From the Editor: Aloha, Kahiki
Restaurants come and go, but only a beloved few remain in the collective consciousness of a city long after they close. In Columbus, the Kahiki Supper Club is king among them. Though the Kahiki served its last mai tai in 2000, we can take vicarious trips there through stories, troves of old photos and menus and, now, a book that lovingly chronicles the creation, evolution, heyday and eventual downfall of the restaurant.
"Kahiki Supper Club: A Polynesian Paradise in Columbus," by David Meyers, Elise Meyers Walker, Jeff Chenault and Doug Motz, is peppered with delectable details, the kinds of anecdotes and images that bring a place back to life.
We asked readers to share their own stories. On Facebook, reader Beth Dittmar wrote: "So many fun sorority formals were held in their party room! My old boyfriend from that time still has a collection of the mugs that he keeps on his desk at work!" Another reader remembered correctly that the Kahiki was across the street from the Playboy Club (also gone but not forgotten, though perhaps less universally missed). And Heidi Maybruck remembered that her grandmother loved the gardenia-scented perfume for sale in the Beachcomber Gift Shop.
Reader David Tuttle shared a story of one especially memorable night at the Kahiki: "My sister-in-law and I, who are both huge fans of Todd Rundgren, had seen him the night before all the family went to the Kahiki. The concert was at Ludlow's, so we thought there might be a chance to have him sign a photo taken of all of us at the Ohio State Fair years ago. We couldn't get close to him, so the photo was left in our car. The next night after dinner, lo and behold, Todd and the band came in the Kahiki for dinner. I ran out and grabbed the photo and Sharpie and approached him to sign it. I think he may have thought I was a stalker, thinking, 'How long has this dude been following me with a photo to autograph?' He signed the photo and was willing to entertain some questions I had. The meal was great, and I got to meet one of my favorite musicians-a very fond memory!"
Something about this time of year makes us nostalgic for things beloved but gone. Maybe it's because we're spending so much time with friends and relatives, and remembering the "good old days" is one of the most meaningful ways we connect with one another across miles and generations. We hope you'll satisfy that hunger for good memories with our excerpt of "The Kahiki."