Route 10 and Business Loop 55
Opened in 1950
Closed in the early 2000s
by 1 person
The Tropics was opened in 1950 by Vince Schwenoha along an especially treacherous stretch of Route 66 (at the end of "Killer Curve"). Schwenoha spent some time in Hawaii when in the military, and was inspired to open this restaurant upon his return.
The dining rooms had bamboo and murals of tropical scenes, but were spare in decoration and were clean and bright. The bar area initially was of the sleek, bamboo-bedecked variety that was common in the pre-tiki age, but apparently underwent a remodel at some point that added an angular bamboo frame over the bar and some tiki masks on the walls. The entire building was rebuilt at some point, but it is unclear when this happened.
Some items from The Tropics mention "Your Hosts Bev & Lou Johnson," with pictures of the original building. It is unclear when Bev and Lou (sometimes spelled "Lew") took over from Vince Schwenoha (or if perhaps they were truly only hosting, while Vince still owned the place).
The restaurant continued operating until the early-to-mid 2000s. The restaurant is closed but still stands today, and is currently for sale.