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Mai-Kai:History &Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant

In 1956, a few brash young men created the Mai-Kai Restaurant and bar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by poaching key staff from Don the Beachcomber’s, a Polynesian-themed Chicago restaurant. The Mai-Kai became the playground of celebrities and playboys, and the beautiful women working there used it as a jumping-off point for adventure and fame. Through first-hand stories and more than 400 images, this book documents the history, allure, and enduring legacy of the mid-twentieth-century Tiki era. Focusing on the period 1955 to 1971, it is the story of how the Mai-Kai and its iconic elements came to exist, and the men and women who shaped it and went on to shape the world. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Mai-Kai is the only place on earth that still serves the Rum Rhapsodies that kicked off that indulgent era.


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If you love Tiki you will love this book. The pictures are beautiful and interesting. The writing is very good and keeps you involved. There are lots of first hand accounts that bring Mai Kai to life. My family grew up with a love for this Tiki pop culture in the 1950’s and past it on to my brother and I. Mai Kai gave me a better understanding of that time, why my family enjoyed it and why everyone tried to copy it.

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