Change the name of Sambos Restaurant!

I just read that the owners are FINALLY changing the name. This is good to see. The founders, Sam Battistone Sr. and Newell Bohnett, said the restaurant’s name was based on the first letters of their names. But the name has been reviled as racist, and in many towns the restaurant rebranded itself as “The Jolly Tiger” under local pressure.

I am not buying that the name was a combination of their names. I lived in SB and during the 80-90’s the menus, placemats, etc. ALL were illustrated with the images from the children's book “Little Black Sambo”, and the name switch to "The Jolly Tiger" was also a wink to the story line as the tigers in the story chase each other in circles making churned butter, the butter is brought back to Sambo's mother and they eat pancakes! Both restaurant names simply too big of a coincidence for a breakfast house that specialized in pancakes.

The owners comment may be the first honest comment I’ve seen — “...we must be sensitive when others whom we respect make a strong appeal” — but WHY did people have to make such a "strong appeal"? This appeal has been going on for decades no less. WHY wasn’t it obvious to change the name based on your own ethics much, much sooner, it’s 2020 for crying out loud!

Kathleen Corby, Old Chatham, NY, United States
9 months ago
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