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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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Name:Aloha
Type:restaurant
Street:2724 South Campbell
City:Springfield
State:MO
Zip:65807
country:USA
Phone:417-883-9581
Status:defunct

Note: I am leaving my original post intact for the sake of documentation and because the posts following it wouldn't make much sense otherwise, but Aloha went out of business on July 3, 2004.

Description:
This is a Polynesian restaurant and bar located in a strip mall. It has been open about seven months. Many of the dishes are Chinese but the manager tells me they will soon switch to an all Hawaiian menu. Some tropical drinks are served in a selection of about 15 different Dynasty mugs (the new ones made in China) which are sold separately for $7. They also have the Dynasty volcano bowls and sell those for $14.
The decor holds the most Tiki you'll see in the surrounding states. Disney tikis (some with silver paint) flank the front door. Water trickles down a vertical glass panel with a tropical scene just inside the door and it circulates into an aquarium system that runs all over the restaurant under plexiglass panels in the floor. You can watch the koi swim by your table as you dine. All of the free-standing tables have one large-backed wicker chair and the thatch covered booths are decorated with either a print of a hula dancer or a wooden mask.
The place uses a number of Orchids of Hawaii lamps left over from a previous Polynesian restaurants the owners had a number of years ago. A mural of a landscape with a Moai decorates one of the walls and various back-lit masks and such are scattered about to saturate the mood. The music when I was there was a mix of modern rock with some Hawaiian.
The manager says that if the business grows, he'd like to expand and have a large tiki/fireplace similar to Kahiki. He actually has a copy of The Book of Tiki behind the bar and I showed him Tiki Road Trip.
I'll get some more info on my next visit and post some pics when I can scan them.

[ Edited by: tikijackalope on 2004-07-25 22:56 ]

K

Thanks Tikijackalope, this is most exiting news!

8T

I agree. Perhaps those of us in the MO,KS,AR & OK area can plan a get together there this summer and talk tiki just like the folks on both coasts get to do. Any idea how many of us that would be in the 4 state area???

Here is some more info: Current hours are Sunday to Thursday, 11AM to 10pm; Friday and Saturday, 11AM to 11PM. The place is non-smoking all the time.

[ Edited by: tikijackalope on 2004-01-19 19:44 ]

K

I don't think there are very many Tiki Central Members in this area. A few Arkansasians but I can't recall their screen names.

The Queen City of the Ozarks is a great place for regional tiki revival. It would be fun if there were ever enough of us for a "to do" at the Aloha. Especially after it goes all Hawaiian. We could call it Ozark-a-Tiki.

Question: What do they call duct tape in the Ozarks?

Answer: Chrome.

Sorry, I'm usually not up this late.

K

oops

[ Edited by: kctiki on 2004-01-16 02:09 ]

As I mentioned, we'll be there this weekend and would welcome company. I am wondering if there are any drink questions anyone would like me to ask. I've little knowledge of mixology but can tell you all are into the minutia of it so I don't mind gathering info while I'm there. I think the manager mentioned that he uses Trader Vics recipes but I'll double-check that.

8T

We can't make it this weekend but I'm sure before the year is out we can get a group together. Have fun! Got any photos of the mugs they sell?


Save the Tikis!

[ Edited by: 8FT Tiki on 2004-01-16 16:07 ]

I'll shoot some mug pics and get particulars this weekend, but I can tell you they are all Dynasty Wholesale mugs, some of which are from old Orchids of Hawaii molds. Here is Dynasty's website: http://www.dynastywholesale.com/index.html
I have only two pics of the place on hand but here they are.

In the pic below, coming out from the base of the glass panel fountain, you can see part of the under-floor aquarium.

T
Tiare posted on Fri, Feb 13, 2004 5:35 PM

Hi All- I have a friend who recently moved to Springfield and sent me this Tiki report of when he and his girlfriend went at the end of January. He has given me permission to post his review. I have never been there but it sounds worth a visit, I especially like the part about the gumball machine with fish food:

Immediately in front of you as you enter is a glass waterfall. Looking
down, you notice that there are Plexiglas panels on the floor running
throughout the restaurant. There are koi swimming beneath the panels.
There is a bubblegum machine with koi food, so for a quarter you can
Feed the fish. I would say half of the seating is in the form of booths.

These are no ordinary booths, however. They are done up to look like
Thatched roof huts. On the wall in each of the booths has a colored chalk drawing of scenes of the South Pacific....most of them are hula girls.

The lighting is pretty cool. Each booth has a light made from a piece
Of bamboo. In the rest of the restaurant, the light fixtures look as
Though they are made from carved wood. There were a couple other lights made of sea shells! Not much on the walls outside of the booths. There was one scary looking mask on one of the walls.

The bar was boring.

Included with each place setting there was a plastic lei. I wore mine,
But Dawn refused. The wait staff all wore flowered shirts....no grass
skirts on the ladies, however.

As was mentioned on that Tiki board, the menu is mostly Chinese. We
Each had a drink. I had a flaming volcano for one and Dawn had something called a beachcomber (it was blue). The drinks were both very good, though I was disappointed that mine was not actually flaming. My drink was served in a sort of ceramic bowl with hula girls around the sides. I'm sure it is new, but it looked like it would have been right at home in 1955. Dawn's drink was just served in a pilsner glass.

The food was surprisingly good.
Dawn had some pan fried noodles with chicken and I had a spicy orange beef dish. We didn't have an appetizer, though if we had, we would have chose the hibachi grilled beef skewers. Pretty reasonably priced. With the drinks, the bill was $31 before tip.

