Sunday, April 28, 2019

Flamingo Chuckwagon Dinners, Hawaii

I lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for about 6 months back in the late 90's, and while there I dined on what I still consider to be some of the best food of my life. The traditional Hawaiian favorites, the seafood and South Pacific / Japanese / Korean staples etc... all incredible. But the whole time I was there (and this even happened one time while I was sitting at a luau), I kept hearing about the Flamingo Chuckwagon Dinners. Apparently, nothing was as good as the Flamingo Chuckwagon Dinners. I have no opinion on the subject of Flamingo Chuckwagon Dinners because while I was there I don't remember there even being a Flamingo Chuckwagon Dinners restaurant, nor did anyone speaking of Flamingo Chuckwagon Dinners ever bother to mention if a Flamingo Chuckwagon Dinners still existed on Oahu, or on any of the Hawaiian islands or not. But apparently Flamingo Chuckwagon Dinners was a place to go to POUND some serious / bottomless food down, and it sounds like the Flamingo Chuckwagon Dinners price was just right too (which is important on crazy expensive Hawaii!)

Anyway, today at an antique mall I was casually flipping through a stack of boring old postcards, and what did I happen to find?







I have no idea what the date of this postcard is, it's blank and unsent sans postmark, but looks to be either 60's or early 70's by my retro lovin' eye. So yeah, Flamingo Chuckwagon Dinners looks pretty good too: cool kitschy restaurant front, and fun interior buffet. If anyone has any Flamingo Chuckwagon Dinners memories they'd like to share --especially people from Hawaii-- let's hear about it! Because of course, I'm curious about Flamingo Chuckwagon Dinners!

7 comments:

Mr. Cavin said...

Welp, according to newspaper reports of its closing in April 1999, the restaurant was called the Elliott Chuckwagon up until Dan Nagamine (and family) bought the place in 1967. I suspect this postcard was printed toward the beginning of that time. I don't remember six-digit phone numbers in my lifetime, though things might have progressed differently in Honolulu.

Apparently they auctioned that horse off--as well as a bunch of other decor--right after they closed. Pretty neat. I love that old-time salad bar. Reminds me of eating at the Western Sizzlin' with my grandparents when I was a lad in the early and mid-seventies.

Ref.: Honolulu Star Bulletin archives.

Mr. Karswell said...

yeah, I saw the Elliot photo (and a matchbook) when I googled it before making this post, but the weird thing to me mostly being that I was living there while that named changed version of it still existed (though I never knew about it then), but nobody talked about that one, only the original Flamingo version which I’m assuming must have been quite superior.

Craftypants Carol said...

Wow. I have nothing to add except that it looks awesome. There was a place in Portland like thing that we used to go to when I was a kid called North’s Chuckwagon. I guess in the 60s the word chuckwagon was code for non-stop guzzling of foodstuffs.

Mr. Karswell said...

There was some type of a chuckwagon place over in Illinois when I was a kid, I saw the old sign one time but I think the restaurant was already long closed. I guess it’s probably just the same as any old buffet these days

Mr. Cavin said...

Oh. I thought Elliot was the original name, and Flamingo was the one that closed in '99. I musta got mixed up! No wonder it's got a 2/4 phone exchange!

I'll bet a lot of restaurants named "Chuckwagon" for twenty years of catering to boomer families raising their kids on TV oaters changed their tune pretty quickly when the word got associated with dog food in the early seventies.

Mr. Karswell said...

haha, that's exactly what I always thought when people talked about it-- the old dog food commercials with the little covered wagon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilqKMi4ht30

Unknown said...

I went there as a kid...very overwhelming! And we had 5 digit phone numbers until the 70's I think...mine 33638