It is quite safe to say that David Tallichet was Long Beach’s first major restaurateur—and his first restaurant, The Reef, will be offering 60-cent margaritas in honor of its 60th anniversary.

An avid aircraft man following his 20-plus missions aboard the Spirit of Pittwood plane during World War II, Tallichet was also a man with Disney-like ambitions after he became the manager of the historic Lafayette Hotel off Broadway and Linden in Downtown following a post with the Hilton corporation.

Mesmerized by the thematic nature of tiki bars and the 1950s obsession with island culture, Tallichet slowly saved money and, partnering with SeaWorld founder George Millay, founded the Specialty Restaurants Corporation. Their first project? The Reef restaurant, a tropics-inspired joint that would join Java Lanes that very year as the two prime, thematic, getaway-centric Long Beach spaces that tongue-in-cheek celebrated Polynesian culture.

The opening of The Reef was pivotal for the restaurant group, spurring a mass expansion that was followed by the famed Castaway in Burbank and would go on to over 100 other restaurants across the nation—and not just restaurants.

He was responsible for places like the Ports O’ Call development, now being completely altered for a more contemporary concept. Proud Bird at LAX, which is now a food hall and event center? That’s Tallichet. Shanghai Red’s in Marina del Rey? That’s Tallichet.

In 2007, Tallichet passed away at the age of 84 and is survived by his wife Carol Margaret Tallichet, who lives in Orange, along with his four children.

While The Reef has become more known as a wedding venue than a restaurant as of late—long-gone are its days as a go-to place for food—the idea of 60-cent margaritas in honor of Tallichet sounds like the perfect Long Beach toast.

These special margaritas will be served on October 11 only; this promotion will be available with the purchase of an appetizer or entrée and will be limited to two per person. The Reef is located at 880 S Harbor Scenic Drive.

Editor’s note: The Reef had originally stated they would be offering the special every Thursday; they recanted that offer shortly after this article was published.

Brian Addison is a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or on social media at FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.