watch.

Do I wish they would've done it right and made a proper Tikibar- damn straight.

Would the average College age patron care if it was done right? NO (tiki wha???)

Will I go back ? Perhaps for lunch. But not anytime soon. (The lunch specials were CHEAP!)

Sometimes lame Tiki is better than no Tiki at all, so I can appreciate what Tiki Mon is trying to say, But I'm gonna have to side with the orthodox Tiki fundamentalists on this one. Especially on this site. What do you think would happen if some jackass opened an Irish Pub and then decorated it with a bunch of British flags and decor. The average dopey patron may not notice, but I know a few Irishmen that wouldn't think twice about burning the place down!

N

Well, I just got back from Kokomo's. I will say that it is more than I expected, but less then you would hope for in a Tiki bar. The decor is certainly full of tikis, but I will let you all decide on whether it qualifies as a Tiki bar. Please bear with me since this is the first time I have posted photos.

Here is the front entrance.

Inside the entrance.

More inside.

The bar. Yes, those are giant flowers!

Some of the retro decor. Not nearly enough, and it doesn't sound like the are going to be adding anymore.

And the last photo is the mug that the had custom made.

I didn't get any photos of the two dinning rooms, but they look nice. Kind of dayglow, but very heavy use of bamboo and thatching.

Didn't have time to try out the food, but the menu covered both the Carribbean and Polynesia.

Mike


Morning comes.
Veins warmed by the bean.
Day begins.

[ Edited by: Nepenthes on 2003-11-06 21:19 ]

[ Edited by: Nepenthes on 2003-11-06 21:22 ]

[ Edited by: Nepenthes on 2003-11-06 21:23 ]

[ Edited by: Nepenthes on 2003-11-06 21:41 ]

They look like psychadelic trolls. Just my opinion, but I would rather have nothing than this. I would rather drive my car the 90 miles to Hala Kahiki or trader Vics... or even Rock A Tiki for that matter. Even Rock A Tiki in it's modern interpretation is more "Tiki Bar" than this. I also think it has too much of a "mall restaurant chain" look... i.e. Rainforest Cafe, Planet Hollywood... etc. It looks like a jump on the bandwagon business venture that won't last long... especially in the Midwest.

I don't know if they are in Tiki Roadtrip, but in Milwaukee we have two cocktail lounges... "At Random" and "Bryant's." They serve many specialty drinks... many that are found in any tiki bar. But they stick to their guns and are a "swank lounge" environment. I'll patronize them for a good drink even without the tiki, though I'll miss it for sure.

I see this new place as wrong on all accounts... maybe more... wrong decor, wrong theme, wrong direction... wrong information...

Call me a stubborn bastard purist... give me tiki... or nothing at all...and I'll create my own... I don't like the mix of Atlantic and Pacific...

Thanks for taking the time to post pictures though... :wink:

On 2003-11-06 23:31, Lake Surfer wrote:

Call me a stubborn bastard purist... give me tiki... or nothing at all...and I'll create my own... I don't like the mix of Atlantic and Pacific...

...And Lake does create his own...Damned fine for a 'strappin man of the northwoods, too. Those Kokomo tikis look to me like something from a sleazy carnival midway kiddie ride. Makes me think of the smell of cheap sausage and onions mixed with diesel fuel. Yuck. I wanna smell fresh fruit, poi, and perfumed wahines. That's why I prefer a Tiki bar.

Nep, did you sculpt any of this stuff? I e-mailed something to Kokomo's, but now I see my stuff doesn't fit in with this place. Aaa....yeah, well anyways. Don't the Simon's own this?

[ Edited by: thechikitiki on 2003-11-07 00:46 ]

TM

Thanks for posting the photos. Now that the curtain has fallen...Tiki meets The Country Bear Jamboree! Yikes!

I

Is that a gift shop behind those two guys?

On 2003-11-07 00:05, Basement Kahuna wrote:
I wanna smell fresh fruit, poi, and perfumed wahines. That's why I prefer a Tiki bar.

^^^ BK: you know a Tiki bar where I can get poi??? Please let me know. I've been craving poi for four or five years straight, but I find the idea of shipping it from HI sketchy.

[ Edited by: Iolani on 2003-11-07 10:03 ]

I

I guess one should not expect authentic tiki when dealing with large shopping malls - especially malls that feature large indoor amusement parks named Camp Snoopy. I've been to the Mall of America once, and rather enjoyed the experience, but it is a whole world apart than the world of tiki that I enjoy.

Are there any decent tiki bars and locations located within a shopping mall? Most of my favorite tiki places are located in individual buildings - much like a lone desert island in the middle of an ocean. I would have preferred to see a smaller, more authentic tiki bar in a more quiet or hidden section of the Twin Cities (much like Nye's Polonaise Room)) rather than this Kokomos located where one must attract many to counter the high rents.

The picture that disturbed me the most was the one with the bottles of beer displayed on the wall. Perhaps we should classify a tiki bar not only by the amount of tiki decor within, but by the ratio of exotic drinks served versus bottles of beer. I do think the decor of this place is too cartoony, but if people are drinking more mai-tais than Budweiser, then it might be a fun place to hang out, especially when the tiki bars of Chicago are 420 miles away.

Kokomo's may not be an authentic tiki establishment. But I do get a small perverse thrill from the possibility of riding the NASCAR race simulators (located in the mall) one moment, and then drinking a mai-tai in a custom mug 5 minutes later.

Vern

S

Those pictures gave me nightmares.

I'm with Lakesurfer. I'd take no Tiki to those tikis!

T

The mugs aren't custom-made either. Those are Libby glasses available for a few bucks each wholesale. Unless they had them imprinted with their logo, which the pic doesn't show. (Had to get my digs in too.) The tikis in this place are definitely on an acid trip. (Real tikis only take kava.)

T

Therefore, if it ain't tiki then how can it be called a tiki bar?!

You know, I wish someone would go to Florida and point all of this out to the owners of all of those countelss ersatz 'Tiki Bars'.

Lono bless the Mai Kai!

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