Sambo's

Santa Barbara, United States

Sambo's

Sambo's was an American restaurant chain, started in 1957 by Sam Battistone Sr. and Newell Bohnett in Santa Barbara, California. Though the name was taken from portions of the names of its founders, the chain soon found itself associated with The Story of Little Black Sambo. Battistone and Bohnett capitalized on this connection by decorating the walls of the restaurants with scenes from the book, including a dark-skinned boy, tigers, and a pale, magical unicycle-riding man called "The Treefriend". By the early 1960s, the illustrations depicted a light-skinned boy wearing a jeweled Indian-style turban with the tigers. A kids club, Sambo's Tiger Tamers (later called the Tiger Club), promoted the chain's family image. The chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 1981. All locations except for the first in Santa Barbara either closed outright, or were renamed after being purchased, effectively ending the chain's existence.

The Santa Barbara restaurant continued business under the Sambo's name until 2020, when it was renamed to Chad's after its owner at the time, Chad Stevens. The George Floyd protests against racism in the United States resulted in the owner of the restaurant changing the name of the establishment.



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