Tony Dorsett will be happy to learn what will replace the old Trader Vic’s on Mockingbird and Central: Trader Vic’s Dallas. That’s right, kids. When Realty America Group bought the place, they weren’t sure what they were going to do with it. But they’ve made the right call. Again, if you’re Tony Dorsett.
Trader Vic’s will be resurrected to its former glory in the original location in Dallas at the former Hilton Inn after nearly a twenty-year hiatus in conjunction with an $90 million renovation and development. In addition to Trader Vic’s, plans include Texas’ first Kimpton hotel, the Hotel Palomar and Residences, an urban resort offering a 4-star lifestyle hotel, high-rise luxury condominiums and retail, all scheduled for completion in June 2006.
Following a series of owners and numerous redevelopment attempts by prospective buyers, the site was purchased late last year by Realty America Group and Behringer Harvard Short-Term Opportunity Fund.
Trader Vic’s recently celebrated 70 years in business started by legendary founder, Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron. With $500 in the early 1930s Depression era, Bergeron sought to provide an escape and the illusion that diners had fled to a tropical island getaway–and thus Trader Vic’s was born. The original Dallas Trader Vic’s opened to great fanfare in April of 1967 at Fred and Marty Tycher’s Hilton Inn in Dallas. During the late Sixties and subsequent decades, Dallas luminaries like Raymond Nasher, and worldwide celebrities like Bob Hope (who had a suite upstairs), banqueted the establishment and created the scene of the city, where a table in the Captain’s Cabin meant you had arrived.
“Rarely does an opportunity to reintroduce a beloved concept to a whole new generation present itself,” says Jim Sibert, restaurant and bar entrepreneur and Trader Vic’s Dallas franchise owner. “Trader Vic’s was a distinctive and memorable landmark in Dallas for decades and I look forward to recreating the sentiment and providing a great place to go for a drink after work or your 50th anniversary.”
The famed Polynesian-themed menu that introduced favorites roasted in ancient Chinese wood fired ovens, like Bongo Bongo Soup will also include a fusion mix of Chinese, French, American, an added sushi bar to Dallas diners, and will feature the classic Trader Vic’s Mai Tai among 75 specialty drinks in addition to full bar service and wine list.
“We are thrilled to be back in Dallas and look forward to once again setting the benchmark at this exciting new development,” says president and CEO of Trader Vic’s, Hans Richter. “We have such history and fond memories from the Trader Vic’s at the former Hilton Inn and look forward to a wonderful relationship and great success at the Hotel Palomar and Residences.”
Completely intact with all the original dÃ©cor, Trader Vic’s will undergo a multi-million dollar renovation to modernize and update the space by award-winning architectural design team, William Baker and JB Jones of Jones Baker. Planned design elements will maintain the nostalgic invocation of the space while interjecting a sleek, modern appeal.
Trader Vic’s currently operates 22 restaurants in nine countries and is expanding to Scottsdale, Arizona and Las Vegas in addition to Dallas in 2006.