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Pago Pago

Tucson, AZ
Bar & Restaurant
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2201 Oracle Road
Tucson, AZ
No longer in operation.

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Humuhumu’s description

Pago Pago (pronounced "pango pango") featured decor from Oceanic Arts and from Eli Hedley.
The site now houses Starbuck Design, a promotional products company.

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atomic tucson
atomic tucson was a semi-regular at Pago Pago.
June 1, 2016, 3:16 AM
The other comments left out one of the names/incarnations Dean Short gave it was the Bali Hai. I went during the Bali Hai and Ports O Call days. We just called it the "Ports" I remember only polynesian waitresses in the 70's. The interior was amazing, if I could draw I could probably re-create it from my mind. My mother was married to Short's son, so we went there A LOT when I was a kid. We have no ephemera, my step-cousin has an old tiki tho from one of the restaurants.
May 15, 2011, 3:05 PM
The bartender's name came back to me. It was Ed Shaky Harris.

When I moved up from dishwasher to busboy (huge jump), on my first night I went out the in door in the kitchen and caused a full pot of HOT coffee to spill all over the chest of a waitress. She gasped and cried and said very nicely, "Always use the door on the right when you're going out and when you're coming in...like driving...get it?".
None of the servers were Polynesian. Maybe that was before my time. I do remember a woman from Ireland working as a waitress.
To tell the truth, I don't recall the monkeys at all...I think I saw the glass-covered enclosure and was told there used to be monkeys there that treated the patrons to nasty behavior that caused some patrons to be greatly upset.
May 15, 2011, 2:01 PM
A few comments from my friend Peter E.

"I worked at several Dean Short restaurants. My first was the Pago Pago, which became the Aku Aku, which became The Ports O Call. I worked at the El Corral the most, because I liked it the best. I also did time at the Ye Olde Lantern and a short short (no pun intended) stint at the Kon Tiki."

"It [the fire, circa 1964-65 ] happened when it was the Aku Aku. The walls were covered with what looked like palm fringe. The man who was vaccuuming the floors pulled on the extension cord to get it unplugged. A spark set off a fire which spread...like wildfire. Later, when the restaurant reopened it became the Ports O Call."

"The Pago Pago was my first restaurant job. My Dad knew the manager Hoyt something or other. I was a dishwasher and learned about cleaning pots and pans so they were really clean. I kept the chef happy in that regard and he made great food for me. There was a woman there named Evelyn who made the most amazing cherry cheesecakes. She would give me a slice from time to time."

"The cocktail hostess was this tall (6'1") statuesque blonde who wore a bikini top and a hula skirt as she perched on the highest high heels I had ever seen. The dessert was pineapple sherbet with champagne poured over it. The hostess sampled the champagne all through the evening and was rockin' and a rollin' on those high heels, but never fell."

"The bartender was named Ed "Shaky" and the last name escapes me. He had been a quarterback for the U of A back in the early 50's. I learned to grow tired of Hawaiian music...at least the music that played over and over and over and over...did I mention over? again. I like Hawaiian music just fine now."

"They had a glassed in cage with monkeys and some sort of palm trees in the bar. Eventually the monkeys did enough nasty stuff which caused them to be taken away."
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