Surf Rider, Pasadena 1950s
This fine example of mid-century vintage menu art illustrates 1950s California’s love of surfing and Tiki culture.
Steve Romer (his first name was Herman but everyone knew him as Steve) began his hospitality career in 1921 as the dining room director of the Vista Del Arroyo, built during Pasadena’s great resort hotel age. It is now the Richard H Chambers United States Court of Appeals.
From 1930-47, he was assistant manager at the Huntington Hotel (now owned by Langhams) before opening his own place called the Surf Rider.
Located at 137 South Lake, Pasadena, an advert from 1955 describes it as “Tops in Hawaiian entertainment featuring George Kainapau, the Golden Voice of Hawaii.’ Customers could also dance to the music of the in-house band called The Surf Riders.
The restaurant served Cantonese and American food, had private banquet rooms and a fashion show luncheon was held every Wednesday.
According to newspaper reports, the restaurant went into receivership in 1957. However, this beautifully designed menu cover with its clean lines, bright hues and geometric shapes is the personification of sleek Californian design.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Each order includes a print of the interior menu.