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Info needed regarding Kona Kai-- Kansas City

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Hey everyone, Looking for a little help.
Does anyone out there have anything from this restaurant? I know of a S&P set (that we don't have yet) but I would like to know if anyone has menus, placemats, matchbooks, swizzles, napkins, mugs, postcards etc.?

We especially want to find interior photos which will help us to document the location of our namesake within the restaurant where it once stood. Thanks for any details you can dredge up for us! Any photos you have would be great. We just want to know what's out there so we can assemble a Kona Kai-KC
memorabilia "wish list". Can you help??

I second that motion. I wish I could help, but xept for that matchbook in the BOT I come up empty. I just know that the Kona Kais were pretty lavish.
But this gives me an idea to another thread:
The most underdocumented Tiki temples.


I worked at the K.C. Kona Kai in 1978. It was indeed lush and extravagant - just gorgeous. The bar was my favorite.

Everyone who worked there was always saying the company paid "a million dollars" to decorate it, or was it two or three million?

I vaguely recall a postcard but don't have one, or any other momentos for that matter. I don't think customers had the option of keeping their mugs, but I'm not sure.

The Tiki Quest book has the following:
Pages 39 & 40 mugs, page 114 - salt & pepper shakers, page 121 - plate, page 143 - ashtray.

8 ft. Tiki, the people you bought the Tiki from, did they say how they acquired it? Maybe you could follow the chain of ownership and find out when and where the Kona Kai stuff was distributed when it closed.

When I worked there a Mr. Victor Lim was the manager. As I recall, he was a lifelong restauranteaur. Maybe he's still around somewhere.

You know when you stay at a hotel they always have those books in the rooms with restaurant ads with photos. Maybe those companies keep archives of old photos. Also the Entertainment Coupon Books print photos of some of the nicer restaurants, maybe they keep archives.


Here are some Kona Kai mugs,


The fogcutter mug with the Kona Kai Tiki in relief was used at the various Kona Kai restaurants. But I think the other mug Alnshely show is actually Orchids of Hawaii's version of the Kona Kai mug (I think they used the designation of R-88 and it's on page 15 of T.Q.). There is also a Bamboo of China version (pg. 60). The OMC version which is actually marked "Kona Kai" on the back (both with a black stamp and embossed, there are different generations) looks slightly different. He has more detail, and his nose is crooked (like he was in a fight). Bigbro's B.O.T. shows the original source of their logo Tiki on page 143 & 54.

I only know all this because Amy and I were married at the Kona Kai in Chicago and passionately collect stuff from there. KCTiki was right about the pieces in Tiki Quest, but there are also swizzles and a matchbook in there as well (pg. 136 and pg. 131). As far as I can tell, they used the same accouterments at all the Kona Kai, since they were a chain. We also have a couple of menus I'll photograph. One has images of the different mugs and bowls they used. We've seen postcards fom K.K. on ebay, but have never found one ourselves. Do you have any Sabu?

Here is the OMC version:

You probably already know that it was in the Hilton at 45th and Main.

I have some dinner plates that come from there; at least that person who sold them to me said they were from the KC location. Hard to tell with Kona Kai stuff, a lot of it was identical from place to place. The plates are nice with the Kona Kai logo tiki on them in two colors.

I'll try to remember to photograph them when I get a new camera (my old one was recently stolen).

kctiki posted on Wed, Jun 2, 2004 2:46 PM

I just found a 1974 edition of the "Kansas City Visitor" at a garage sale (those books that are in hotel rooms).

I was very excited to see an ad for the Plaza Inn Kona Kai on the inside back cover. But rats! There aren't any photos!

Here is some of the text:

"The ultimate in Polynesian food & drink. Victor Lim, the internationally celebrated chef, has created a phenomenon ... ANOTHER Kona Kai? Of course. The Victor Lim phenomenon comes to the KCI airport...Plaza Inn International opening Spring '74"

I could be wrong, but I don't remember a Kona Kai ever being at the KCI airport. Looks like I have some more digging to do.


I found a postcard of the KC Kona Kai on the web, but Shutterfly wouldn't recognize its format so I had to print & then scan it which it why its so it's fuzzy.

The link to the website should be http://utm.edu/~jrodgers/badmotels.com/3b1.htm - but the link doesn't work.


Here's a cool postcard recently found by Tikisgrl. I haven't seen this before so if anyone comes across another one I would be interested in getting one. THANKS

kctiki, is that Victor Lim in the photo???

Aw gee, those blue question mark/lost images are really frustrating, the KC Kona Kai is a rare sight, from which every snippet of ephemera should be set in stone, and not subject to the vagaries of the virtual world.

. . bump. .

Found anything else yet?? I'm still scrounging for that postcard that shows MR 8ft in his original space. Somewhere, someday . .. .

kctiki posted on Sat, Oct 4, 2008 4:20 AM

The man's face on the postcard is blurry. It certainly could be Mr. Lim, the physique is the same. But this guy appears to be making an attempt to crack a smile, which is completely out of character.

I'm not surprised there are no artifacts around. One got the distinct impression that if even so much as a salt shaker came up missing . . . consequences . . . most unpleasant!

There was a Kona Kai at the Airport Hilton at least in the early 80's. I worked there as hotel banquet staff and we set up many functions in there. Wish I had some of the stuff.


Yes, we knew that there were 2 seperate locations. One near the Country Club Plaza, the other up North of town near the Int'l airport. So can you describe what you remember of the place? We don't know of any interior shots so a description would be helpful. Are you still in the KC area?

Pages: 1 13 replies