Trader Vic’s Coming to Florida Panhandle

Site of Trader Vic's in Destin, Florida, from
Site of Trader Vic’s in Destin, Florida,

Some out-of-nowhere news: Trader Vic’s is opening next month in Destin, Florida, in the state’s panhandle. It’s part of the new Palms of Destin resort — the Palms website makes only vague references to a “themed” restaurant, but doesn’t mention Trader Vic’s anywhere. However, Craigslist ads are looking for a Sous Chef to work under Executive Chef Juan Palerm, and the Trader Vic’s website now has a page for the Destin location (with no information beyond “March 2007”). Someone who owns one of the condos has their unit up for rental, advertised here, with mentions of Trader Vic’s (and “Traitor Vic’s”), including this photograph of the purported location. I’m not sure the location could look less tiki unless it was a parking garage, but we can hope that this picture is pre-tikification.

It’s seems strange to me that the word has come out about this location so late in the game; I can’t help but wonder if this is a quickie marriage. The new San Francisco, Bellevue and Scottsdale locations have been criticized for their relatively spare decoration; I’m getting tired of saying resignedly, “well, at least you can get a decent Mai Tai.” Please, please, please let this location be a good one.

Thanks to GatorRob for the tip-off!

5 thoughts on “Trader Vic’s Coming to Florida Panhandle

  1. Vic’s really seems to have a problem figuring out what constitutes the core of their appeal, don’t they? I wouldn’t go there just for the food and drink, because it’s far too expensive. It’s all about ambience.

    Well, like you said, at least the Palo Alto Vic’s knows they’ve got a problem and seem willing to fix it. Let’s hope the other new locations do the same.


  2. What attracted me to Trader Vic’s is the worldwide atmosphere, dedication to scratch cooking and great original drinks. The ambience is tropical, fun and entertaining, while maintaining the fine dining appeal. That is why we are more expensive than, let’s say TGIFriday’s. We are a fine dining restaurant and bar. I din’t know what the problems are for the other locations, but I believe we have found solutions to many problems of any restaurant trying to make it out there and I am always willing to listen to suggestions and pass it on to , not only corporate TV, but our ownership as well. Please let us know what we can do better. Sincerely
    Chef Juan


  3. Hi,
    It does have a Plain-Jane exterior sadly. I stayed in the condo back in February. I will give a brief description of the local. The entry is a drab columned concert sidewalk. Then a set of glass doors flanked by two rather nice blackened wooden tikki. The style was of undetermined poly-somewhere origin. A spares side hall leads to the traditional trader vic open dinning area with large dug out canoe on the ceiling and numerous booths and tables and chairs. The bar was a “c” shape with a traditional long plank off to the side. A small band was playing Jazz and Marvin Gay music. A rather lame covered patio was outside. Even though it seemed vacant of the thundering beats of native drums and the flaming spears I had a good time. The exotic drinks and my exotic date kept my interest. Sadly one of the few hospitable oasis of traditional folk kitsch left in the area of Florida. Alas the exotic flowers of Florida are being crushed some even before they can be planted.

    Fare well Faraway Friends


  4. Well, sad to say but the Tiki experiment failed in Destin FL. Bad location, bad advertising, bad ownershipand bad economy all led to the failure. The food was great, the view beautiful, the drinks awesome. A little more clarity for you. There was no clear direction by the ownership who have no idea how to run a restaurant. This led to high turnover of employees, up and down business levels and a complete undermining of the philosophy of Tiki and Trader Vics. I, the former chef, have decided to live in Prague and am starting a personal chef business. Hope all is well in the land of Tiki


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