Polynesian in Covina?

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* Postcard image found on eBay by reader Elwood

Reader Glenn White has a question:

“I wondered if you could help me with some information on an old restaurant that I believed was located in West Covina. I believe there was a restaurant in the late 1970s or possibly early 1980s that was located off of Grand Ave. or possibly Barranca Ave. It was on a street that went down into like a ravine and it had a Hawaiian/Polynesian or tropical/island/beach theme.

“I was hoping that you could help me out. Maybe I’m crazy, but I thought there was restaurant like this in that area. Someone told me about Bahooka that was on Francisquito, but I don’t believe that is the restaurant that I was thinking of. Maybe it has been demolished and something else is there now. Any help that you could provide would be greatly appreciated.”

Anyone able to help Glenn?

* Update: A reader named Elwood has suggested, and White has confirmed, that the restaurant was the Warehouse. Read the comments for more details. Success!

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  • Bob House

    Bahooka opened originally in a small spot in West Covina then moved to larger quarters in Rosemead.

  • Bob Terry

    Right you are, Bob. I just drove by it last week as I was heading south on Rosemaed Bl. from Pasadena…it is right where Temple City and Rosemead border.

  • John Clifford

    Yes, Rosemead at about Lower Azusa. It was originally in West Covina? Where? And if it was originally in West Covina, when? The ’70s ’80 sounds wrong as I recall Bahooka being on Rosemead during that period. But then . . .

  • Bob House

    Bahooka was at Francisquito and Sunset, West Covina from 1967 to 1976. Opened Rosemead 1976. From 76-80 both locations open, then West Covina was closed due to an expansion over the legal property line. See more here: http://critiki.com/cgi-bin/location.cgi?loc_id=533

    and here: http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=5021&forum=2&start=15

    I didn’t see it, but 2nd site above says Bahooka appeared briefly in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

    [That sounds like a definitive answer. -- DA]

  • Charmie

    I grew up going to Bahooka…first off Francisquito, and now in Rosemead. I’ve taken my teenaged boys there telling them it’s a great date place!

  • Glenn White

    Bahooka is not the restaurant that I was thinking of. This place was east of Grand Ave. if I’m remembering correctly. It was on a windy road or a road that went down into a ravine like area. I believe it was close to the freeway. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  • Jim

    Perhaps a longshot but could you be thinking of the former Polynesian Castaways Restaurant located a mile or so to the East in Pomona? Now operating as Coco Palm, a Cuban restaurant.

  • Kathy Archer

    I agree with Jim about Castaways — I can remember the sign just above the 10 freeway.

  • http://www.hollywoodlostandfound.net/locations/bahooka.html Don J

    No, it’s true, the Bahooka was a location in “Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas” (in the book it’s “Trader Vic’s” in Beverly Hills). A further nod is made when “Circus Circus” Casino is renamed “Bahooka Circus” since it’s doubtful any Strip property would like to be described as “what everybody in America would be doing on Saturday Night if the Nazis won The War.”

  • Fred Henderson

    Hi- I remember a theater in the round located on a frontage road, north of I-10 and just east of Barranca. The stage was in the center and the audience fanned out in a 360 degree circle. Cliftons had palm trees also as I remember.

    Fred Henderson
    Everett, WA

  • Jim

    Glenn – It occurred to me that the Castaways Restaurant also had a long secluded driveway along a hillside/ravine off the east side of Fairplex Drive. The restaurant overlooks the 10 Freeway from its hillside position. Sounds like it matches your description.

    Fred – I think the theater-in-the-round was probably the nightclub called “The Huddle” located along the 10 Freeway at either Citrus or Azusa Avenue.

  • Glenn White

    I don’t believe it was Castaways as that was up on a hill. I believe this place was either in a ravine or on a windy road. Maybe I’m losing it. If it was Castaways, does anyone know where I can find some old pics of the place? Maybe that will jog my memory. Thanks for everyone’s help! :)

  • Jim

    Castaways Restaurant has two other So Cal locations currently in operation — one in Burbank and onother in San Bernardino. Their website may provide photos, as may Flickr.com. Another suggestion might be to view the Google Maps satellite and street views for the current Coco Palms Restaurant and see if there’s any similarity. Good luck Glenn.

