Mai-Kai: History and Mystery Book

Mai-Kai: History and Mystery Book

History & Mystery of The Iconic Tiki Restaurant


South Pacific Hollandale Florida Video

An interesting bit about the history of one of the Mai-Kai’s rivals, the South Pacific in Hollandale Florida. None of the people I interviewed considered this place, or any other Polynesian restaurant in the area, as a true rival. Like Western Sizzler is a rival of Ruth’s Chris. The Mai-Kai was far and away in a class by itself. But with 50-60 years of perspective, we heap them together.


It is interesting to me to see how many of the performers were also working at the Mai-Kai before or after their Hollandale gigs.

Lundy Nelson is first as he was band leader at the Yankee Clipper Polynesian Room and at the Mai-Kai and here as well. He was at the Mai-Kai for 17 years. It was his sister Elana who helped train Mireille Thornton as a choreographer and taught her Hawaiian dance. I created a little video of a track for his band the Tahitian Aires album:

Tiki Central South Pacific post here.

Also of note is the fire-knife dancer Chief Faalia who was one of the first at the Mai-Kai. He performed all over the country and is an avid collector. He is collecting mugs, menus and postcards from places he actually visited and performed!

Faalia at the Mai-Kai. Note carving behind him is at the Mai-Kai today.
Faalia at the Mai-Kai. Note carving behind him is at the Mai-Kai today.

The Honeymoon Bowl from the South Pacific gave me fits trying to find it. Go to eBay and search for “Fish Bowl” and see what you get! I finally found one at Hukilau. I have seen it marked “South Pacific” but most are unmarked.


There were countless Polynesian places in Florida in the 1960s. None matched the Mai-Kai and few survive today.

4 thoughts on “South Pacific Hollandale Florida Video

  • Larry Hines

    Nice information.
    In the video of a track of the Tahitian Aires, at about :57-1:03 the gentleman in the background, where Lundy would normally stand, is George Hines(my dad). My father and I performed on Monday nights, which was Lundy’s night off.

    • Larry, is that the same George Hines who performed at The Hawaiian Room of The Lexington Hotel in NYC? If so, I would love to chat with you for my radio station. Mahalo!

      Bill Wynne
      Ho`olohe Hou Radio

      • Larry Hines

        The same. I was only eight at the time. Don’t know how much insight I would have.

  • Melissa Kaaeamoku Adams

    E aloha mai, I wanted to reach out to whom ever put this video together. One of the Hawaiian band members who played the steel guitar, ukulele, and other instruments for the Tahitian Aires was my Grandfather, Billy “Warboy” Kelly. I’d love to get in touch with you on how I can find more photos and footage of him. This find for me made my heart jump and these new images of home would truly be cherished by the rest of my ohana. Is there anyone here that I can get in touch with??


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