Visit: 18 Apr 2009
This was the same historic restaurant that stood for many decades under the legendary name of Sam's Seafood. It briefly became Kona, and for several years, starting in 2009, was Don the Beachcomber. This restaurant had no connection to the historic Don the Beachcomber chain; the trademark on the name had lapsed and had been purchased for new business ventures. The operation contained many nods and tributes to the original Don the Beachcomber.
The owners hoped to honor the name by bringing back traditional Don the Beachcomber cocktails. The decor remained intact, and was augmented with more work by Bamboo Ben. Notably, the entrance was redecorated in tribute to the entrance to the original Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood.
The most densely tikified area was the Dagger Bar, which was dark and filled with carved posts and pufferfish lights. The main dining room was more bright and airy, and had a large tiki watching over diners. The back of the restaurant was the deluxe "Hidden Village," available for special occasions, with a stage area, raised huts and second bar.
The owners of the restaurant did not own the lot of land it sat on, and periodically over the last decade or so prior to its close, there were threats of the restaurant being bulldozed to make room for a new condominium development. The threat seemed to rise and fall with the economy, and news came in June 2015 that the owners of the lot were asking for it to be rezoned for high-density occupation.
As of April 15th, 2018, Don's was closed down. Much of the interior decor was removed and put in storage. Part of the building was rented out to a restaurant named The Himalayan Grill as a temporary lease until they could find a permanent brick-and-mortar location. Delia Wu Snyder publicly stated she was looking for a new location for Don's to re-open.
*NOTE: According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal as of Aug 19, 2022, a Tampa-based hospitality company has acquired the intellectual property of an iconic California restaurant brand. Marc Brown, president of 23 Restaurant Services, told the Tampa Bay Business Journal that the company has finalized a deal to purchase the Don the Beachcomber brand from Delia Snyder, who had owned it since 2003. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. 23 Restaurant Services is the parent company of Ford’s Garage, Tiki Docks and Yeoman’s Cask and Lion. Some aspects of the Don the Beachcomber brand will be incorporated into Tiki Docks locations, and 23 Restaurant Services is also looking for stand-alone sites for the concept, Brown said.