History and Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant
The Mai-Kai Restaurant is a landmark in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It features beautiful gardens, Polynesian food, exotic fancy drinks and a floor show with girls in grass skirts, Tahitian music and fire.
Long known as a tourist trap, nonetheless locals flocked there, especially with out of town guests. And they still do. Not too many restaurants in South Florida have survived and prospered as long as the Mai-Kai, which opened in 1956.
Tim “Swanky” Glazner is considered to be the foremost expert on all things Tiki. This book is a beautiful homage to the restaurant and a complete history of the Tiki craze. From Don the Beachcomber to the modern day Mai-Kai restaurant, there is a photographic history – including some of the famous patrons of the restaurant. Johnny Carson gets his own chapter that includes lots of pictures, along with a shot of a young Ed McMahon on the beach.
A visit to Fort Lauderdale should include a trip to the Mai-Kai, and it still is a fun place for special events. My in-laws celebrated their 50th anniversary there, and it was a lot of fun. And despite the perceived hokeyness, the food, and especially the drinks, are terrific.
This is a fun, interesting read and would make a great coffee table book, sure to be a conversation piece.
10/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
MAI-KAI by Tim Glazner. Schiffer; 1 edition (August 28, 2016). ISBN 978-0764351266. 176p.