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Try the Original Mai Tai at Trader Vic's in Atlanta

By Elisha Neubauer

The food service industry of today is a game of constant changing faces, revolving doors, and new players. Restaurants come and restaurants go, but there are a few hidden gems across the country that have really sunk their boots into the ground and held on tight, despite the ever changing rules of the game. Trader Vic's originally opened in Oakland, CA in 1934 and has since spread to locations across the world. The Atlanta location on Courtland Street has been standing since 1976 - a feat for any eating establishment.

The Polynesian pop culture concept of Trader Vic's spawned from founder Victor Bergeron's love of the entire tropical lifestyle. He developed a fascination with the customs and philosophies of the people he encountered during his excursions across Cuba and Hawaii in 1937. Upon his return, he transformed his saloon - at that time called the Hinky Dinky - into Trader Vic's: a tropical retreat encompassing Polynesian cuisine, tropical cocktails, and the overall ambiance of the islands. Today, Trader Vic's still celebrates that atmosphere, boasting a decor adorned with traditional tikis, giant blowfish and palm-thatched ceilings.

"Trader Vic's embodies a vibe that transports guests from the daily grind to a tropical paradise where they can lounge on island time," says Malik Diop, General Manager of Trader Vic's Atlanta. "Guests visit Trader Vic's for the one-of-a-kind experience and iconic history."

In fact, the iconic history covers more than just how long they've been open. Trader Vic's was not only the first fusion restaurant to open in the United States, but it contributed a specific menu item to bars across the world. "Trader Vic was a master mixologist with a penchant for rum and in 1944 he concocted the Mai Tai which soon became the most famous rum cocktail in the world and a Trader Vic's staple," boasts Diop. "Decades before it would become a trend, Trader Vic's led the original fusion menu concept and continues the tradition with an ever-evolving menu featuring some famed favorites including Vic's Surf and Turf, Volcano Shrimp and Bananas Foster."

If you're interested in just testing the waters or if you're ready to dive head-first into the Trader Vic's way of life, try stopping by during one of their special events. Every Thursday brings $6 Mai Tais and live, local entertainment - ranging from Broadway showtunes to the acoustic-pop of Mr. Blue Sky, to the rock 'n' roll fun of Shotgun Orchestra.

"First time visitors to Trader Vic's are intrigued that this concept exists in the heart of Atlanta and that it hasn't changed a bit in the forty years it has been in business," says Diop. It is part of this intrigue that has helped coin the location as a piece of Polynesian history, right here State-side. "Trader Vic's is a hidden gem, so naturally people are going to be curious and the curiosity is written on their faces when they feel the unique ambiance, see the traditional decor and order their first authentic Mai Tai."

Trader Vic's is located at 255 Courtland St NE, Atlanta in the Hilton hotel.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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