Kahiki Restaurant

Do you remember Kahiki Restaurant?

Remembering the Iconic Kahiki Restaurant: A Journey through its Rich History


For over four decades, the Kahiki Restaurant stood as a beloved landmark in Columbus, Ohio, captivating visitors with its enchanting atmosphere and delightful Polynesian cuisine. In this blog post, we take a nostalgic trip down memory lane to explore the captivating history of the former Kahiki Restaurant and its lasting impact on the community.

  1. The Birth of an Exotic Oasis: In 1961, Bill Sapp and Lee Henry envisioned a one-of-a-kind dining experience that would transport guests to a tropical paradise. Inspired by their love for Polynesian culture and design, they opened the Kahiki Restaurant, bringing a taste of the South Seas to the heart of Ohio.

  2. A Marvel of Polynesian Architecture: The Kahiki Restaurant was not just a dining establishment; it was a work of art. The building itself was a marvel of Polynesian architecture, featuring a distinctive A-frame design adorned with intricate carvings, thatched roofs, and towering tikis. Every detail, from the waterfall entrance to the lush interior, created an immersive and enchanting ambiance.

  3. Exquisite Cuisine and Signature Drinks: The Kahiki Restaurant was renowned for its mouthwatering cuisine, featuring a fusion of Polynesian and Asian flavors. From delectable Pu Pu Platters to exotic dishes like Sweet and Sour Shrimp and Hawaiian Spare Ribs, the menu delighted taste buds and offered a memorable dining experience. The restaurant’s signature drinks, such as the famous Mystery Drink, added to the allure and became part of Kahiki’s legacy.

  4. A Gathering Place for the Community: Beyond its unique aesthetics and delicious fare, the Kahiki Restaurant became a cherished gathering place for locals and visitors alike. It served as a venue for celebrations, anniversaries, and special occasions, creating lasting memories for generations of patrons.

  5. The End of an Era: Despite its popularity and cultural significance, the Kahiki Restaurant closed its doors in 2000, leaving behind a void in the community. The closure marked the end of an era, but the memories and legacy of the Kahiki Restaurant continued to live on in the hearts of those who experienced its magic.

The Rise & Fall of Kahiki Restaurant

Kahiki Restaurant was Founded

The Kahiki restaurant was built from July 1960 to early 1961. It opened its doors in February 1961.

The End of Kahiki Restaurant

In 1997, the restaurant was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. At the time, it was the only tiki restaurant in Ohio, and the only remaining supper club in Columbus. It closed on August 26, 2000 due to prohibitively high maintenance costs and a significant loss of business, and so the property was sold to Walgreens.

The Kahiki Restaurant was more than just a place to dine; it was an immersive experience that transported guests to a tropical paradise. Its unique blend of Polynesian architecture, delectable cuisine, and enchanting ambiance created a lasting impact on the community. Although the Kahiki Restaurant may no longer be present, its legacy lives on as a symbol of cherished memories and a testament to the vibrant history of Columbus, Ohio.

Click through the gallery above for some of the most popular forgotten retail spots that are now gone, but never forgotten. Did we miss one of your favorites? Share your memories in the comments.

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