Trader Vic's

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Trader Vic's logo outside a restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona (This location has since closed in July 2011)
Old Menu cover, original Trader Vic's, Oakland

Trader Vic's is a restaurant chain headquartered in Emeryville, California. Victor Jules Bergeron, Jr. (December 10, 1902, San Francisco, California – October 11, 1984, Hillsborough, California) founded a chain of Polynesian-themed restaurants that bore his nickname, "Trader Vic". He was one of two people who claimed to have invented the Mai Tai.[1] The other was his amicable competitor for many years, Don the Beachcomber.

Biography and expansion[edit]

Bergeron attended Heald College in San Francisco, California.[2] On November 17, 1934, using $500 in borrowed money, Bergeron opened a small bar/restaurant across from his parent's grocery store at San Pablo Avenue and 65th Street in the Golden Gate District of Oakland, California.[3] He named it Hinky Dink's. As its popularity spread, the menu and decor developed an increasingly tropical flair, and Hinky Dink's soon became Trader Vic's. In 1940 the first franchised Trader Vic's opened in Seattle, Washington.[4] In 1950, Bergeron opened a Trader Vic's location in Hawaii[4] and in 1951 at 20 Cosmo Place in San Francisco.[3] The chain of restaurants grew and is credited as one of the first successful themed chains, a marketing model that many other restaurants followed. In 1972 the original location in Oakland was closed and replaced by a bayfront restaurant in nearby Emeryville, California,[4] now considered the chain's flagship restaurant.

During the Tiki culture fad of the 1950s and 1960s, as many as 25 Trader Vic's restaurants were in operation worldwide. They all featured the popular mix of Polynesian artifacts, unique cocktails, and exotic cuisine. In the 1980s and 1990s, the chain began to shrink as a new generation of people had little or no connection to the chain's tiki theme. Poor locations or less trendy addresses took a toll on the chain's popularity. While many of the original locations have closed, Trader Vic's once again has grown to 19 locations around the globe.[5] As of 2012 there are four Trader Vic's restaurants in the United States, three in Europe, eight in the Middle East, and three in East Asia. The Trader Vic's Corporation also franchises restaurants and bars under the names the Mai Tai Lounge, Trader Vic's Island Bar & Grill, and Señor Pico, which take the total restaurant count up to 27.

Headquarters[edit]

The company is headquartered in Emeryville, California.[6]

At times the company had its headquarters in several locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Corte Madera and San Rafael.[7][8]

Restaurant Locations[edit]

In addition to the current locations below, Trader Vic's has several future location's planned. A restaurant is planned for the Swiss-Belhotel Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. The hotel and restaurant are expected to open in 2015. A Trader Vic's was also planned for the Corbin Park development in Overland Park, Kansas, although opening was delayed when the Corbin Park developer filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Construction activity began resuming in 2012; however, a new completion date for Trader Vic's has not been announced.

Current Locations[edit]

Country State/Province City Year Opened Notes
England London 1963 located in the London Hilton on Park Lane
Germany Bavaria Munich 1971 located in the Hotel Bayerischer Hof
United States California Emeryville 1972 flagship location; closed from April through September 2010 for renovations[9]
Japan Tokyo 1974 located in the Hotel New Otani Tokyo
United States Georgia Atlanta 1976 located on the lower level of the Hilton Atlanta
Thailand Bangkok 1992 located in the Anantara Bangkok Riverside, renovated and reopened in 2011
United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi 1994 located in the Beach Rotana Hotel & Towers
United Arab Emirates Dubai 1994 located in the Crowne Plaza Hotel Dubai
United Arab Emirates Al Ain 1999 located in the Al Ain Rotana Hotel
Bahrain Manama 2000 located in the Seef district at the Ritz-Carlton
Oman Muscat 2000 located in the InterContinental Hotel in Shati Al-Qurm
United Arab Emirates Dubai 2004 located in Souk Madinat Jumeirah
Jordan Amman 2007 located in the Regency Palace Hotel
Saudi Arabia Riyadh 2009 located in Panorama Mall
United States Oregon Portland 2011 located in the Pearl District, formerly located in the Benson Hotel from 1959 to 1996
Qatar Doha 2012 located in West Bay neighborhood at the Hilton Doha; opened summer 2012
United Arab Emirates Dubai 2012 located in Dubai Festival City; opened November 2012

Former Locations[edit]

