We note with sadness the passing of Jack Thornton, who was felled by a stroke on February 22, at the age of 78. With his brother Bob, Mr. Thornton opened the Mai-Kai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1956. With five beautifully appointed dining rooms, a 30,000 square foot tropical garden, and food and drink that matched the decor in quality and imagination, the Mai-Kai quickly gained a national reputation as the must-see Polynesian supper club on the eastern seaboard.
It is a testament to the vision of Mr. Thornton (pictured above with daughter Tammy and son Ty, circa 1970s) that the Mai-Kai has managed to weather over a half-century’s worth of changing restaurant trends; it celebrated its 50th anniversary two years ago, and is still open for business.
Here’s to you, Jack, and your legacy. Ka huaka`i maika`i.