Updated April 13
For a restaurant that has been closed since October, The Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale is sure a busy place these days. In advance of this Sunday’s parking lot car show, guests are picking up quarts and gallons of classic tropical drinks. Meanwhile, vendors are being sought for the historic Polynesian palace’s first-ever outdoor Tiki marketplace, scheduled for April 17.
Sponsored by the local Five Points Motor Club, the latest Mai-Kai Cruise-In Classic Car Show on March 28 follows a similar, successful event on Feb. 28. Pre-1974 vehicles will be on display from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., including a special Dubs & Tiki’s VW section.
The Mai-Kai’s DJ Mike will also be on hand spinning tunes at this socially distanced event. Unless seated with your party, guests are required to wear masks and/or practice physical distancing at all times. Feel free to bring chairs, hang out and enjoy the show.
In preparation for the cruise-in, The Mai-Kai batched up an ample supply of four cocktails for pick-up this week, along with an exclusive rum. The Real McCoy 12-year-old Distillers Proof Mai-Kai Blend, a special Barbados rum from the Foursquare Distillery, is available only during these limited take-out opportunities right before special events. Look for the next window to open in April.
The same four cocktails will be offered on Sunday in single servings or quarts, along with beer, wine and water. Guests can pair their drinks with gourmet street food from the M.C.K. Fusion food truck. The Mobile Culinary Kitchens truck features Colombian and Latin American fusion cuisine, including burgers, tacos, quesadillas and more.
It was great to be back at The Mai-Kai Restaurant and Polynesian Show on Sunday for the Cruise-In Classic Car Show. Cool…
We’re now approaching five months since a catastrophic roof collapse over the kitchen shut down the 64-year-old historic landmark. But The Mai-Kai chose to turn lemons into lemonade, converting its vast parking lot into a gathering spot for fans at the Hulaween 2020 drive-in movie party on Oct. 30.
Following the 64th anniversary party on Dec. 28, fans received a bombshell when it was announced that the Thornton family was considering selling the 2.69-acre property. Possible partnerships are also on the table, but the consistent message from The Mai-Kai has been a desire to keep as much of the original property intact as possible.
This did not quell the overwhelming outpouring of concern and support from fans, who took to social media to console each other and seek ways to help the cause. The most high-profile effort is the “Save The Mai-Kai” petition on Change.org, which at press time has topped 10,750 signatures with no signs of slowing down.
Thousands of fans unite to show support for The Mai-Kai during closing
Previous coverage: More than 10,000 have signed a petition and thousands are flooding social media channels as the historic restaurant plans events, take-home cocktails while potential partners/owners are sought.
NEW: The Mai-Kai hosts first Tiki Marketplace featuring vendors, entertainers, cocktails, rum tasting and more
The historic restaurant may be closed for repairs, but a new event takes advantage of the large parking lot for a safe and fun-filled day featuring the generous spirit of ‘ohana.
LATEST EVENT INFO
* Complete list of vendors | Rums available for tasting
Vendors sought for Tiki marketplace in April
News of the next parking lot event was revealed when The Mai-Kai put out a call for vendors for an ambitious Tiki marketplace on April 17. While similar events have become popular regular happenings at Tiki bars around the country, this is believed to be the first time The Mai-Kai has hosted an outdoor Tiki marketplace in its long history.
The Mai-Kai’s director of public relations, Pia Dahlquist, is rounding up vendors to fill the restaurant’s 150-space parking lot. She said she’s aiming for around 25 to 30 booths with a “diversified” lineup. If you’d like to participate and need more information, contact Dahlquist via email or call (954) 646-8975. The cost is just $50 per booth.
Potential vendors can save time and simply download a vendor application form here:
Microsoft Word | PDF
The form states that vendors and guests are expected to follow all state and local coronavirus guidelines. Vendors are required to wear masks.
Hours of operation will be noon to 5 p.m. More details will be announced when the event is officially announced, but here are the event highlights we know so far:
VIP RUM TASTING: Robert and Robin Burr, the founders and longtime organizers of the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, will host a special sampling of cane spirits. The festival, which dates back to 2009, has had a close association with The Mai-Kai – including many memorable events in Fort Lauderdale.
* Facebook event for rum tasting
LIVE ENTERTAINMENT: Some of The Mai-Kai’s musicians will perform from 3 to 5 p.m.
SAMOAN FIRE KNIFE DANCE: A fire-dancer from The Mai-Kai’s Polynesian Islander Revue will perform throughout out the day.
TIKI BINGO: The ongoing charity event, which has spent the past year in the virtural world, will return to a live format. For more than five years, Tiki Bingo was a staple event at The Mai-Kai, hosted by the Gumbo Limbo Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Moai. There will be two bingo sessions on April 17, at 2:30 and 5 p.m.
FOOD & DRINKS: The event wouldn’t be complete without a selection The Mai-Kai’s tropical drinks, plus beer, wine, sodas and water. Food trucks will also return.
While The Mai-Kai has not announced any names, several artists have confirmed that they will have vendor booths at the marketplace:
Robert Jimenez is a South Florida illustrator, painter and broadcast animator who has been a fixture at The Hukilau, the annual Tiki weekender held in Fort Lauderdale. Jimenez has produced several distinctive pieces for The Mai-Kai, most recently the poster for Hulaween 2018. In a Facebook post, Jimenez said he will have prints for sale, along with his signature enamel pins and playing cards.
Also look for tattoo and lowbrow artist Mike “Pooch” Pucciarelli, who is creating the official event flyer. His artwork has also graced recent event posters, including The Mai-Kai’s 64th anniversary party and Hulaween Drive-In Movie. The owner of Altered State Tattoo said he’ll be offering some unique merchandise at the marketplace.
The Mai-Kai Trading Post will also have a booth with a vareity of items from the restaurant’s gift shop. Check back here or on The Mai-Kai’s social media pages for further updates: Facebook | Instagram
Past Atomic Grog coverage
* Fundraisers, online sales aid The Mai-Kai during closure
* The Mai-Kai celebrates Hulaween 2020 with drive-in movie party
* The Mai-Kai re-releases signature rum, glassware, spirits menu
* Virtual events honor The Hukilau, help those in need
* Cocktail quarts join gallons as The Mai-Kai expands takeout menu
Okole Maluna Society: The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide
Hurricane Hayward reviews and rates the historic restaurant’s current and past tropical drinks, plus reveals a treasure trove of ancestor and exclusive tribute recipes.
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