That eventually led to the opening of the Polynesian- themed Reef Restaurant in 1958, when the idea of a concept restaurant was still rather new and bold. Shortly after, Tallichet opened Ports O’ Call in San Pedro and a food dynasty was in the making. Under the banner of Specialty Restaurants Corp., Tallichet would go on to become a pioneer in the industry, opening more than 100 eateries nationwide with themes ranging from World War II combat aeronautics – often in locales with views of airports like the Proud Bird in Westchester and the former 94th Aero Squadron in Torrance – to South Seas islands like Shanghai Red’s in Marina del Rey. Tallichet’s accomplishments were outpaced only by his dreams, it seems. “I remember he wanted to create an aviation theme park,” John recalls. “As a kid growing up, I would see all these plans on the walls for shopping areas and villages that never got built.” “He was always excited about the next deal,” says son Bill Tallichet, who is now general manager of The Reef. In the 1960s, Tallichet envisioned a revolving restaurant atop the International Tower in Long Beach. At another time, he actually leased land in Florida for a park that was later scrapped. “My dad was a creative thinker,” John said. “He always saw things differently.” Many area residents still fondly recall the heyday of Ports O’ Call Village with its high-end niche shops. The village’s namesake restaurant is still a big draw on San Pedro’s waterfront, now the focus of redevelopment plans. The outdoor shopping village with a New England motif was built on a landfill, sweeping away all signs of the old Southern Pacific Railroad wharf that had been built on the waterfront during the previous century. John, who now runs Specialty Restaurants Corp., says he remembers his father always with a yellow legal pad in his hands either dreaming up a new ideas or reminding himself what needed to be done next. Tallichet’s success as a businessman allowed him to indulge his other passion, flying. Tallichet was the founder of Military Aircraft Restoration Co. By John’s estimation, at one time his father had about 40 working airplanes and another 100 or so in different stages of rehabilitation. Tallichet provided many of the Corsairs that were used in the television show, “Black Sheep Squadron.” Bill remembers his wheelchair-bound dad on the telephone with a friend making plans to fly his B-17 back to Cleveland just days before he died. While the flying was adventurous, both sons say it also allowed Tallichet to exercise his business talents as well as his passions. “He loved the art of negotiation,” John said. “So, while there was the adventure of flying, there’s also a lot of horse trading that goes on with these old planes and he loved that.” “His passion was doing business,” Bill remembers. “He’d get more passionate about saving $100 buying a car.” Tallichet is survived by his wife, Carol; a daughter, Catherine of Wyoming; and three sons, William of San Pedro, John of Newport Beach and James of Wyoming. Funeral services were private, but a celebration of Tallichet’s life will take place from noon to 3 p.m. Nov. 17 at Orange Hill Restaurant, 6410 E. Chapman Ave., Orange. The family asks that any memorial donations be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718 or online at www.cancer.org. [email protected] Staff writer Donna Littlejohn contributed to this article.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre “He’d say he got a slow start, but once he got going he made up for it,” John Tallichet said of his father, who lived in Orange. After serving in World War II, where he flew B-17 Flying Fortresses on more than 20 combat missions in Europe, Tallichet began working for Hilton Hotels, eventually becoming general manager of the Lafayette Hotel in downtown Long Beach in 1955. It was there that Tallichet met Cecilia, who became his first wife and the mother of his four children. Several years before, he had visited a remote restaurant in the Midwest that drew large crowds because of its backwoods theme. That gave Tallichet the idea of creating restaurants that featured not only good food, but exotic or historic atmospheres. David Tallichet Jr.’s head was often in the clouds, literally and figuratively. As an aviator and former combat pilot, he flew World War II-era aircraft until the final months of his life. As a businessman, he was constantly dreaming up new concepts and schemes for themed restaurants nationwide, including his first, The Reef Restaurant in Long Beach in 1958. That was followed in 1963 by the Proud Bird, which sits under the final approach path to Los Angeles International Airport, and Ports O’ Call Village in San Pedro, which opened in 1964. Tallichet, who was born in Texas, died Oct. 31 after a battle with prostate cancer. He was 84.