    [He could also inquire at the library about criss-cross directories for that period to see what businesses were along the street or about old phone directories' restaurant listings. -- DA]

  • JMac

    In reference to the “theater in the round,” that was The Carousel Theater. Sitting in its place now is a hotel. Some of the best bands of the ’60s played there during its heyday. Unfortunately, other than weekend kid shows, all I remember seeing was the King Family.

    Back to the original topic, I have no idea but also thought it was the Bahooka. But in terms of locations just off the 10, how about Starks or Gas Rondas Gas House?

  • JohnTee

    None of the restaurants mentioned above ring my bell, but there was a West Covina restaurant/club at the southwest corner of the May Co. (and other stores) parking lot, next to the 10 freeway. They were booking good acts during the ’60s; I saw the Ink Spots there several times.

  • Jim

    John, that was The Huddle where the Ink Spots performed. I guessed incorrectly earlier about it being a theater-in-the-round arrangement as I was too young in the 60s to actually go inside. I clearly recall my parents seeing the Ink Spots there because the group’s name seemed humorous to us kids…although “The Beatles” name seemed perfectly normal. Go figure.

  • John Clifford

    I remember the Huddle fondly. It was where TGIFridays is now (the building was torn down and the current building is not the same, the original was round). I saw Teddy Buckner and his all-stars there on prom night in 1967. I later worked with Teddy at Disneyland. He was the house band at the Huddle at the time and yes they did book the Ink Spots as well as other name acts.

    As for the Carousel Theater, I saw Bill Cosby, The Ink Spots, Mickey Rooney in the play LUV, the play Marat/Sade, I believe the Smothers Brothers, and a bunch of other stuff there during its short tenure. Theater in the round was just a little too odd for some of that stuff. Difficult when the action is taking place to the other side of the stage and you’re looking at people’s backsides.

  • Jim

    Here’s a link I found for The Huddle. Great photos…

    http://www.synthetrix.com/huddle/HWC01.htm

  • Elwood From Skate Junction

    I think you are talking about The Warehouse Restaurant. It was south of the San Bernardino (I-10) Freeway. Somebody is selling a post card from there on eBay.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Warehouse-Restaurant-West-Covina-CA-unused-postcard-/400168702817

    There is currently one in Marina Del Rey.

  • Glenn White

    Thanks for the info, Elwood! I believe this is the restaurant I was referring to. Does anyone know where this restaurant was located? I am curious to see what is there now. Maybe it was torn down. Thanks!

  • Glenn White

    Thanks for everyone’s input! I have confirmed that the restaurant I was thinking of was indeed the Warehouse Restaurant. It was located at 3030 E. Garvey Ave. S. just off the 10 Freeway at Barranca. This was in the early ’80s. It was later called the Crushed Grape and then torn down and now a McDonalds sits in its place. It’s sad to think that they could not have kept the old building.

    [Glenn, I'm glad this blog was able to put you on the path to solving this mystery. Case closed! -- DA]

  • Valeri Mills Barnes

    I can confirm that it was the Warehouse Restaurant that later became the Crushed Grape. The Huddle was awesome! We used to say, “Let’s go cuddle by the Huddle,” in high school! I saw The Doors at the Carousel Theater and many of us were very saddened when it closed! The Bahooka was north of the freeway, I believe, and was also very good.

  • L.V. Sage

    Hi everyone! I grew up in San Dimas from 1969-1979. I do remember some type of tiki-style bar/restaurant right off a freeway. I think I went there once w/ my dad, who had his office in West Covina during the 1970′s. BTW-I somehow came into possession of a stack of flyers for The Doors’ Carousel Theatre show. I am putting them up on Ebay if anyone is interested in buying/seeing them. My seller ID is saleml81…