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Opened in 1961
Closed in 2000
Defunct tiki not included,
distances are as the crow flies.
picture, 18, 65, 128, 144-147
text 129, 144, 146, 172
menu, 14, 53
picture, 12, 60, 83, 97, 109, 127
Nov 22, 2010
Aug 27, 2010
Jun 24, 2008
Postcard from Kahiki Supper Club in Columbus
circa 1965, from the collection of Swanky
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Kahiki Supper Club is a legend in the tiki world - a massive polynesian palace in the frozen land of Columbus, Ohio. Kahiki founders Bill Sapp and Lee Henry started work on the Kahiki after their bar, the Grass Shack, burned down on this site in 1959. Sadly, I never got to see Kahiki, it closed in 2000. The Kahiki's building was a classic example of midcentury polynesian pop architecture, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Despite this, Walgreen's purchased the building and bulldozed it. The Kahiki company now is focused on selling a line of frozen foods.
Some of the interior decor had been stored in a warehouse, and there was talk of the restaurant reopening in a new location. The potential for that seems to have ended: some of the decor was installed in the frozen food factory; the Kahiki's last owner, Michael Tsao, has died; and many of the remaining artifacts appear to have been sold at auctions.
However, the Kahiki has not entirely died... in 2006, former employees opened a new restaurant in a strip mall in nearby Hilliard, called Tropical Bistro. It doesn't have the Kahiki's grand looks (much of the decor comes from the space's earlier, typical Chinese buffet incarnation), but the food and drink recipes remain the same, and drinks are served in tiki mugs.