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hollywood luau

Stephen Crane (a.k.a. Steve Crane, Steven Crane) started out as a bit actor in Hollywood in the ’30s and became better known for being one of Lana Turner’s ex-husbands than for any of his roles. Realizing his limited acting skills, Steve Crane turned his charm and energies to the restaurant business and in 1953 bought out ‘The Tropics’ in Beverly Hills. Taking his cue from Trader Vic’s and Don the Beachcomber, Steve created his own Polynesian themed restaurant ‘The Luau’. The restaurant quickly became a hit and a ‘must-see’ Hollywood celebrity hot spot. Eventually, Steve Crane would be approached by Sheraton to create a Polynesian themed restaurant for the hotels to compete with Hilton and their association with Trader Vic’s. His company, ‘Steve Crane and Associates’ soon opened up the Kon-Tiki restaurants in Montreal, Portland, Cleveland, Boston, Waikiki, and ‘Ports O’ Call’ in Dallas. The Luau is considered by many to be one of the great original Tiki palaces from the height of the Polynesian Pop era. Featuring an exotic tropical interior and a menu to match with over 70 tropical drinks. Florian Gabriel in association with Architect George Nakashima designed the stunning interior filled with intricate Tikis, square grown bamboo, and even featured a small waterfall. Stephen Crane’s own exotic contribution was a revolving cast of attractive young ladies who may or may not have been available for hire. The Luau is also known for having one of the most stunning lines of Tiki mugs and bowls. Attributed to Florian Gabriel, they are known for their intricate design and construction. As the Polynesian Pop fad faded, so did the success of the Luau. After 26 years, the restaurant closed it doors for good and the site was demolished in 1979.

 

 

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