Last Remnants of Don the Beachcomber in Waikiki Sent to Dumpster

Last remnants of Don the Beachcomber at Waikiki's International Market Place, photo from Fil Slash
Last remnants of Don the Beachcomber
at Waikiki’s International Market Place,
photo from Fil Slash

A tragic and shocking development in Waikiki: these two moai posts, which are the last reminders of Don the Beachcomber’s glorious presence at the International Market Place in Waikiki, have reportedly been sent to the dump.

These moai used to stand sentry at the Dagger Lounge and Bora Bora Bar part of Don the Beachcomber. The original Don the Beachcomber location in Hollywood kicked off the entire Polynesian Pop trend; he led the charge once again after he moved to Hawaii, and created the International Market Place with his Don the Beachcomber restaurant as the centerpiece. The International Market Place also held a Trader Vic’s, and became a major tourist hub in Waikiki.

This space is being renovated to accomodate a new Quicksilver store, and local tikiphiles have been keeping a close eye on the renovations. Despite assurances that there were no plans to remove the structural moai posts, they are now missing. Remarkably, the construction crew reportedly tossed them in to a dumpster that was taken to the dump.

It’s a terrible shame that a lovely piece of the International Market Place’s history has been treated so shabbily, and that the location of these tikis is now complately unknown. It seems hard to believe that anyone would actually throw them away; perhaps they went home with a member of the construction crew. There have been rumblings about Don the Beachcomber re-opening in Las Vegas; I’m not sure how that’s coming along, but surely that would have been a better home for these historic tikis than the dump.

UPDATE: Holden Westland, owner of Tiki Farm, passes along this news via Tiki Central:

I am happy to let you all know that I received a phone call with the whereabouts of these 2 special Moai and they are safe and will soon be revitalized in a place very befitting of their dignity not too far from their original location.

Verrrrry mysterious… but it sure sounds a lot better than the dump.

7 thoughts on “Last Remnants of Don the Beachcomber in Waikiki Sent to Dumpster

  1. Aloha to all, yes we were able to save the special Moai tiki, Mike Leary the owner of the Island Demo Company pulled the historic tiki’s and brought them to us for repair and save keeping. Our company is a small Mom and Pop that has just opened up the Tree house Cafe called Java Flow upstairs next to Trader Vic’s location. Come vist the Tree House in the International Market Place, we are Tiki Central for all you Tiki lovers, great coffee and food. A treetop View of the Market Place next to Elevator in the heart of the Market Place. We also have a great tiki mug and carved tiki display that is Waikiki largest! See Ya there ! Aloha


  2. Aloha from the International Market Place in Honolulu Hawaii!

    Yes, the Treehouse is wonderful!! Free wireless from the best spot to people watch! Great Coffee, and food at the Java Flow Tree House Cafe, Tiki’s are beautiful and the ship all over the world. This place is a must see!!!! The owners are local and the staff is caring and sharing the Aloha Spirt. As I write I have a great Tiki mug full of great tasting North Shore Coffee, wish you were here!


  3. The young man in charge of Java Flow last Tuesday morning (was it Drew?) was very friendly and the cafe is top notch!. We watched the walls come down next door and lamented the loss of the landmark and the destruction’s effect on the local businesses upstairs, but this venue has a clear sense of the value of Waikiki history and Island spirit. The patio is welcoming and comfortable and the menu reportedly expanding. I was happy to find this little treasure and only sad that I didn’t discover it until my last day on the Island!


  4. hello, i was wondering if there is a site i could go to that would show pictures of the 1950s “Don the Beachcomber in waikiki ? thanks forany help ,kurt blakesley


  5. The family let the name and copyright expire so a very big fan-Art Snyder-bought Sam’s Fish house in Huntington Beach Ca and resurected Don the Beachcomber’s. Art did a great job bringing an authentic Don the Beachcomber touch to the project, complete with a dagger bar. For the fans that miss Don’s in Waikiki, Kona and Hollywood, the new Don’s in Huntington Beach CA will not be a let down. Technically it is in Sunset Beach, right on the Pacific Coast Highway. Great bands like Robbie Armstrong are regulars there, and many nights the back room will feature Beach Boys tribute bands too. The Mai Tai’s are great, Kona Beers on tap, great atmosphere and great people. Definately a place to stop.

    Truth in advertising – I live around the block and spend a lot of evenings there.

    The food is great too!


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  7. I’m glad they were saved. It reminds me of when the SF Ferry Bldg was being renovated. They came across two horns on the tower, old things. Didn’t know what they were. So they sledge hammered them to bits and threw them away. Why not? Man with hammer, everything else is to be nailed or smashed. They were horns of a type invented here and used to call the beginning and end of the work day, and could be heard across most of the main part of SF. Happily, this renovation crew was apparently more alert and sensitive than the dolts in SF, and a bit of history survives, for now.


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