Trader Vic’s in Emeryville Seeking Support from the Community

The flagship Trader Vic’s location, in Emeryville, California, is seeking help from the community as they present their case against some special legislation being proposed at a City Council meeting next Tuesday, December 1.

Trader Vic's in Emeryville, photo courtesy of Critiki member Peniamina
Trader Vic’s in Emeryville, photo courtesy of Critiki member Peniamina

This Trader Vic’s location is like no other: it is owned and operated by Victor Bergeron’s family (the other locations in the chain operated under special franchise or partnership agreements). Trader Vic’s has been an important anchor in the Bay Area dining scene going back all the way to 1934; it was in 1972 that the original Oakland location closed and the restaurant moved to the marina-side Emeryville spot. It sits nearly alone at the very end of a spit of land in San Francisco Bay… nearly alone. It is neighbored by a small complex of condominiums. Some of these neighbors have lodged a complaint about hearing music coming from the Trader Vic’s, leading to a proposed amendment to Emeryville’s Cabaret Ordinance, which has covered nightclubs, not restaurants.

Fisherman Trio performing at Trader Vic's in 2014
Fisherman Trio performing at Trader Vic’s in 2014

As we’ve discussed before on Critiki News, live music has played a significant role in the history of Polynesian restaurants. Trader Vic’s carries on this tradition, regularly hosting live bands in their bar, and providing music for special events and weddings at the restaurant. Personally, being able to hear Fisherman Trio playing Exotica classics in the bar at Trader Vic’s has been a special thrill. Losing the ability to have music at Trader Vic’s would be a blow to the business, and to the community.

Trader Vic’s is asking for support at the Emeryville City Council meeting where the change to the law will be discussed. It’s happening next Tuesday, December 1, at 7:15 p.m. at 1333 Park Ave., Emeryville. They also have prepared a letter, and are asking people to add their name to the letter in support. If you’re able, individual letters may have even more impact: here is the directory for Emeryville’s City Council, with email addresses for each member (and a phone number, too).

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