I lost track of time at El Tiki.

The radio news was focused on the launch of Apollo-Soyuz flight into space, but my mind was more interested in my next meal. I dialed through the radio stations and finally settled when I heard Glen Campbell belting out Rhinestone Cowboy. It seemed appropriate for my road trip across the southern California desert.

I was wondering if I’d ever find a place to get some grub when I came across the El Tiki Supper Club. It came out of nowhere. The place seemed to spring up like an oasis in the surrounding farmlands of a small town. It was a place of mystery with a whale rib out front, bamboo grove, a thatched A-Frame roof, and a ten-foot Tiki standing guard. Lots of cars were there, so I figured it must be good.

Teresa, a high school girl, greeted me at the door, led me to a table, and gave me a menu. I made small talk for a bit, asking her about the tikis and sombreros, but she changed the subject and confided that she’d hoped it was a less busy night. Apparently, she and her siblings had to come help out her dad, Ben, who owned the club, when the cars stated pouring in.

Read the rest of the story in Polynesiacs: Tiki at Home, page 16.

El Tiki, Imperial, California

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