This restaurant had a lounge area with large bandstand for live entertainment. It was decorated with tikis, thatching over the bar, and served tropical cocktails. There were also motel rooms in back.
Wing Gwong Chin (1937-2018) started his long career in the restaurant business working at Trader Vics as a bartender, then later as a chef and bartender at other restaurants. He had a dream to own a restaurant so he learned the business and eventually partnered with his cousin Wing Foo Chin and others to open this location which was first named the Ye Cocke and Kettle Restaurant and Motor Inn. From the late 1960’s to 1980’s, the business changed names to Hawaiian Garden and then to the South Sea Restaurant and Motel.
In 1975 there was a big murder case revolving around one of Wing Chin's partners in a new restaurant start-up they were putting together in Marietta, Georgia. Wing Chin was President in the new partnership and his Vice President, a boyhood friend of his named John Oi, was killed by a third member of their partnership, named Armand Therrien (the Treasurer and only occidental involved -- an ex police officer who worked as the Hawaiian Garden's security and general handyman). Armand was judged to have shot John Oi and it was speculated in the trial that he did so because John Oi's death would have resulted in a $200,000 insurance payout to the partnership which would have surely helped the business and indirectly helped Therrien who wanted a higher salary and a greater role in the business. This indirect motive seems barely enough to warrant a murder, but a jury found it enough to convict Armand along with supporting evidence (gun, handcuffs, and shells). Speculation was that there were deeper motives involving gambling and the mob, but the specifics were never proven.
Shortly after this murder, the Hawaiian Garden underwent a name change to "South Sea Restaurant and Motel" and Wing Chin moved to Texas where he lived out the remainder of his life.