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7 Days 6:30am ~ 3:00pm

This is the Original Sambo’s Restaurant established by Sam Battistone, Sr. and is still family owned and operated by Chad Stevens, the grandson of the founder of Sambo’s Restaurant in Santa Barbara, along with his wife Michelle. They invite you to stop in and say hello.


We're on the Beach! (*touch me)

Sambo's Santa Barbara!

Sambo's has been a part of the Santa Barbara 'Boulevard Beach Scene' since 1957. Dine on our patio, feel the ocean breeze, watch the surf, enjoy the food & try one of our famous 'JUMBO' Mimosas

216 West Cabrillo Boulevard Santa Barbara CA 93101 Phone: 805.965.3269






58 Years!*

Sambo 21st Century

Sambo is 58 & looks great! He has grown over the years & in this day of smartphones & iPads, Sambo and friends reflect the trends of today's multi-cultural, eco-aware & tech-savvy community while keeping his beach-friendly 'cool'.

The ORIGINAL Sambo’s Restaurant is
celebrating 58 years of serving you a hearty breakfast and more!

A Brief History -

On a sunny Monday morning June 17th, 1957, Sambo’s on the Beach opened its kitchen to the public at large. From 1957 until mid 1978, Sambo’s was a growing part of the American restaurant landscape.

In August 1981 there were 1,117 Sambo’s restaurants in 47 states. For a number of reasons Sambo’s growth began to gradually slow down; as its transition from an innovative and cozy coffee cafe with humble roots in Santa Barbara to a multi-million dollar corporation while profitable and well received, began to have its share of growing pains.

In the early 80′s, some restaurants in the Northeastern part of the U.S. tried a new name – ‘ No Place Like Sam’s ‘ in an attempt to reverse a four-year tailspin. Sadly, in 1982 all but the original Sambo’s in Santa Barbara closed their doors.

This original Sambo’s location continues to be a place where family, good food and the great views can be shared at one time, along with those special memories of a time gone by and where new ones are made. The Spirit of Sam’s vision continues to live on the beach in Santa Barbara.

Sambo circa 1957*

Sambo ca 1957

Initially introduced in a marketing campaign, complete with wall murals based in part, on the 'Story of Little Black Sambo', a popular children's book by Helen Bannerman that included tigers & pancakes.

Sambo circa 60's*

Sambo ca 1961

As Sambo's Restaurant grew in popularity, with more restaurants being opened across the country at a brisk pace, the Sambo characters were 'softened' for a broader patron appeal.

Sambo circa 70's*

Sambo ca 1970

Decade of the 70's & the U.S. is creating artistically, clean, sleek lines & sharp corners. From cars to furniture, this line work style was everywhere. Sambo's 'mascot' artwork reflected this trend.

Sambo circa 90's*

Sambo ca 1990

A return to the past. The Sambo characters were revised to reflect both the anticipation of the 21st Century and a tribute to an era gone by. Not as edgy, the line work was inviting & appealed to kids.

Origin of the ‘Sambo’s’ name -

Regardless of the stories you may have heard or perhaps have told… This is the backstory as to how SAMBO’s got its name:

The Sam in ‘SAM‘ bo’s is Sam Battistone, Sr., (the restaurant’s founder) and the Bo in Sam’BO”s is Newell Bohnett, Sam’s business partner who was known affectionately by his friends, family and associates as ‘Bo’. It was as straight forward as that.

As the restaurant opened and began to gain popularity (across the U.S.), Sam’s marketing team introduced a series of restaurant murals that were placed in each restaurant telling the story about a little boy (from Asia) and a group of tigers (native to Asia, known as a streak or ambush); based on a book by Helen Bannerman about ‘The Story of Little Black Sambo‘ ² (see footer tab below).

SAMBO’S” already was an established brand, before the children’s storybook was discovered and eventually used as a restaurant backdrop, due in part, to its inclusion of PANCAKES in the original storyline.


Tiger Tamers SoundOFF!!




Spectacular Summer southern swell,
thanks to Hurricane Marie (8/27/14)
Surfer:    Gabe Venturelli
Location: Santa Barbara (the ‘Sandpit’)
Near Sambo’s Restaurant…

Currently in Santa Barbara…


 Planning to Visit?
We’re OPEN 7 Days
6:30am – 3:00pm

Keep Calm
Love Sambo’s Pancakes!

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  • Sambo. Hero of India

    ² 'The Story of Little Black Sambo' is a children's book written by Helen Bannerman and first published by Grant Richards in October 1899 as one in a series of small-format books called 'The Dumpy Books for Children'.

    The story was a children's favorite for more than 50 years until some of the general public deemed the word 'Sambo' as a racial slur in some countries. Today, both text and illustrations have undergone considerable revision since the original publication. The book continues to be beloved in Japan and is not considered controversial there.

    Sambo is a South Indian boy who lives with his father and mother - while on a walk near an Indian jungle, Sambo encounters four hungry tigers, and surrenders his colorful new clothes, shoes, and umbrella so they will not eat him.

    The tigers are vain and each thinks he is better dressed than the others. They chase each other around a tree until they are reduced to a pool of melted butter (Ghi / Ghee). Sambo then recovers his clothes and his mother, makes pancakes out of the butter.

  • Helen Bannerman 1862 – 1946

    Helen Bannerman (born Brodie Cowan Watson) was the Scottish author of a number of children's books, the most famous being Little Black Sambo.

    She was born in Edinburgh and, because women (at the time) were not admitted as students into British Universities, she took external examinations set by the University of St. Andrews and attained the qualification of LLA (Lady Literate in Arts). She lived a good portion of her life in India, where her husband was an officer in the Indian Medical Service.

    The heroes of many of her books are recognizably south Indian or Tamil children from the original published illustrations.

    The restaurant offers the original story version for purchase when you visit.

    **for clarity - Tigers are NOT native to the African continent (and Sambo) as portrayed in the original story is from southern India.