Tiki Paradise Bahooka To Be Reborn

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Bahooka, the epic tiki shipwreck restaurant in Rosemead, served their final mai tai on March 9th.  By Christmas the labyrinth of tikis, boats, and artifacts from the islands will be reborn inside another landmark, Clifton’s Cafeteria. “I ended up buying all their marquee items,” said Andrew Meieran, owner of Clifton’s. The boatloads of decor date back almost 50 years, some to the first Bahooka location, and will grace a 21st century version of Clifton’s original Pacific Seas Cafeteria, an over-the-top island paradise that was long ago replaced with a parking lot. “We’ll have the tikis, the gas pumps, the canoes. The diving helmet is a beautiful thing. It was used to collect donations for the City of Hope. One of our messages is social responsibilty, so it will be used for that.” Thousands of tiki fans waited up to four hours for their last Bahooka meal during the final weeks and soaked up the ambience for what they thought was the last time. “We’re taking a little Southern California legend and fusing it into the Clifton’s legacy,” said Meieran.”We’re losing one and somehow it’s all coming back together.”

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Comments

  1. Ace Explorer

    March 22, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    This is great news! Tiki is just plain fun, but it also has a very important place in the history of mid-century America. When this new Clifton’s venue opens, many will be introduced to the mystery, the intrigue, and the joy of tiki in this new place.

    1. Chris

      March 22, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      Hoooray! Glad to hear this! Just hope the food is better this time around

  2. Thomas

    March 23, 2013 at 4:24 am

    I stopped by Bakooka today just to see if there was any activity and a gentleman who who had worked there for 38 years told me they had sold the collection to one person. I speculated they would organize it on E-bay.

    To get this news now is wonderful. I’ve been a regular at Bahookas for 28 years and was feeling like a part of me had died. Looks now like it’s going to be reincarnated. Also sounds like the former Bahooka’s new owners and Chinese restaurant will indeed be retaining the fish tanks (Yea Rufus!!!), the barrel lights over the tables and keeping Jack Fleigel’s original layout intact.

    Don the Beachcomber, the first Tiki place in the region was originally Cantonese cuisine. Wouldn’t it be something if the new owners had the vision to go back to our Southern Cal Tiki roots serving Cantonese fare and drink recipes from the early days? The restaurant will still look tiki with all the bamboo walls, barrel lights, fish tanks etc.

  3. Elaine

    March 24, 2013 at 2:21 am

    Anyone know if this “buy” included Rufus??? … and all the other fish tanks?
    I’m guessing it didn’t… since huge fish tanks like that are surely impractical …. and a thing of the past…. like a lot of fun things.
    Hopefully the big turtle was bought too.
    Although it won’t compare to Bahooka’s real-ness…. I’m sure I’ll visit Cliftons…. and maybe even get to like it.
    I really want to believe new Tiki-awesomeness is possible!!!

  4. Lovely Rita

    March 25, 2013 at 2:54 am

    So glad to hear this!!!! This makes me so happy knowing that the legacy (in sorts) are continuing!! <3

  5. Chris

    March 26, 2013 at 3:00 am

    I remember when the Bahooka was located in West Covina at Sunset and Francisquito Aves back in the ’70s. We didn’t live far from there and as kids we went as often as we could. I remember going to the Bahooka often on Rosemead but had the time of my life when I wore my kilt. The hostess was as sweet as could be. I don’t think that she’d ever seen a kilted man at the Bahooka before!

  6. Connie

    April 12, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Oh, I’m so glad to hear that Clifton’s will salvage all those goodies from Bahooka! There’s a fortune in tiki treasure there, and there’s no place like the Bahooka to see it all in one place. Cheers to Clifton’s!

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  9. ArchiesBoy

    August 17, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Bahooka reborn inside of Clifton’s? Sounds cool, but I’ll believe it when I see it. And let’s not forget, Bahooka was in imitation of Kelbo’s on Pico — a place never to be duplicated!

  10. mark mcallister

    October 22, 2013 at 3:12 am

    hey like everybody else, in the early 70′s my mom took me and my brother to the Bahooka. cant believe it’s gone. what would it take to raise it again ? why did it close ? who ,what, and where is Clifton’s that purchased all the artifacts, does anybody know.

  11. Mary Kanian

    May 19, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    FOOD TOO I HOPE !!!!