Hinky Dink's restaurant and bar was opened on the corner of 65th Street and San Pablo Avenue by Victor Jules Bergeron, Jr. (December 10, 1902–October 11, 1984) on November 17, 1934. With an increasing Polynesian menu and interior decorations Bergeron changed the name to Trader Vic's.
Franchises in other cities followed the successful first restaurant, starting in 1940, and the original Oakland restaurant relocated to Emeryville in 1972.
As recounted by Trader Vic history the Mai Tai was invented by Bergeron in 1944 when he mixed Jamaican rum, lime juice, a few dashes each of orange curaco syrup, French orgeat and rock candy syrup. He served this drink to his two friends from Tahiti, who was there that night, and after one sip they exclaimed “Mai Tai – Roa Ae.” In Tahitian this means “Out of This World – The Best.” The new drink became known as Mai Tai.1
The palm trees in the sidewalk shown in the above photo are still there.
Links and References
- Victor "Trader Vic" Bergeron (1902-1984) - Owner of famed Trader Vic's Lives of the Dead: Mountain View Cemetery
The Great Tiki Drink Book by Jennifer Trainer Thompson, Nancy Thomas
Tiki Time Forbes
Trader Vic's: History official website
Designer Swizzles: Victor Jules Bergeron, Jr. The Museum of the American Cocktail