Mai-Kai restaurant up for sale

Mai-Kai Polynesian Restaurant, the iconic destination in Oakland Park, is available for acquisition or joint-venture development by brokerage firm Transworld Business Advisors.

Known for its cocktails, and Polynesian show, the restaurant sits on 2.69 acres, which can be redeveloped. The Mai-Kai’s ownership is open to working with the buyer on reopening the restaurant—currently closed for necessary renovations — or opening an offshoot in a new location, complete with the registered trademarks for its famed cocktails. The restaurant, which is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, features eight dining rooms with seating for 600, a bar, gift shop, and a central stage for its popular Polynesian Islander Revue floor show. 

“The sale, or joint-venture development of the Mai-Kai represents a rare opportunity to own a storied piece of South Florida history,” said Transworld Business Advisors CEO Andrew Cagnetta. “Not only does the restaurant have a loyal following developed over decades in business, but its premier location also offers excellent exposure on the heavily trafficked main artery of Greater Fort Lauderdale hotspot Oakland Park.” 

Opened in 1956 by Bob and Jack Thornton, and still operated by the same family, the Mai-Kai is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and has long drawn audiences with what is considered to be longest-running Polynesian show in the U.S. Guests also enjoy 57-variety specialty drink menu at the Mai-Kai’s Molokai Bar. The restaurant has been named one of America’s Top 100 Independent Restaurants by Restaurants & Institutions, and Coastal Living magazine ranked the Mai-Kai No. 1 on its listing of best tiki bars in the U.S.

“The Mai-Kai has been a family-run business since its inception,” said Tiare Thornton Bugarin, the granddaughter of the founder. “From choreographing the Polynesian show to overseeing, a descendant of the Mai-Kai’s founders has always been involved. As the page turns to a new chapter in its unique story, we welcome the opportunity to lend our expertise and play a role in the Mai-Kai’s future.” 

 The Mai-Kai is located at 3599 N. Federal Highway. For informationn, contact Peter Berg, Transworld Business Advisors, at 954-224-3144 or pberg@transworldma.com.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.