One of my favorite tiki locations is the Mauna Loa in Mexico City, not because I have scads of interesting history of the place, but for the opposite reason: it has been an intriguing mystery for me.
There have actually been two Mauna Loas in Mexico City. One still operates today on Ave. San Jeronimo, and I have very little information about it, other than that is actually has a Polynesian floor show — always a promising sign. The other is a bit better documented, but long gone. I would love to think that the two locations are related, but have not uncovered any information that confirms or refutes that.
Today, I am going to focus on the Mauna Loa in Mexico City that is now closed, which was on Hamburgo. The restaurant’s interior, pictured above in a postcard, shows it had some rather grand elements — live flamingos, large tikis, lava rock walls. The menu from the location is equally impressive, and one of my favorites. The menu when open is about 1-1/2 by 2 feet, and is full of beautiful full-color graphic illustrations on every page. Just a few images from this outstanding menu can be seen on Critiki.
The Mauna Loa also had unique mugs — or at least semi-unique, some of them are similar to mugs found at the also-mysterious Ren Clark’s Polynesian Village in Ft. Worth, Texas. There are artist’s renderings of these mugs visible in the menu, and they include a fertility goddess mug, a handled mug of a head with a pointed nose, and my personal favorite — a coiled snake, complete with head at top rim. Recently, MachTiki at Tiki Central found a fertility goddess mug very similar to those seen from the Mexico City Mauna Loa. This one does not have any restaurant marking, but does have a large manufacturer’s label, for an Enrique Guerra with an address that appears to be from Mexico City. Is this the manufacturer for the Mauna Loa mugs? Did they also produce mugs for Ren Clark’s Polynesian Village? Did these mug designs originate somewhere else, and were merely copied?
It’s fascinating to me. I hope that someday we will hear from someone who visited the Mauna Loa, or had family that did.
- Mauna Loa Fertility Goddess… Maybe???? [Tiki Central]
- Mauna Loa, Mexico City, on Hamburgo (closed location) [Critiki]
- Mauna Loa, Mexico City, on Ave. San Jeronimo (possibly open location) [Critiki]
- Mauna Loa Mexico Fertility Goddess with Swirls [Ooga-Mooga]
- Mauna Loa Mexico Fertility Goddess with Marking [Ooga-Mooga]
- Mauna Loa Mexico New Guinea Handled Mug Brown Interior [Ooga-Mooga]
- Mauna Loa Mexico New Guinea Handled Mug White Interior [Ooga-Mooga]
- Mauna Loa Mexico Snake Mug [Ooga-Mooga]