Sambo's Restaurant Locations in California

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bigbubby
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Re: Sambo's Restaurant Locations in California

Post by bigbubby » 12 Mar 2006 02:37

[There was actually 2 locations in Stockton.] - The first one was located at 11 N. Center street which I believe opened in 1968 or 1969.That location later became a "Season's" then a "Bakers Square" and later a "Country Waffle House" before becoming a "Arizona Restaurant and Grill", a Mexican Restaurant. The other location was located at 4747 Pacific Ave in front of "Gemco Discount Membership Department Store" (now Target). It was originally "Happy Tiger Restaurant" before Sambo's bought them out in 1977. That location was later bought by "Denny's" which it is today.[/quote]

The Pacific Avenue Sambo's couldn't have been a Sambo's for very long, because I was born in 1979 and only remember it as a Denny's, even back when Gemco was still in business. Denny's must have bought it in the very early 80s.

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Post by Jeff » 12 Mar 2006 11:46

I found this on Wikipedia:

Sambo's is the name of a former American restaurant chain, started in 1957 by Sam Battistone (who later became the owner of the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association) and Newell Bohnett. 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 then sought to capitalize on the coincidence by decorating the walls of the restaurants with scenes from the book, including a dark-skinned boy and tigers; once critics began voicing objections, the use of the boy's image was eliminated but the tigers remained. By 1979, Sambo's had 1,200 outlets in 47 U.S. states, but two years later the company went bankrupt, having changed the name of some of the outlets shortly before going out of business to "No Place Like Sam's," apparently in response to complaints about the name "Sambo's" from African-American organizations. Today, only the chain's flagship restaurant in Santa Barbara, California still exists.

In its last days of existence Sambo's was sued by Dr Pepper for allegedly plagiarizing the latter's popular television commercial in a spot Sambo's ran to promote its newly-established senior citizen discount program — and even more interestingly, was also sued by non-white employees and applicants who were alleging discrimination in hiring and advancement decisions.

Battistone's grandson, restauranteur Chad Stevens, who owned the only remaining Sambo's by 2005, in its original location in Santa Barbara, expressed a desire to revive the chain at various times in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

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Post by javelin » 24 May 2006 04:29

I loved Sambo's as a kid. Used to be one across the street from Disneyland, another on Brookhurst in Anaheim, later became a Spires (across the street from Howard's coffee shop, anyone remember that restaurant chain?).

Unless the name were changed, it'll never be revived. How about Samba's? Someone years back changed the name on the original themselves...to "HONKEY". I had that picture somewhere, and while I should take offense I saw the humor in it.

shopnbag

Post by shopnbag » 04 Jul 2006 18:46

Daniel wrote:
Groceteria wrote:Some locations:


-- Blackstone Avenue near Shaw, Fresno. Now somebody's Country Kitchen.
That would be a BJ's Kountry Kitchen. I am not positive it was a Sambo's location, but I know it was a Denny's as it still has the distinctively shaped Denny's sign frame. I have been meaning to check with the city directories to find out if that old Denny's was a Sambo's originally.


Wasn't the Denny's at 1110 E. Shaw (near First) a Sambo's originally?

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Post by mgrmk » 05 Jul 2006 20:22

There were 2 Sambo's in the San Fernando Valley that I can think of, 1 at Nordhoff and Sepulveda that became a Denny's and another in Granada Hills at Chatsworth and Zelzah that became a Baker's Square.

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Daniel
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Post by Daniel » 05 Jul 2006 23:25

shopnbag wrote:
Daniel wrote:
Groceteria wrote:Some locations:


-- Blackstone Avenue near Shaw, Fresno. Now somebody's Country Kitchen.
That would be a BJ's Kountry Kitchen. I am not positive it was a Sambo's location, but I know it was a Denny's as it still has the distinctively shaped Denny's sign frame. I have been meaning to check with the city directories to find out if that old Denny's was a Sambo's originally.