Service was excellent. Our waitress was responsive without bothering
us all the time. They had a small army of people running around to refill water glasses and keep the floor clean. The hostess kept going around wiping up stuff that spilled on the pleixglas.

The beachcomber Dawn had was made with some sort of citrus vodka, blue
curcao and some fruit juices. It was nice and tangy and citrusy...I
think that is why she liked it. She doesn't like super sweet drinks. I thought it was pretty tasty myself.

I found out from one of my co-workers that it is owned by the people who own Mr.Yen's. This is significant because Mr. Yen's is the only 'nice' Chinese restaurant in town that we've seen. There are a ton of Chinese buffet restaurants here, but the quality is questionable at a lot of them. Mr.Yen's has really nice dim sum on the weekends.

In the rest of the restaurant, the light fixtures look as
Though they are made from carved wood. There were a couple other lights made of sea shells!

I'm pretty sure those are Orchids of Hawaii lamps...about ten different ones. One of my favorite things about eating there is wandering around and taking pictures of them.

There was one scary looking mask on one of the walls.

Omni Hut has one of the same ones. They always look to me like an acid-freak's vision of a demonic triceratops...more Thai than Polynesian. What do our experts think? This one is at Aloha:

From what I have been told, the family has been in the restaurant business for decades and the decor for Aloha came from storage where it had been put when previous Chinese and Polynesian restaurants (i.e. Diamondhead in Joplin) closed.

Included with each place setting there was a plastic lei. I wore mine,
But Dawn refused.

Oh, ya gotta wear the leis! If for no other reason than to forget you have it on until hours later when you wonder why the convenience store attendent is looking at you funny.

The drinks were both very good, though I was disappointed that mine was not actually flaming.

I think they do actually have something they set on fire; I'll ask since we're going there for Valentines Day.

My drink was served in a sort of ceramic bowl with hula girls around the sides. I'm sure it is new, but it looked like it would have been right at home in 1955.

Their volcano and scorpion bowls are a mix of pieces bought recently from Dynasty and some they've had, perhaps for 20 years, in their various restaurants. Unlike the majority of their Dynasty mugs, many have Orchids of Hawaii imprinted on the bottoms. But I don't know that they actually date back that far or if Dynasty just didn't remove the OoH reference from the mold for awhile.

Pretty reasonably priced. With the drinks, the bill was $31 before tip.

They have great lunch specials, most about $6-7. I recommend the ribs, though they are more like $9.

Service was excellent. Our waitress was responsive without bothering
us all the time. They had a small army of people running around to refill water glasses and keep the floor clean. The hostess kept going around wiping up stuff that spilled on the pleixglas.

Yes, the service is good; but I am concerned that of the five or so times we've been there, the employees have outnumbered the customers except for one time on a Sunday afternoon when they were crowded.
This place has decorative flaws, IMHO, like the very strip mall-like ceiling and a tendency to paint things in bright colors (i.e. Witco-like boy and girl plaques on restroom doors that are painted silver) but the waterfalls add a nice audio ambiance, sometimes the music is exotica, the tikis (bright though some be) are tikis, the fishies under the floor are cool, the food is good, the service is attentive and the lighting and privacy of the booths make this a great date restaurant.
If it goes out of business there'll once again be no tiki place for literally hundreds of miles around in any direction.

I found out from one of my co-workers that it is owned by the people who own Mr.Yen's.

They also own Grand Fortuna in Springfield and both it and Mr.Yen's serve some drinks in Dynasty mugs, although they don't sell them like Aloha does.

[ Edited by: tikijackalope on 2004-02-14 04:15 ]

Aloha ceased business July 3rd. The owners are redecorating it and plan to open a Japanese restaurant in the building. I have mixed feelings about it's closing: it had flaws...Jimmy Buffet, garish colors, etc...but some of the decor was vintage, it was the only tiki restaurant or bar within literally hundreds of miles and the food and service were good. In a bulk purchase I bought most of the decor, both the good and the garish.

R

Quote:

There was one scary looking mask on one of the walls.  

Omni Hut has one of the same ones. They always look to me like an acid-freak's vision of a demonic triceratops...more Thai than Polynesian. What do our experts think?

I know it is a version of a 'dragon mask' that is made in Banaue, Ifugao, The Philippines. They are very, very common there and quite cheap as they are almost mass produced soley for commercial sales. It looks like a 20"-24", so that one would have cost around 400 Pisos or about $3.50 if you bought it in Banaue. It would have been painted afterwards somewhere else, as painting wood carvings there is all but unheard of.

[ Edited by: Rattiki on 2004-11-20 02:00 ]

K

Bummer! I may be visiting my sister in Columbia, Missouri for Thanksgiving and I was hoping there might be some tiki in MO! SHOW ME the TIKI!!!!!

I'm glad Jackalope had the foresight to buy the cool stuff from that Aloha restaurant!

If you come to NYC, you have to visit Otto's Shrunken Head.

cheers,
Kiki

For one night a year, one mask from Aloha sees the public again in my neighborhood Halloween display. I try to pick a different one each year.


2004 - one of two large Orchids of Hawaii masks from Aloha's exterior, similar to the ones on the outside of Chef Shangri-La near Chicago.


2005 and 2006 - Philippine dragon mask from over one of the booths. You can actually wear these things, but it's not comfortable.


2007 - one of two smaller Orchids of Hawaii masks from a wall near the bar. By the time Aloha closed, this poor guy had lipstick and chewing gum stuck to him - no wonder he was pissed.


I do like letting them out of the house to live a little. I can guarantee they're happier now than they were at Aloha - especially during the last 6 months or so of the restaurant's life when they forgot exotica and Jimmy Buffet and Paul Simon played in an endless loop. Now THAT was scary.

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