On this date in 1963, an ad ran in the Long Beach Independent for Seal Beach’s Hawaiian themed restaurant on Pacific Coast Highway.
No, not Sam’s Seafood. This restaurant was The Eddie Bush Mauna Kea and was located at 1600 Pacific Coast Highway.
Readers of this blog might remember that this was the address for the Dovalis 101 Ranch House. The original owner Nick Dovalis launched the restaurant in 1940 as covered in this post. In late 1963, Bill Smyrniotis and his brothers took over what was now known as the 101 Ranch House and introduced a Greek flair to the menu and live entertainment as recounted in this post.
But briefly between Dovalis and Smyrniotis, Mr. and Mrs. Don Chandler owned the restaurant with entertainer Eddie Bush, and it was remodeled into Hawaiian themed restaurant. It had three nightly floor shows (except for Mondays) featuring island music by the Wally Palmeira Trio (Wally Palmeira, Ronnie Salci, and George Kainapau), co-owner and then Seal Beach resident Eddie Bush, and two Tahitian dancers.
Perhaps the location was bad or the restaurant was underfinanced, but the last mention of Eddie Bush Mauna Kea was in early July 1963 — a bare four months after its soft launch on March 1st. By November, Eddie Bush was performing at Mr. C’s on Pacific Coast Highway.
This is not surprising. Eddie Bush had been a fixture of the Long Beach Hawaiian music scene for years before the ill-fated Mauna Kea, performing mostly at The Hawaiian a few blocks east of the traffic circle. His show biz career spread much wider and including radio, movies, and television. He died in Long Beach in 1969 at age fifty-eight.
Here’s an Eddie Bush recording from a couple decades before Mauna Kea.
After Eddie Bush and Bill Smyrniotis, there would be a variety of new owners, and the restaurant would come to be known as simply the Ranch House Restaurant for most of the seventies before being renamed Rum Runners. Rum Runners lasted through the eighties before the owners declared bankruptcy in 1989. The building was demolished in May 1992.
– Michael Dobkins
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