Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2006 Marvin Chin of Chin Tiki has passed away Previous Next
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Sparklydevil
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Username: Sparklydevil

Post Number: 2
Registered: 07-2004
Posted From: 209.69.221.253
Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 12:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This is so very sad. Marvin was such a wonderful, warm and generous man.

-SD


Forwarded from Nancy Hay at the CatsMeow:
The tiki world mourns the death of Marvin Chin owner of Chin Tiki Detroit. He passed away on thursday, April 26th after a long hospitalization. Marvin opened Chin Tiki in the 1960's. Closed in the early 70's it remains shuttered but intact in downtown Detroit. He opened the doors of this famous tiki oasis once a year for us tiki lovers at the end of our annual Motor City Tiki Art show and party.
Tiki lovers were free to roam this tiki gem and Marvin was always ready to tell us stories of his beloved tiki restaurant and sign copies of Chin Tiki postcards. He will be dearly missed by all of here in the Detroit tiki scene. The family promises to let us take one last tour of the Chin Tiki this year during Motor City Tiki, everyone is invited to attend as we honor Marvin this year at our annual event.
Sadly, this will probably be the last tour we do of this historic tiki restaurant as Chin Tiki is for sale and many local developers are jumping at the chance to buy it for it's valuable land. Marvin is survived by his wife Kitty, daughters Debbie and Valierie and son Marlin.

Marlin is the owner of Chin Tiki Livonia and host of our annual tiki party. If anyone desires more info please email me at catsmeow1@prodigy.net.

Nancy Hay
The Cat's Meow
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Gravitymachine
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Username: Gravitymachine

Post Number: 1036
Registered: 05-2005
Posted From: 198.208.159.20
Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 12:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

that is sad, I checked out the chin tiki open house last summer, and met marvin (thanks again toolbox for the head's up), very cool.

thoughts go out to his family
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Apbest
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Username: Apbest

Post Number: 18
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 216.11.6.41
Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 1:05 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

That is very sad. A great person, and especially considering the in depth restoration process he was incurring at his own expense to restore Chin Tiki (which was inspiried be its use in 8 mile).

While its extremely sad he's dead, I wodner what will happen to the restoration process underway.
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Dan
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Username: Dan

Post Number: 1211
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.47.194.247
Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 9:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Can someone detail what restoration was underway?

I have heard rumors but never saw any signs, nor heard anything concrete?

I feel bad for his family, I wish them well. He was a nice old guy, who never gave up hope for that neighborhood.
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Al_t_publican
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Username: Al_t_publican

Post Number: 85
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 66.146.173.34
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 2:13 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

If the Chin Tiki was in Vientiane, Laos or Chiang Mai, Thailand where I visited this past winter there would be an ongoing viable business in the building.

Why? Because owning and operating a small business over there isn't an alien concept as it has been in Detroit for decades.

Get globalized Detroiters and discover the wonders of self-empowerment through self-employment.
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Smogboy
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Username: Smogboy

Post Number: 2492
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 69.47.100.44
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 12:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Amidst this tiki resurgence all across the country, the Chin Tiki was the one last hope in this area for a return to a true tiki temple. Having taken the tour several times of that restaurant, it makes me wonder how marvelous it must've been in its hey day. It wasn't just about the food- it had to do with the details that the Chin Tiki had inside from the statues to the thatch covered walls. It was an experience and a special night to remember if one went there.

Why and how Marvin Chin hung onto this place is beyond me but he should be commended for his persistence. He will be missed in this community.
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Border5150
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Username: Border5150

Post Number: 142
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 207.232.204.254
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 12:57 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I never had any idea that tikis had any such following. I always thought the little things were cool myself...
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Chub
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Username: Chub

Post Number: 311
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 69.246.28.200
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 2:48 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

RIP Marvin.

The only "restoration" done by Mr. Chin in the last few years was doing some minor rewiring to get some of the lights working. That's it. There never was any "in depth restoration." He never wanted to really re-open the place himself, only sell of lease it. This is what he told me last year. The first and real nail in the coffin for the Chin Tiki was when Mr. Chin sold the parking lot to you know who. Very sad....
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Skamour14
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Username: Skamour14

Post Number: 80
Registered: 03-2005
Posted From: 24.11.184.193
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 3:10 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Chins all over the place.....I liked that building!
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Focusonthed
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Username: Focusonthed

Post Number: 147
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 209.220.229.254
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 6:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Why are we celebrating someone holding on to a vacant building for years, never reopening it permanently? Why is this "perserverence"?
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Dialh4hipster
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Username: Dialh4hipster

Post Number: 1592
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.250.205.35
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 6:28 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think because everything around it was completely abandoned, left open to rot, and ultimately torn down.

You have to be high to think that during the 80's and 90's anyone was going to patronize that place enough to keep it in business. But he at the very least maintained the building to the point where it could have been re-used without a major renovation.

Which is more than 95% of the property owners in that area did.
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Smogboy
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Username: Smogboy

Post Number: 2503
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 69.47.100.44
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 11:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Agreed with Dial4... if anyone has actually taken a tour of the place, it's still structurally sound and a goodly amount of the stuff inside is more than usable. Albeit a little dusty, most of the furniture is still sound, the tiki statues are still there, as well as most of the other trappings that go to make it a tiki restaurant.

It's still salvagable to an investor who wants to drop some money into this place. It has a history that can't be bought. The only thing I've heard that would need serious tearing out would be the freezers and most of the kitchen because I guess even back then ol' Marvin bought used and fixed it himself to get it up and running. I'm sure any new investors now would want state of the art in that kitchen anyway.
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Smogboy
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Username: Smogboy

Post Number: 2534
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 69.47.100.44
Posted on Monday, May 08, 2006 - 3:58 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Tiki stuff huge?

Uh, just check out this site devoted to all things tiki...
http://www.konakai.com/

The Chin Tiki was just a part of a larger movement. Between them, the Mauna Loa, and a brief glimpse of a Trader Vic's here in the area, they were a part of the Detroit tiki scene back in the day.

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