After driving out of the mess of Ringwood it was always momentarily uplifting to see the Easter Island themed Smorgy's restaurant, nestled in amongst a lush garden of palms. It was out of its world. Now all that remains on the site is the floor (hardwood strip flooring no less) and some of the trees. All will be gone soon to make way for Club Ringwood, which will be home to 75 gaming machines. Bummer.
I'd like to turn up a photo somewhere of the Smorgy's but it might take a while.
Could this be it? (try not to look at the food)
No, I think that was Burwood now, having read up on Smorgy's at Tiki Central.
The Smorgys chain was originally dubbed The Island Trader, and has existed since the mid-1980s, when it was created by Eric Schwaiger. At that time, the five locations were decked out with A-frame entranceways, plenty of thatch, and a generally tropical atmosphere (with the exception of the Geelong store, which is a more straight forward nautical theme).
During the middle-1990s, the decor was expanded, with spectacular results. Several life-sized Moai were added to each location, detailed in a realistic manner that respects the original Rapa Nui Moai builders. A huge rock volcano now sits in front of the A-frame entrance; you must walk through the middle of it (via a bridge over a moat) to get into the restaurant.
You think that the State Library of Victoria might have at least one photo of an Easter Island Smorgy's, but no.
On their website, Smorgy's boast, "Each restaurant has it's own spectacular special effects show, there is the active volcano at Bundoora, the watergarden at Ringwood, the musical fountain and panoramic views of the Dandenongs at Burwood, the waterwheel at East Burwood and of course the superb Salty the Seal and King Neptune shows as well as the giant marine aquarium at Cunningham Pier, Geelong."
Which all sounds great except that only two of these restaurants are still open - Geelong and Bundoora. Someone better go get a pic of that "active volcano" while it's still there. "The spectacular erupting volcano lights the night sky against the backdrop of the city skyline. Large waterfalls and rainforests with creeks and pools enrich the dining experience."