Kahala Terrace

Northbrook, Illinois, United States

Opened in 1974.

From the August 22, 1974 Chicago Tribune:

"A Polynesian restaurant tucked away in a little shopping center called White Plains. Unusually good food in the Chinese-Cantonese tradition accented with an occasional American touch such as steak with salad and french fries. Soft and soothing background taped music of Hawaii. Interior design, overall ambiance remindful of all the other Polynesian restaurants that you've visited in the States, including Hawaii. But why Northbrook for so many restaurants? Isn't there a satiation point? ECHOING comments of many other restaurateurs of the area was Wally Chin's emphatic 'This is a going community! New homes are going up; new industries coming in.' Mr. Chin, who is co-owner of Kahala Terrace with his brother, Bob Chin, points to a developing industrial park across the highway from the Kahala. Easy access to Northbrook via Edens Expressway, and elimination of parking problems also are positive factors. FARTHER NORTH at County Line and Lee Roads in Northbrook, a proposed courtyard of nationality restaurants in a prestigious shopping area that will include Neiman-Marcus and Lord and Taylor specialty stores and a Sears Roebuck department store, is scheduled for completion in the fall of 1975. Blueprints for the p r o j e c t Northbrook Court also call for parks, small lakes, and condominiums on the 130-acre property. Although many of the residents of the area are vehemently protesting the mammoth project, construction presently is continuing.

Owners of Kahala Terrace are not newcomers to the suburbs. After a year as maitre d' at Kon Tiki Ports in the Sheraton-Chicago. 505 N. Michigan Av., Wally Chin operated Chan's Tea House in Highland Park for 10 years. Bob Chin continues as owner of the House of Chan, a catering establishment in Wilmette, and now manages catering facilities for the Kahala also. Barmaids at the Kahala, which specializes in exotic mixed drinks, are Wally's daughter, Judy, and Bob's daughter, Marilyn, fresh from bartending school. Restauranteuring, in fact, is a way of life for the Chin family. Wally and Bob's brother, Henry, is proprietor of the House of Chinn, an excellent Cantonese restaurant at 6355 N. Western Av. A FOURTH brother, Howard, operates New Wilson Village, a surprisingly good restaurant in a shabby old block at 1120-22 Wilson Av., established by the brothers' parents some 40 years ago.

Evening specialty of the house is the Kahala version of a Polynesian Iuau at $7.50 per person, beginning with soup or juice and a platter of appetizers egg rolls, crab rangoon, shrimp, barbecued ribs, pineapple in chicken. Six main courses that change daily, always including beef, chicken, and seafood dishes, are arranged at an elaborate self-help buffet."

Despite this overall good opening review and the bonafides of Wally as a maitre d' at Kon Tiki Ports, the interior of the restaurant screams 70s tiki devolution with the lack of decor, the 70s flower print cushions on the rattan chairs, the exposed brickwork, and the cedar shingles in lieu of proper thatching.

Ads show that Kahala Terrace was open at least as late as 1983.


*Bob Chin lived to be 99 and died April 15th, 2022. His biggest and best known restaurant was Bob Chinn's Crab House in Chicago, which he started in 1982. It would be his 14th restaurant and the longest lasting. He served the same mai-tais there that he did at the Kahala Terrace location.

**As of 2022, the location of Kahala Terrace is now home to a FastSigns print shop.

Bar & Restaurant
Northbrook, Illinois, United States
Permanently Closed?


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Date Created
9 Sep 2022
Date Updated
10 Sep 2022
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