Sambo's (page 1)

(hit "refresh" to get the most recent version of this page; click on photos for larger images)

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 this website.

former Sambo's
Santa Barbara, CA


This Sambo's was the chain's original location. It was built in 1957. In 2020, during nationwide racial protests, it was announced that the restaurant's name would be changed. The letters on the roof were temporarily changed to "peace & love". A few months later, the restaurant's name and letters on the sign were changed to "Chad's". The framed illustrations will be removed. For more, see these websites: 1, 2, and 3. [map]

former Sambo's
Yuba City, CA
former Sambo's [gone]
Reno, NV
This former Sambo's in Yuba City now houses the Waffle Barn. [map]

This former Sambo's in Reno last housed the Asian Garden Restaurant. After a fire in 2018, the building was demolished.

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

former Sambo's
Riverside, CA
This former Sambo's housed Playas Ensenada for many years. By 2019, the building had been painted orange and was housing the Ixtapa Mexican restaurant. [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. Fortunately, it looks the same afterwards. [map]

former Sambo's
Fairfield, CA
This former Sambo's was built around 1968. The building housed the Original Sandy's 101 Omelettes when these photos were taken in 2014. By 2015, it was housing Hot Stone Korean BBQ. Previously, the building housed the Pacific Rice Kitchen, the Fire Pit, and several other restaurants. For more, see this website. [map]

former Sambo's
San Diego, CA
This former Sambo's has housed Perry's Cafe since 1985. [map]

former Sambo's [gone]
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 building was demolished by 2016. For more, see this website.

(page 2)
(page 3)
Eateries Main Page