Wasn't the Denny's at 1110 E. Shaw (near First) a Sambo's originally?
According to the City Directory, Sambo's was only ever open on Blackstone Ave, and on Fulton Street. The Fulton Street restaurant relocated to Van Ness Ave, that building is a steakhouse today. I am unsure what became of the original location on Fulton.

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TheStranger
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Post by TheStranger » 23 Sep 2006 06:53

I think there's a former Sambo's on 2nd Street (not sure if that's the exact street) in downtown San Jose serving as a chinese restaurant now (saw the diamond sign and Dennys-like architecture down there when I was at the San Jose Grand Prix Champcar race).
Chris Sampang

WhenenRome

Post by WhenenRome » 02 Oct 2006 14:52

In Azusa (California), there was a Sambo's on Alosta Blvd. near Citrus Ave. Like the scenarios mentioned before, it became a Season's for a brief time, then a couple of years as a Godfather's Pizza, followed by a long run as Baker's Square. Almost a decade ago, after Baker's Square closed down, it re-opened as The Whole Enchilada, one of a small local chain of Mexican restaurants.

Its address is: 855 E. Alosta Ave. (at Citrus)
Azusa, CA 91702

The restaurant's fascia, while still looking fresh, from what I can recall has remained relatively the same. Here's a photo:

Image

And though I couldn't say at 100%, I'm pretty sure that a Denny's in West Covina - on Azusa Ave. & Puente St. - was originally a Sambo's. It became Season's, but I can't recall for certain what it was prior to Denny's - which went in just around 5 years ago.

I know the structure was totally overhauled for Denny's opening, so it definitely doesn't have the classic look. It's housed in a shopping center that used to be home to a Zody's (which later became Ralphs Giant, and is now a Food-4-Less).

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Post by Jeff » 02 Oct 2006 18:30

That Denny's I beleive was a Baker's Square prior to Denny's. This location is the same design as the (now closed and demolished) Bakers Square on Valley Bl in Alhambra, and the Bakers Square on Beverly in Montebello, both were Sambo's.

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RandallFlagg
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pomona/clairmont

Post by RandallFlagg » 03 Oct 2006 04:45

I remember as a kid, my family often went to the location on Indian Hill Blvd. The Sambo's was just north of the I-10 freeway on the east side between the off ramp and the first intersection. The last I remember the location was a bakers square.

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Post by Jeff » 03 Oct 2006 18:42

I think that is still a baker's square.

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TheStranger
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Post by TheStranger » 05 Oct 2006 06:35

From Live Local, here's a screenshot of the birdseye view of the San Jose restaurant on 2nd street that I highly suspect is ex-Sambo's (look closely for the diamond sign):

Image
Chris Sampang

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TheStranger
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Post by TheStranger » 08 Oct 2006 05:00

Not California, but an interesting photo nonetheless: a likely former Sambo's in Seattle area:

http://www.seattledreamhomes.com/PageMa ... 08605&NF=1
Last edited by TheStranger on 12 Oct 2006 15:49, edited 1 time in total.
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Sambo's in Davis

Post by J-Man » 08 Oct 2006 11:37

There was a Sambo's in downtown Davis, CA (2nd and B Sts.) when I was in college there in the early 70s. Of course, with Davis being a college town, and with all of the controversy about the name, the restaurant had some problems during that time. I don't remember what happened to it.

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Re: Sambo's in Davis

Post by TheStranger » 08 Oct 2006 16:54

J-Man wrote:There was a Sambo's in downtown Davis, CA (2nd and B Sts.) when I was in college there in the early 70s. Of course, with Davis being a college town, and with all of the controversy about the name, the restaurant had some problems during that time. I don't remember what happened to it.
That must be where the Baker's Square is located now, though the architecture of that building certainly isn't all that distinctive...

If not that, it could be the current Delta of Venus Cafe across the street.
Chris Sampang

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