Bahooka: Noun. Translation: Rustic Hut
It would be incorrect of me to say that finding the restaurant Bahooka several years ago was solely responsible for my descent into tiki madness, but it wouldn’t be far off. This now defunct tiki bar/restarurant was like a portal backwards in time for me, to an era where you sipped a sweet “umbrella drink” and wore a hawaiian shirt for your night out on the town.
Built in the waning years of Tiki, Bahooka nonetheless stood for decades as a living monument to the Faux-Polynesian crazy of the mid 20th century. The architecture, decor, everything about the atmosphere was like lightning caught in a bottle. You definitely had the feeling like you were eating at a one-of-a kind place-because you really were.
When first going inside, you are struck by the fantastic interior, festooned with dozens of large aquariums, giving the inside a ghostly blue hue. Japanese tin signs and various nautical nonsense covered the walls. I told myself “even if the food is terrible this was perfectly worthwhile”. It turns out the food was actually pretty decent! I never liked ribs, too messy and bone-y but the sweet BBQ sauce they baked the ribs with at Bahooka still make my mouth water. Served with a side of baked sweet potato, ham and fried stuffed shrimp, it was perfection.
Even though Bahooka is gone now, it had enough time to incept my mind with the possibilities of Hawaiian shirts, Tiki Torches, Mai Tais and much more.