Country State/Province City Year Opened Year Closed Notes
United States California Oakland 1934 1972 the original Trader Vic's restaurant, originally known as "Hinky Dink's"; closed and relocated to Emeryville, California in November 1972
United States California Beverly Hills 1955 2007 located in The Beverly Hilton; closed in April 2007 as a result of reconstruction plans to convert the hotel to a Waldorf Astoria. A Trader Vic's Lounge poolside bar was opened offering some of the signature drinks and limited food options.[10]
United States Illinois Chicago 1957 2005 located in the Palmer House Hilton; closed on New Year's Eve in December 2005 as a result of the hotel's acquisition by Thor Equities[11]
United States New York New York 1958 1965 located in the Savoy-Plaza Hotel; opened in April 1958; closed in 1965 when the hotel was demolished to make room for construction of the General Motors Building
United States District of Columbia Washington 1961 1995 located in the Statler Hotel Washington
Canada British Columbia Vancouver 1961 1996 located in the Westin Bayshore Resort & Marina at Coal Harbour[12]
United States Arizona Scottsdale 1962 1990
United States New York New York 1965 1989 located in the basement of the Plaza Hotel; opened in 1965 following the closure of the previous location at the Savoy-Plaza Hotel; contained an outrigger canoe used in the film Mutiny on the Bounty; closed in 1989 as a result of Donald Trump's purchase of the Plaza Hotel. Trump considered Trader Vic's to be tacky and inconsistent with his vision for the hotel.[13][14]
United States Missouri St. Louis 1968 1985 located in the Bel Air East Motor Hotel at 4th and Washington
United States Missouri Kansas City 1973 1996 located in Crown Center in the Westin Hotel; closed in 1996 when its lease was not renewed by the hotel[15]
Japan Osaka 1986 2006 Opened in September 1986 at the Hotel New Otani Osaka. Closed in June 2006.
United States California Palo Alto 2001 2012 When it opened in 2001, it was the first new Trader Vic's location in the United States in 28 years. Closed in August 2012[16]
Germany Berlin Berlin 2003 2009 located at the Hilton Berlin; opened in April 2003; closed March 2009
United States California San Francisco 2004 2007 located in the Civic Center; closed December 2007[17]
United States Washington Bellevue 2006 2008 located in Lincoln Square, adjacent to the Bellevue Westin; opened in March 2006; closed in August 2008[18]
United States Arizona Scottsdale 2006 2011 located in Hotel Valley Ho; opened in summer 2006; closed in July 2011 to make way for a more casual restaurant that would be open for more than just dinner[19]
China Shanghai 2006 2008 opened in December 2006; closed February 2008[20]
United States Texas Dallas 2007 2010 located in the Hotel Palomar; opened in March 2007; closed in January 2010 for temporary renovations due to a burst pipe; closure was announced to be permanent in April 2010[21]
United States Florida Destin 2007 2010 located in the Palms of Destin resort; opened in April 2007; closed in 2010
United States Nevada Las Vegas 2007 2009 located in the Miracle Mile Shops at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino; opened in October 2007; closed in 2009[22]
China Beijing 2007 2008 opened in December 2007; closed in February 2008[23]
United States Illinois Chicago 2008 2011 opened in December 2008 on the ground floor of the Newberry Plaza building, using much of the original decor from the former Palmer House Hilton location; closed in July 2011[24]
United States California Los Angeles 2009 2014 located in the L.A. Live entertainment district, adjacent to the Staples Center; opened in 2009; closed March 2014[25]

Books of recipes and stories[edit]

Trader Vic's in London at the Hilton Hotel
  • Trader Vic's Book of Food and Drink (1946)
  • Bartender's Guide by Trader Vic (1947)
  • Trader Vic's Kitchen Kibitzer (1952)
  • Trader Vic's Pacific Island Cookbook (1968)
  • Trader Vic's Bartenders Guide (1972)
  • The Menehunes (1972)
  • Trader Vic's Book of Mexican Cooking (1973)
  • Trader Vic's Helluva Man's Cookbook (1976)

Books published by third parties[edit]

  • Trader Vic's Tiki Party!: Cocktails & Food to Share with Friends
  • Cocktails of the South Pacific and Beyond (with a detailed early history of Trader Vic's original location)

See also[edit]

  • Trader Joe's, which was inspired in part by the success of Trader Vic's

References[edit]

  1. ^ San Francisco Chronicle, November 11, 2004
  2. ^ Heald College: Career Education and Hands-On Learning
  3. ^ a b "1984: Trader Vic dies", San Francisco Chronicle (October 9, 2009)
  4. ^ a b c Trader Vic's legacy
  5. ^ Trader Vic's. Locations. Retrieved on September 10, 2012.
  6. ^ "Corporate Contacts" at the Wayback Machine (archived November 10, 2006). Trader Vic's. Retrieved on February 25, 2010.
  7. ^ "Corporate Contacts" at the Wayback Machine (archived August 21, 2006). Trader Vic's. August 21, 2006. Retrieved on February 25, 2010.
  8. ^ "Contacts" at the Wayback Machine (archived March 19, 2008). Trader Vic's. March 19, 2008. Retrieved on February 25, 2010.
  9. ^ http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/2010/09/16/trader-vics-emeryville-ready-to-reopen-after-a-dark-summer/
  10. ^ http://articles.latimes.com/2007/may/08/local/me-tiki8
  11. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2006-01-10/news/0601100337_1_trader-vic-thor-equities-carved
  12. ^ http://spacing.ca/vancouver/2012/09/19/restaurants-that-changed-vancouver-trader-vics/
  13. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1989/01/25/nyregion/trump-to-close-a-tacky-trader-vic-s.html
  14. ^ http://ny.eater.com/2013/10/30/6345505/remembering-trader-vics-new-yorks-favorite-tiki-bar
  15. ^ http://www.pitch.com/kansascity/high-steaks/Content?oid=2178031
  16. ^ http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2012/07/23/shop-talk-trader-vics-departs-for-the-sea
  17. ^ http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2009/03/26/trader_vics_returns_from_grave_to_sue_over_construction.php
  18. ^ http://seattletimes.com/html/foodwine/2008138043_trader26.html
  19. ^ http://www.azcentral.com/thingstodo/dining/articles/2011/07/12/20110712trader-vics-hotel-valley-ho-scottsdale-closing.html
  20. ^ http://shanghaiist.com/2007/12/21/trader_vics_to.php
  21. ^ http://sidedish.dmagazine.com/2010/04/14/official-notice-trader-vic%E2%80%99s-in-dallas-has-left-the-building/
  22. ^ http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/jan/07/owner-closed-trader-vics-files-bankruptcy/
  23. ^ http://www.thebeijinger.com/blog/2008/02/19/trader-vics-closed
  24. ^ http://chicagoist.com/2011/07/01/the_sad_story_of_trader_vics_in_chi.php
  25. ^ http://la.eater.com/2014/4/1/6251029/five-years-in-trader-vics-at-la-live-serves-tiki-no-more

Trader Vic's referenced in Warren Zevon's classic song "Werewolves of London".

External links[edit]