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THE ISLANDS – PHOENIX, ARIZONA – 1960

Islands Restaurant

On the oh-so-rare occasion I am lucky enough to run by chance across a slide of a fifties-era Polynesian Restaurant, my heart skips a beat and I shed a tear of genuine joy! So rest assured when this slide of The Islands came into focus through my lupe it was a happy day! It was then an extra happy occasion when I ran across an old phone book ad from the Islands Restaurant that provided the following info on the place.

Don’t you just love that grass shack roof and those tapa cloth walls? It was promoted as a “Polynesian Paradise in the Heart of Phoenix” and served “Charcoal Broiled Steaks, Seafood from Everywhere in the World and magnificent Polynesian Foods.” It was on Seventh Street just South of Camelback Road. It opened about 1957; I don’t know when it closed -70s? There was The Tapa Bar, The Tiki Room, where there was “Dancing nightly to the delightful music of Don Olds in the beautiful Waterfall Room.” Imagine a room with a waterfall – sounds pretty good tome. And if that’s just not wild enough for you there was also the Cannibal Room – doesn’t that just make you want to order a puu-puu platter!

Like the Islands, most fifties-era Polynesian and Tiki themed restaurants didn’t have long lives. However if you wish to have a far off exotic dining and dancing experience à la the South Pacific, don’t despair! Two of the all-time greatest Polynesian themed restaurants are still in the gracious land off the living. When on the East coast I suggest you enjoy at the amazing

For more tiki-licious places to discover you’ll have to read TIKI ROAD TRIP: A GUIDE TO TIKI CULTURE IN NORTH AMERICA by James Teitelbaum. And of course your tiki-lovin’ life will not be complete until you pass out over THE BOOK OF TIKI by Sven A. Kirsten

GOD BLESS AMERICANA and POLYNESIANA