Opening of legendary eatery pays tribute to the founding father of tiki with prix-fixe menu of authentic Pacific Rim specialties and original rum cocktails
Staying true to the original Don The Beachcomber restaurant conceptualized in the 1930s by Donn Beach, the founding father of tiki, the latest incarnation of the beloved eatery, first introduced to Orange County in 1969, has found a home in Huntington Beach (16278 S. Pacific Coast Highway). Open for dinner every night, Don The Beachcomber features a menu reminiscent of that served more than 70 years ago with authentic Pacific rim specialties, including sticky ribs, ahi poke tacos, kalua pulled pork, bacon-wrapped escolar and pineapple upside-down cake. Guests have the opportunity to try some of these items on a special Island Hopping prix-fixe menu featuring three courses for $30 (excluding tax & gratuity). Each course can be paired with one of Don’s original rum cocktails for an additional $15 per person.
“Tiki is more than a type of food or drink or relic – tiki is an experience, a feeling. It was created as an escape from the hardships of everyday life, and that was the reason it gained so much popularity when it was introduced throughout Southern California more than 70 years ago,” revealed Arthur Snyder, who has owned the Don The Beachcomber brand since 2007 with his wife of 31 years, Delia. “My wife’s family was very close to tiki creator Donn Beach and it’s no secret that Don The Beachcomber gained most of its attention and notoriety for creating one-of-a-kind rum drinks. These drinks are now offered at every Tiki bar and any mainstream watering hole, but were introduced to the world when the very first establishment opened its doors in Hollywood in 1934, immediately after Prohibition ended.”
Don The Beachcomber’s famous rum drinks are created from original recipes and have colorful names such as the Navy Grog, Vicious Virgin, Rum Cow, Dr. Funk, Zombie, Missionary's Downfall and, of course, Don's Original Mai Tai.
Following is the prix-fixe menu available nightly from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.:
Dinner only: $30 (excluding tax and gratuity)
Menu with Don’s original rum cocktail pairings: $45 (excluding tax and gratuity)
PUPUS (choice of):
Rum Cocktail: Don's Original Mai Tai – invented by Donn Beach
Mai Tai taster given with basic menu to prepare the palate
Crispy calamari steak strips tossed in cilantro, sweet lemon and crushed macadamia nuts with garlic tartar
Tender baby back ribs glazed in a house ginger-barbeque sauce
Beachcomber Chop Salad
A blend of three different greens, shaved carrots, cucumber, red onion, bacon, pineapple, and diced egg whites with sesame ginger dressing
ENTRÉE (choice of):
Rum Cocktail: Missionary’s Downfall – Donn served this to cleanse the palate between courses. A blended concoction of rum, mint, lime and a touch of peach
Fresh grilled escolar topped with a citrus-butter sauce
Hand-pulled pork slow-roasted in jumbo banana leaves
DESSERT (choice of):
Rum Cocktail: Rum Cow – This original cocktail shows off its creator’s New Orleans roots.
Rum, milk and a kiss of sugar come together to end the meal on a sweet note.
Gelato or Sorbet
Select one of eight different flavors
Served in a flaky crust drizzled with Belgian white chocolate
The Don The Beachcomber restaurants originated in the ‘30s in Hollywood and grew to incorporate 16 restaurants under the brand umbrella. The restaurant was responsible for creating and spreading “tiki culture,” defined by a relaxed ambiance consisting of exotic, rum-based cocktails and tropical décor, complete with island-themed fabrics, torches, “hula” girls, palm tree motifs, masks and carvings. Although none of the original restaurants exist, thousands of other establishments have opened, focusing less on original tiki culture and more on the kitsch that defined the establishments themselves.
Under the ownership of Arthur and Delia Snyder, Don The Beachcomber is experiencing a rebirth with its first new restaurant in years. The goal is to replicate the experience of the original tiki restaurants made popular in the 1940s and ‘50s throughout Southern California, and in Orange County, where Don The Beachcomber opened its doors in Corona del Mar in 1969.
Don The Beachcomber serves dinner nightly from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. and features the “Dagger Bar,” a Tiki Lounge open Sunday through Thursday from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. The restaurant features a nightly Happy Hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (until 10 p.m. every Monday). In addition, Sunday Brunch is offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Don the Beachcomber is located at 16278 S. Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA 92649. For more information or to make reservations, call 562-592-1321 or visit www.DonTheBeachcomber.com