The Tilted Tiki Is a Slice of Paradise

by | May 2024

Chris Goetzke

Chris Goetzke. Photos: Steve Wahlin

The Goetzkes create a tropical oasis in the East Metro.

Chris Goetzke and his family had a running joke that Goetzke would someday open his own tiki bar. The Woodbury resident does have a tiki bar in both his backyard and his family’s cabin near Balsam Lake, Wisconsin. What the family didn’t know is—that joke would eventually become reality when Goetzke and his wife, Patti, opened The Tilted Tiki in downtown Stillwater. But let’s start at the beginning.

The Goetzkes have long loved visiting Florida’s tropical bars like Harpoon Harry’s and Pineapple Willy’s, and, during trips to Hawaii, they developed a special appreciation for tropical food and drinks.

Back home in Woodbury, Goetzke wanted a change of pace in his day-to-day life, so he left his career in sales and started selling faux palm trees out of an office in downtown Stillwater. You might be wondering, how did he land there? In an effort to bring the tropics to the Midwest, Goetzke was hunting for palm trees that could withstand all the seasons—faux, of course, was the only way to go. “I found this company, put them up at our cabin and I said, ‘These are great. I should sell these,’” he says. “I had a showroom where people could look at artificial palm trees. We would do camping shows, and we brought more tiki stuff in and started selling that as well, and that’s when we came into the restaurant.”

When the front end of the office building became available in 2016, he spent time wandering around the location, thinking about the concept of a tiki restaurant and weighed in opinions from his wife. “She asked if I was crazy because we didn’t know anything about running a restaurant,” Goetzke says. He then connected with his friends in construction to see if his plans were legitimate. “We came up with the design and layout, and they helped us put it all up. We turned an old Victorian spot into a tropical haven,” he says. The Tilted Tiki officially opened its doors in November 2016, serving up Polynesian inspired bites and drinks all year round.

Tiki Chicken Club and Big Kahuna Burger

Tiki Chicken Club and Big Kahuna Burger

“We really wanted to build a bar [and] restaurant that we would like to go to and hoped other people would [too]. So far they have,” Goetzke says. The Tilted Tiki serves up unique tacos, Hawaiian-inspired menu items and refreshing entrees alongside craft cocktails.

From the get-go, the restaurant has been a family affair. The Goetzkes and their children, Jacki Schugart and Joe Goetzke, have all been involved in the restaurant in one way or another. They enjoy live music, so they’ve brought that part of their life into the restaurant. From classic rock ’n’ roll to reggae and beach music, there is a variety of musicians who grace the stage Wednesday through Saturday nights. “It’s become kind of what we’re known for,” Goetzke says.

Jacki and her husband, Chad, alongside their son, Joe, and his wife, Sjeila, have assisted in developing a secondary menu that is vegan—Jacki, Joe and Sjeila are vegan—something else the restaurant has become well known for. “We consulted with them and had them come down to try it before putting it on the menu. [They] inspired us,” Goetzke says, adding that Joe also manages the digital aspect of the restaurant. The vegan menu has been incredibly successful, Goetzke notes.

“It’s been a family adventure,” Goetzke says. “… We kind of built it for us. It’s the kind of place we would want to go to.”

The Tilted Tiki Tropical Bar & Restaurant
324 Main St. S., Stillwater; 651.342.2545
Facebook: The Tilted Tiki
Instagram: @thetiltedtiki


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