Hawaiian Village Restaurant – Myrtle Beach, SC

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Hawaiian Village Restaurant and Hotel

When I came across this card I had to get it because of its proximity to me. I have not been to Myrtle Beach. It is considered to be a very tacky and redneck place, but more and more I want to go to see what remnants are left there from the mid-century. It’s counterpart is near me in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, and there is a lot of vintage still there. So I have some hope this place stands in some form.

backBeing that it was “new” in 1965, this card is post-1965.


This set of carvings is intriguing. Is it Witco? The times are right, but these don’t look quite right. It is at least Witco inspired.

biggyIf anyone knows of the fate of this place, let me know. If anyone wants to sell me this giant carving that is junking up their garage, let me know.

UPDATE: A postcard view of the exterior.

UPDATE: Check out all the images and notes here on Tiki Central!

12 Replies to “Hawaiian Village Restaurant – Myrtle Beach, SC”

  1. What a great card! That sounds like a huge restaurant, and it looks fantastic. Those carvings definitely look like Witco to me, but I’m not the biggest Witco expert. I think the timing does coincide with when William Westenhaver was living/working in Florida, doing all that work at the Hawaiian Inn & other places along the eastern seaboard.

  2. The Hawaiian Village Restaurant and the associated Motel complex was torn down years ago– absolutely nothing remains of it.

    I had thought that it was replaced by Village Square, one of the first strip malls in the Myrtle Beach area, which is located on the west side of the highway between 41st and 44th Ave. North. But, according to that card, the restaurant was on 39th Ave. I could have sworn that the Village Square property replaced all of that.

    The next time I go back to MB, I’ll scout around the 39th Ave. area, and see what I can find. I’m almost positive that this stretch is all restaurants and trashy t-shirt shops now. Myrtle Beach isn’t kind to its historical landmarks.

    I vaguely remember eating in that restaurant when I was very young (6-7 or so, which would have been the late 60s). I was most impressed by that stream that ran down the middle of the room. They also had a live band for entertainment– it was standard “respectable” pop music, completely isolated from the turbulent rock of that time.

  3. A very few things remain, and the list gets smaller almost by the day.

    The big news is that the old Pavilion and its amusement park, which have been in operation since 1948, are now closed as of 9/30/2006, and will be torn down. Its hard to find a MB postcard of the beach that doesn’t prominently feature this building. If you want to see it before its torn down, you need to hurry.

    The Gay Dolphin, the ultimate tourist-trap gift shop built back in the 1950s, is still there and is still open. Its undergone a number of changes over the years, but its essentially the same. Its just down the boardwalk from the Pavilion.

    The Ocean Front Grill is another old establishment that is still there, right next to the Pavilion. On the street behind it is the Bowery, a country bar which has been open since 1944.

    On the other side of the Pavilion is the old Seaside Restaurant building. It was a nightclub for many years, and is now sitting empty and deteriorating. On Hwy 17 at 11th Ave N, don’t miss Mammy’s Kitchen, a very old restaurant, although it has been significantly remodeled over the years.

    Across the highway from the downtown entertainment district is Chapin’s Shopping Center, a block-long shopping center open since the 1930s or so. It closed in the early 90s, and a huge miniature golf course has been built in and around it, but the main section along US501, the “Main” street, looks almost the same.

    About a mile down the beach is the Family Kingdom Amusement Park, home of the Swamp Fox rollercoaster. This is one of the few remaining old wooden coasters that once dotted the eastern seaboard, and its still in great shape.

    Hardly any of the old Hawaiian/Polynesian-themed restaurants and hotels remain. Many of the hotels along the beach have been torn down and replaced by huge skyscraper towers.

    I’m trying to document a lot of these places on my webpage at http://htomc.dns2go.com/myrtle/ and I’m always looking for vintage pictures. In many cases, I’ve been able to find out what happened to a lot of these old places.

    Interestingly enough, the photographer who made that postcard – Jack Thompson – is still around and is still in business. He’s been documenting the beach with pictures for over 50 years, and has a webpage with contact info at:

  4. I have verified that the 39th avenue at Highway 17 in Myrtle Beach is, in fact, the Village Square Shopping Center area- my initial street numbering was wrong.

    The site of this restaurant was completely cleared many years ago (1979 or earlier) to build this shopping center. No other information is yet available about this, although I haven’t met with Jack Thompson yet.

  5. Thank-you for showing the postcard of this place! I miss it more than almost anything; as a kid it was the highlight of our family vacation to MB. The restaurant actually BURNED down in 1975; suspected due to arson. The huge sign in the shape of a hula-dancer, remained standing for a couple of years before it too was removed to put in the shopping center. But I remember the stream that went through the dining room, the lights in the ceiling in the shape of little stars, and the Tiki waterfall in the back of the dining room, the flaming pupu tray we would always order, and the ice cream topped with a fortune cookie(?). If you know anybody that has more pictures of the place, please let me know. Thanks again!

  6. Oooh! I remember this place from many a childhood visit. The stream through the restaurant was great, as was the entry way which included a (faux?) rock wall and cool lighting. I recall the waiters wore Hawaiian-appropriate (the Tiki-type) attire and the menu included a fried ice cream which I especially looked forward to every time my parents would stop by the place for dinner after a day at Myrtle Beach. It was either this place or, a bit later, a pretty grand Chinese restaurant a mile or so down the road which had the most incredible interior decor (to my 10-yr old eyes) — giant dragons, gold columns, waterfalls — the works.

  7. Myrtle Beach is a place that is very dear to my heart. I grew up in SC. We lived in the upstate but had a second home on the coast where we spent our summers and holidays. I have fond memories of time spent with family and friends at Myrtle Beach. It broke my heart to see the Pavilion go. I found your website because I was looking for old pics of the Pavilion and Myrtle Beach. So with all this said I was less than happy to read your comment that my beloved Myrtle Beach was tacky and redneck. I live in Tennessee now ( unfortunately) redneck has a whole new meaning to me!!!! I also live near the Gatlinburg area I do like Gatlinburg to a point but Pigeon Forge is tacky!!! You should not knock a place you have never been or spent quality time. That makes you sound ignorant..

  8. I worked in Pigeon Forge for years. Easily one of the tackiest places on Earth, and redneck as hell. Myrtle Beach is considered to be the sister to Pigeon Forge as far as demographics. Many of the businesses only exist in these two cities. I hear there are some vestiges of an older better Myrtle Beach, but most say it is more go cart tracks, putt-putt golf and airbrush t-shirts. Same as Pigeon Forge. There are some left over vintage places in Sevier County too. But if I hadn’t worked there, I would not have been inclined to go there.

  9. I was at this restaurant in 1972 while on a leave from the Air Force on my way to Korea. My brother was stationed at the Air Force Base at Myrtle Beach at that time and he and his wife owned a 10% share of this place. He told me the place burned down just a couple of years later. I recall I had deviled blue crab in the shell here for the first time. I seem to recall it as being a nice place or at least I thought it was.

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