Another Lost Chicago Icon - Trader Vic's

Posted by Judy Orr on Wednesday, January 4th, 2006 at 7:37am.

Chicago Trader Vic's

Hopefully, it's not completely lost. But the original Trader Vic's that resided in the Palmer House will end its long stay, since 1957, and open one or two new Trader Vic's elsewhere in the Chicago area.

I remember going to Trader Vic's once with a former employer. I ordered a drink that featured a gardenia floating in it that came with a pin so I could wear it. This was in the 70's and since that visit gardenias became my favorite flower.

I really can't remember the setting anymore, although it was Polynesian style. And my boss told me the story of how in the past the only way a woman could enter was in the company of a man! I've tried doing a quick search but I can't find anything to verify this.

Something I have learned is that although Trader Vic's is not a franchise, there are over 20 Trader Vic's throughout the world. They are not carbon copies of each other. Another new bit of history I learned is that Trader Vic's created the Mai Tai, although it wasn't in the Chicago location.

Unlike Marshall Fields, which is changing names but so far staying in the same downtown Chicago building (plus all the other locations), Trader Vic's changing venues bothers me more. Probably because Marshall Fields has many locations and the downtown location will still be used but just changed to Macys. We only had one Trader Vic's in Chicago and a new one will simply not be the same.

I have a lot of sentimental feelings about Trader Vic's even though I've only been there one time. I guess it's because I've always been a sucker for tiki huts. On another note, you can order Trader Vic's products from their official web site.

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