I built the Hideaway first in my rental house. Then I moved in with Ms Swanky and converted her dining room into the Hideaway. Now we are living the American Dream and I am living the Poly Pop dream and we are building a rather permanent Hideaway. This is a major undertaking. The sort of thing you’d only do if you own. We’ve hired contractors to rewire everything. That is, 4 outlets in the ceiling on a switch behind the bar. A wet bar. Just a serious bar build. We are now deep into the construction phase. We hope to get started on building the actual bar soon. And then we will get to the fun part where we start putting in decor. It has been a ton of work and there is a lot more to go. Been colecting specifically for th eproject now too. We are also doing a tropical lanai to go with the Tiki bar.
Just got this card to add to the Vintage Server Girls thread on Tiki Central.
Ms Swanky gave me a few nice birthday presents. First, a stainless steel mini fridge to keep all the assorted juices and syrups needed to make great drinks in the bar. Second, a stainless steel bar sink for the bar. We bought a house about a year ago and have been renovating and now we’re coming to some new places. The 3rd edition of the Hapa Haole Hideaway will be very grand, but, it will require a LOT of work and money. Not just a decorating job like times past, but a construction job with contractors and electrical, plumbing and carpentry work. I really miss the Hideaway, and so does she. But we also have work to do on the kitchen and bath, etc. So, those gifts really meant more to me. They show she’s behind this project.
As if I didn’t already know, my male friends are reinforcing it. She’s a keeper.
We still can’t afford to get married, but we’re setting a date anyway. It’ll be in April or May 2009. We’ll settle on an exact date soon. I did Hukilau year after year starting with nothing in the bank. We’ve managed a lot of goals that were difficult and we made them happen. So, we set a date and we’ll make the wedding happen too.
And in August or so, we’ll have the grand reopening party for the the bigger and bestest Hapa Haole Hideaway!
The one great thing I credit myself with in the whole Hukilau event, is being able to promote and in some ways really help make the Mai Kai more well known and popular. We all love the place, but I love the people that run it. They are the best. The staff as well. Mai Kai.
I noticed there was not a good set of images of this magazine article on the web, so I thought I’d scan it and put it out there for everyone.
Considering all the images of this Barrel of Rum mug, you’d think they would be around, but I have seen this mug on Ebay once in maybe 5 years.
I am starting to get acclimated to the new house and having time for the things I neglected while renovating, and then getting to the things that are just sort of normal life again… This picture is a leftover. When we were moving, I snapped this picture after I had emptied all the bottles out of the bar. Sort of weird packing liquor up in liquor boxes. All the liquors, liqueurs, bitters, and sundries fit in 6 boxes. There is one more boxes with juices, and of course, the machines and utensils. This is not everything needed to work through The Bum’s books. I had scaled back buying as we went in to this house buying thing. Is this a lot of booze or a little? Seems like a tiny bit to me…
Trader Vic’s has come out with a new concept called the Mai Tai bar. This is a very low cost start up compared to a Trader Vic’s restaurant, and it concentrates on the high margin stuff and keeping staffing small, along with the floor plan.
Hans Richter (President of Trader Vic’s International) personally helped make Hukilau 2002 happen. We had been in touch with Sven Koch (V.P. of Trader Vic’s) all along thanks in part to Sven Kirsten, and so, when Trader Vic’s Atlanta decided at the last minute to charge us $2,000 to hold Hukilau there, Hans, who was on vaction at the time, called the manager and said he would cover it and to make it happen. Trader Vic’s has been a sponsor of Hukilau ever since.
I don’t know if that had anything to do with it, but, when I emailed Hans yesterday, Sven called me right away to talk about the franchise. Hans was unavailable until the 19th. It sounded very promising. I was further surprised when Hans called me about an hour later.
I started on the plans to open a tiki bar here in Knoxville in 2005. I spent time talking to James about his experience with the Kahiki Moon. I talked to Brad about Hale Tiki. I talked to tikiskip about the restaurant he owned and ran in Columbus. I learned all I could about the restaurant business and researched the Polynesian restaurant business.
We had started out thinking we wanted to do something very small like the Tiki Ti. That turned out to be impossible by the laws of Tennessee. What we ended up with was a very streamlined place, geared towards the drink menu. The menu would be such that a small kitchen staff could manage it and a small kitchen could prepare and cook it. The food would be there to compliment the drinks. The main thrust is the drink menu. Live music, fun events, special happy hours and regular all out luaus were in the plan. The general idea is to concentrate on the high margin stuff and lower operating costs while maintaining great quality and ambience.
So when I saw the Trader Vic’s Mai Tai bar concept, I saw what I had been working on for a year made better. Since the Mai Kai does not do franchises, the other option is Trader Vic’s. And this is perfect. The Trader Vic’s brand, their quality menu, thier great staff, their barware, etc. scaled into a lean, high margin bar with emphasis on fun and entertainment. It was all I had in mind to do, plus Trader Vic’s name.
I learned from Hans that the cost of the franchise and opening the bar was more than I was planning, but not out of line. I beleive there are costs to be cut here and there. Most people opening a place like this are not that worried about saving $20,000 on kitchen equipment, but I am. There are ways to do this cheaper. I can envision these opening up in smaller cities all over the US. It’s a great concept.
The first one to open will likely be the Hawaii location. The Spain location is set to open this summer. The image on the Spain site is actually the Hawaii location and it looks beautiful.
I don’t know that I can open a Mai Tai bar here, but I am looking into it. I really think this concept will work all over and I am excited to see it. There are even no restrictions on opening the Mai Tai bar in markets where the restaurant already exists.