The Kahiki opens. And jaws drop.
Twenty-foot Tiki idols stood guard at the front door. The Mystery Girl delivered drinks to your table. Celebrities gathered and crowds gathered to see them. The Kahiki restaurant was as much about the experience as it was about the meal. If you were ever there, chances are, you never really left.
How a game of backgammon changed history.
If you believe the story, Mitch Boich acquired the Kahiki in 1978 from the original owners Bill Sapp and Lee Henry by winning a high stakes game of backgammon. Mitch didn’t know anything about running a restaurant. So his first job was to find someone who did. That’s when he found Michael and Alice Tsao 2000 miles away at Trader Vic’s in Hollywood.
Tsaos arrive from L.A. Kahiki takes off.
When the Tsaos left their role managing the iconic Trader Vic’s restaurant and brought their talents to the Kahiki, the accolades followed. The Tsao’s impact was felt way beyond industry recognition. They fostered a warm and welcoming atmosphere that added to the legend that was Kahiki. And ultimately became the owners of Kahiki in 1988.
Frozen foods. Keeping the fun alive.
With seating for more than 500 people, the Kahiki was larger than life. But it wasn’t big enough. The popularity of the brand ultimately outgrew the restaurant, which closed in 2001, so they could focus on frozen foods. When our favorite menu items became our first frozen foods, it was the perfect way to introduce the Kahiki experience to people who never stepped foot inside the restaurant.
The legend grows beyond the supper club walls.
Before long, Kahiki Frozen Foods took on a life of its own. As sales and popularity grew, it became obvious to Michael and Alice that their attention needed to shift. They made the decision to close the Kahiki so they could devote their time to a growing frozen enterprise. Closing the Kahiki was a year-long adventure that broke every sales record on the books. Every day for a solid year, customers lined around the building waiting to experience one last meal at the restaurant that had become a Columbus institution.
A visionary lost. A new chapter began.
When Michael Tsao died unexpectedly in 2005, the void he left behind was felt by every person associated with Kahiki. Employees, customers, partners, Michael treated everyone like family. So when the Tsaos began the search for new partners to help Kahiki expand, it came as no surprise that the search led to Abarta, another family focused company that became investors in 2007.
The Great Recipe Revolution.
We started by taking a closer look at all of our recipes. Full disclosure – we were looking for ways to take the flavor up a notch. And then it happened. Our search took us in the most logical direction possible. That’s right, we added simple, wholesome ingredients across the board. And the results? Please, taste for yourself.
If taste is king at Kahiki, innovation is queen.
Kahiki is proud to have launched two new frozen food categories – the first “steamable” Asian entrée line, Steam & Serve™, and the first egg roll and entrée in one, a little something fabulous we like to call the Bowl & Roll®.
What will they think of next?
Year after year, Kahiki launches deliciously unique products. Our introduction of Yum Yum Stix™ thrilled not only consumers, but industry insiders, too, being chosen Editors’ Pick for Best New Product by The Gourmet Retailer.
New Ownership Takes Kahiki To Another Level.
After a decade of groundbreaking introductions, new product innovations, and pushing the envelope on bold and exciting flavors, Kahiki announces its most exciting development to date. CJ CheilJedang of Seoul, Korea buys 100% of Kahiki’s stock and launches the latest chapter in Kahiki’s history. Stay tuned. Because we’re taking this brand to the top.
We live to stir your senses.
We pour our hearts into every Kahiki recipe, because we know the details make the difference. The aromas that fill your kitchen. The taste and texture of every bite. And how you feel when the last bite is gone. Why go to such lengths? It’s simple, really. Kahiki is about so much more than just satisfying your appetite. We want to Stir Your Senses.