Community News

Tiki Makeke in Surf City USA

by: Robert Douglas
Posted: December 11, 2017

HUNTINGTON BEACH...Nestled in a community formerly known as Sunset Beach (recently annexed as part of Huntington Beach) lies a treasure in Orange County called Don the Beachcomber restaurant.  The restaurant itself has been in place since the 1920’s, and it had a Polynesian make over sometime during the 1960’s.  Decorated with Aloha in mind, there are carved tikis and Puffer fish lights, as well as Polynesian art throughout the restaurant.


On Saturday, December 9, 2017, the restaurant hosted an event known as a Tiki Makeke (Hawaiian word for market) featuring live Hawaiian music and was attended by over 50 vendors.  The weather was outstanding, you couldn’t ask for better conditions – blue sky and warm termperatures.  The vendors displayed wares featuring Hawaiian and Polynesian themed products.  All of the vendors I spoke with were very friendly and knowledgable. A mixture of new items and artwork were interspersed with vintage Polynesian collectibles at the vendor’s booths.  This event is a must visit for anyone who enjoys Hawaiiana and Polynesian collectibles; a holiday in tiki paradise!


Tiki Makeke was founded by Arthur Snyder, owner of Don the Beachcomber. "I admire very much the work that members of this community have put into de3velopment and through that work a very positive effort has been felt in the growth and expansion on Tiki in America," said Snyder.

Our vision is to develop a type of event where Tiki artists and vendors would gather under one roof and be able to display and sell their craft goods, said Snyder.



It was in December 1931 that a somewhat adrift 24-year-old washed up in Southern California, looking for something to do. A native of New Orleans, he was named Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt. During the Depression economy and using his wits and taking odd jobs—working in restaurants in Chinatown, parking cars, and doing a bit of freelance bootlegging in the months before Prohibition ended. Sociable and charming, he befriended such Holly wood personalities as David Niven and Marlene Dietrich and through them found occasional work as a technical adviser on films set in the South Pacific.


A couple of years later he arrived in Los Angeles, Gantt happened upon a newly vacated tailor shop just off Hollywood Boulevard. He built a bar that would seat about two dozen customers and scattered a few tables in the remaining space. He decorated the place with his South Pacific gewgaws, along with old nets and parts of wrecked boats he scavenged from the oceanfront. He called his watering hole Don the Beachcomber and through the years it has become a legend in Southern California.


Check Don the Beachcomer’s web site at for future events like this, and they offer live entertainment to accent your dining pleasure on a regular basis. Photos:Robert Douglas

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