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Sambo's

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The Sambo's Restaurant chain was founded in 1957. The restaurant's name came from an abbreviation of the owners names: Sam Battistone and Newell Bohnett. However, the chain quickly became associated with the story of Little Black Sambo. The restaurants were decorated with scenes of the Indian boy and Tigers. By 1979, there were about 1,200 locations nationwide. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, lawsuits and political pressure led the company to change its image. However, the rebranding was unsuccessful. By 1982, there was only the original location in Santa Barbara, CA left. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2.

Sambo's
Santa Barbara, CA
This Sambo's is the chain's original location. It was built in 1957. For more, see this website. [map]

former Sambo's
Reno, NV
This former Sambo's now houses the Asian Garden Restaurant. [map]

former Sambo's
Sparks, NV
This former Sambo's now houses Jack's Coffee Shop. [map]

former Sambo's
Riverside, CA
This former Sambo's now houses Mariscos Ensenada. [map]

former Sambo's
Boise, ID
This former Sambo's was built in 1966. It has housed the Tepanyaki Steak House since 1989. The building was being remodeled when these photos were taken in 2014. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

former Sambo's
Fairfield, CA
This former Sambo's was built around 1968. The building most recently housed the Original Sandy's 101 Omelettes. I believe it is closed now. Previously, the building housed the Pacific Rice Kitchen, the Fire Pit, and several other restaurants. For more, see this website. [map]

former Sambo's
Downey, CA
This former Sambo's was built in 1968. The building housed Pepe's Tacos in 2011. It has been vacant since 2012. This photo is from 2015. The rumor is that the building may be demolished for a Starbucks. For more, see this website. [map]

former Sambo's
San Jose, CA
2008: 2014:
This former Sambo's was built in 1967. The building now houses the Bo Town Seafood restaurant. The original sign was adapted twice (see above photos). For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

former Sambo's
Ukiah, CA
This former Sambo's was most recently Zack's Family Restaurant. When these photos were taken in 2008, the building was being remodeled. However, as of 2012, the pole sign still read "New Restaurant Coming Soon." For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

former Sambo's
Orlando, FL
former Sambo's
Seattle, WA
This former Sambo's in Orlando housed the Acapulco Mexican Restaurant when this photo was taken in 2005. After that, the restaurant housed the Presidential Diner and the building was repainted. The building now houses Que Rico, La Casa del Mofongo. For more, see this website. [map]

This former Sambos in Seattle was built in 1963. The building housed the Traveler's Lounge and, later, the Aurora Family Restaurant. Since 2005, Aurora Rents has occupied the building. [map]

former Sambo's
Sacramento, CA

2008:

2014:
This former Sambo's was built in the mid-1960s and operated until around 1982. From 2007 until around 2013, the building housed the El Patron Bar & Grill. It was vacant when these photos were taken in 2014. For more, see these websites: 1, 2, 3, and 4. [map]

former Sambo's
Grants Pass, OR
former Sambo's
Yakima, WA
former Sambo's
Sunnyvale, CA
This former Sambo's in Grants Pass housed the China Buffet when this photo was taken in 2008. The building now houses the Tokyo Teppanyaki Restaurant. Originally, there were letters spelling out the name SAMBOS on each of the blue pieces on the front of the roof. [map]

This former Sambo's in Yakima has housed Mel's Diner since 1982. [map]

This former Sambo's in Sunnyvale now houses Hobee's Restaurant. For more, see this website. [map]

former Sambo's
Yuma, AZ
This former Sambo's was built in 1966 in conjunction with the Royal Inn Motor Hotel next door. The building has housed a number of restaurants over the years. These photos are from 2012. As of 2015, the building is vacant. [map]

former Sambo's
Bakersfield, CA
This former Sambo's now houses La Mina Mexican Restaurant. The building was previously painted purple and white with orange and yellow trim. It was painted the colors shown above in 2008. For more, see this website. [map]

former Sambo's
Azusa, CA

2008:

2013:
This former Sambo's has been here since at least the early 1970s. It was a Seasons restaurant for awhile, then a Godfather's Pizza, and then a Bakers Square. The building then sat for about ten years before becoming the Whole Enchilada. By 2011, the business had become a Dalia's Italian Restaurant. [map]

former Sambo's
Ogden, UT
former Sambo's
Modesto, CA
This former Sambo's in Ogden now houses Pro Street Embroidery. The sign was also adapted. For more, see this website. [map]

This former Sambo's in Modesto now houses Modesto Car Toys. The building is located next door to the former Tropics Motor Hotel which was built in 1961. This Sambo's was built at the same time. The building housed a Denny's later on. For more, see these website: 1 and 2. [map]

former Sambo's
Alameda, CA
This former Sambo's was built in conjunction with the Royal Inn Motor Hotel next door. The restaurant now houses Bucket O' Crawfish. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

More former Sambo's Restaurants:
Downey, CA: 1, 2 [vintage]
San Bernardino, CA [vintage]
Lincoln City, OR: 1, 2 [never part of the chain]

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