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Florida Mai-Kai Restaurant & Polynesian Show - Fort Lauderdale

Closed - Temporarily
The Mai-Kai was created by Bob and Jack Thornton. The brothers visited Don the Beachcomber’s in Chicago, as children, and even at that young age said they wanted to open a similar place. Their original design cost 300 thousand dollars; it was the most expensive restaurant built in 1956. In its first year it earned over one million dollars, becoming one of the most successful restaurants of its time and for many years it sold more rum than any location in the United States.

The Mai-Kai became rather expansive in time; it includes eight dining rooms, a bar, tropical gardens with walking paths and waterfalls, a stage in the center to showcase the Polynesian Islander Revue floor show, and a gift shop. The last large renovation took place in 1970. Even during these massive construction projects, the Mai-Kai never closed. They stipulated that the work must be done so that customers could not see or hear it. This often meant the work was done in the wee hours of the morning.

Historic Mai-Kai Restaurant to partly reopen by spring 2022 - South Florida Sun-Sentinel South Florida Sun Sentinel

South Florida's iconic Mai-Kai Restaurant announces plans to reopen Orlando Sentinel

‘The family never sold out’: Historic Mai Kai restaurant will reopen in Fort Lauderdale Miami Herald

Recent news...
Mai-Kai said:
To our loyal customers and supporters,

We’re grateful and excited to share some big news about the future of the Mai-Kai. Yes…the Mai-Kai will reopen! After considering numerous interested parties, the Thornton family is thrilled to announce our new joint venture with the Barlington Group, a South Florida-based real estate investment and development company focused on growing unique and eclectic legacy businesses that give their communities character, and Mad Room Hospitality, the proprietors of iconic establishments such as Ball and Chain, Los Altos and Taquerias El Mexicano. Our search came to an end when we met their team and recognized the passion they share for honoring and preserving the legacy of the Mai-Kai.

Most importantly, we want to thank you, our devoted fans and guests, for your continued support even while our doors have been closed. You are a part of the Mai-Kai story, and we’re humbled by the outpouring of love and concern we’ve received. Rest assured, we are doing all we can to restore this beloved local institution — our family’s three-generation legacy — to its former splendor and beyond.

We’re looking forward to working closely with the Barlington Group and Mad Room Hospitality to sustain the Mai-Kai the world has come to know and love. We can’t wait to welcome you back to South Florida’s iconic Mai-Kai Restaurant and Polynesian Show, but until then, please stay tuned for updates on the restoration and repairs. We’ll be announcing a reopening date once the renovation is complete.

We’re excited to bring back the Mai-Kai better than ever before — and for you to be a special part of it!

Aloha and see you soon,
The Thornton family
For all updates, please visit our announcements page.