Please Explain the Mystery of Toni’s Trade Winds

Toni's Trade Winds

Okay, so here’s a question for the Bernalwood old-timers: What was Toni’s Trade Winds?

Its vestigial sign still appears on the facade of 431 Cortland, a weary-looking building right next door to Heartfelt. Anyone know the story behind the old sign, and the business it presumably advertised?

I’m very curious. My hunch is that it might have been a travel agent, but that’s only because whenever I see the sign, that god-awful “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes starts to play in my head for some reason. I seek the truth, both for it’s own sake… and to (hopefully) to prevent this from happening in the future.

Oh, and extra credit if you can not only tell us what Toni’s Trade Winds was, but also tell a good tale of what it was like inside.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

11 thoughts on “Please Explain the Mystery of Toni’s Trade Winds

  1. Tony’s trade winds was a restaurant that served Somoan food- Tony was the cook- she was married to a really nice Filipino man -who was my neighbor when I first bought Heartfelt. I remember many old timers telling me about the amazing breakfasts served there. And no I was not inside when it was a restaurant –

  2. I lived in Bernal back in the mid and late 1980’s. Toni’s Trade Winds as a little “Mom & Pop” restaurant that served a slamming breakfast. The tables were all stocked with tureens of home made jams and/or marmelades that were exquisite. Otherwise, it was the standard breakfast fare — eggs, potatoes, etc.

  3. In the early 80’s we dropped in twice or three times for breakfasts. Hearty, solid, with some fine banana pancakes, known as a specialty. Was open, as I remember it, only intermittently – maybe only in the mornings? Inside felt like an old Provincetown Cafe I used to go to in the 60’s: low ceiling, wooden tables, wooden chairs, cups continually refilled with hot, boiled coffee.

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  5. Toni’s was a sweet little spot with the nicest owners who always served with a smile.

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  7. The spouse and I went in for breakfast one morning at Toni’s when we had first moved to the neighborhood in ’87. I’m not sure, but I think Toni had recently passed away and her husband was trying to make a go of it but not quite succeeding. I think there may have been more weeping and imbibing of alcohol happening back in the kitchen than actual cooking of breakfasts. At any rate we were waiting a while for our meal to appear. We had plenty of time to look around and notice the interior–it was like being in someone’s living room, someone you didn’t know that well, and maybe you were realizing you didn’t have all that much in common with, judging from the decor. I recall there was an older woman sitting to the side–was there a bar in there, maybe?–who obviously was a permanent fixture, smoking cigarettes (1987!), drinking coffee, and reading the paper and occasionally making comments to whoever would listen or shouting back to the kitchen. It was certainly a slice of life, and we were there watching that slice slide off the plate.

  8. Hello. My name isJonathan. Toni was my aunt. This was a store in the front that sold jewelry and small souvenirs from around the world; and behind the store was a Samoan restaurant owned by my Uncle Solomona. After my uncles wife Toni passed away, the restaurant was shut down.

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