Thursday, April 8, 2010
To say the history of the Bali Hai Restaurant is "colorful" would be an understatement. The Bali Hai was the first Tiki temple erected on Shelter Island and was originally called "The Hut", a subsidiary of Christian's Hut in Newport Beach, California. Only two years after it's opening in 1953, the Hut's manager, Tom Ham, took over the ailing business, gave it a new name (after the movie Bali Hai was released) and transformed it into the most happening place in San Diego.
For many years, the Bali Hai featured a popular Polynesian floorshow downstairs in the South Pacific Room ( See the Gallery ) where many celebrities danced and patroned. The Bali Hai also featured it's own logo Tiki..."Mr. Bali Hai", which was featured at the front door entrance to the restaurant and has just been recently renovated. The other popular, yet misunderstood, Bali Hai icon ( you can't miss him because he's up on the roof! ) is "The Goof".
In it's wake, the Bali Hai drew more Tiki temples to Shelter Island, including the Half Moon Inn, The Shelter Isle Inn, and the Kona Inn.
Over the years, some aspects of the Bali Hai Restaurant's original Tiki thematics have either been replaced or renovated away or removed all together. Today, however, with Tiki enthusiasm on the rise, the Bali Hai is making changes to accomodate a new generation of Tiki lovers, and to provide people with a great restaurant / meeting place / watering hole wherein they can reminisce about the bygone Tiki era and discuss the future of Tiki things to come!
For more historical information on the Bali Hai Restaurant and other Tiki temples erected across the country ( or the world for that matter ), see Sven Kirsten's, "Book of Tiki".