The owners of Sambo’s in Santa Barbara plan to change the name of the restaurant on Friday.
The owners of Sambo’s in Santa Barbara plan to change the name of the restaurant on Friday. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

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The Sambo’s name atop one of Santa Barbara’s most well-known waterfront restaurants will come down on Friday. 

Restaurateur Chad Stevens plans to drop the name and temporarily replace the six letters with “☮&LOVE,” until the Stevens family decides on a permanent name.

The move comes after Black Lives Matter members called for the change and planned a protest and rally on Sunday.

The name “sambo” is a disparaging and racist term for black and Native American people.

The restaurant’s name came from the original owners — a combination of their two names, Sam Battistone Sr. and Newell Bohnett.

“This name for a small pancake and coffee shop began quite innocently and is now part of our family history, which we have held onto, confident that there was no racist intent,” Chad Stevens said in a statement. “Still, we understand that intent is one thing and perception is another.

“With the changing world and circumstances, the name isn’t just about what it means to us, but the meaning it holds for others. At this point, our family has looked into our hearts and realize that we must be sensitive when others whom we respect make a strong appeal. So today we stand in solidarity with those seeking change and doing our part.”

The Stevens family plans to change the name on Friday. 

An artist’s rendering shows what the new Sambo’s sign will look like with “☮&LOVE” temporarily, until the owners decide on a permanent name.

An artist’s rendering shows what the new Sambo’s sign will look like with “☮&LOVE” temporarily, until the owners decide on a permanent name. (Courtesy photo)

The restaurant, at 216 W. Cabrillo Blvd., was founded in 1957.

Within an hour of the restaurant’s Facebook post announcing the change, more than 100 people had offered a social media reaction or commented on the post. 

One person wrote, “I’ve been eating at this restaurant literally my whole life. Thanks for growing and changing! I look toward to changing and growing with you.”

Another person chimed in: “Keep supporting our community, employing people, serving our locals and tourists. The Stevens family is trying to do what is right for them and their business. Bravo!”

Others weren’t happy with the change: “Sad to see this happen. I grew up eating at Sambo’s. Always enjoyed the food and fun place to go with the family. I’m sorry that the pressure of modern society has forced you to change the name. We were just getting ready to drive down and enjoy the restaurant. We’ll scratch that trip off the list.”

The name change issue hit social media hard on Thursday after a community member launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to pay for the name change and rebranding. 

Rashelle Monet, who described herself as an entrepreneur who develops products that solve everyday problems, said “it’s important that we all come together.”

“My goal in this is to bring everyone together and make everyone walk away from this feeling like they won,” Monet said. 

The Stevens family, however, in its statement said they will not accept any money from Monet’s campaign.

“A group under the leadership of Rashelle Monet have kindly started a GoFundMe page to pay for the cost of rebranding the store,” according to the statement. “We did not ask Rashelle to do so, nor will we take any of the funds. We suggest Rashelle determine where those funds could be used for good in our community.”

Representatives of Black Lives Matter Santa Barbara also objected to the money-raising effort.

“Sambo’s ABSOLUTELY needs to rebrand,” Krystle Farmer Sieghart wrote, but added that the community should not financially pay for the cost of rebranding. “Allow them to hold themselves accountable, and fix the harm they’ve caused on their own. There are plenty of other organizations you can donate to, like ours, or Isla Vista Youth Projects, and El Centro SB.”

As of Thursday evening, the GoFundMe campaign had stopped collecting money. 

The Stevens family said they want to send a message of peace and love. 

“Please know we do not tolerate racism or violence,” Stevens wrote. “We are committed to being part of a long-term solution, and we ask our customers and neighbors to join us in that pledge.”

Montecito Estate for Sale

Timothy Di Prizito and Joyce Rey, Coldwell Banker Global luxury property specialists affiliated with the Beverly Hills office of Coldwell Banker Realty, have listed a historical Montecito property formerly owned by artist Teri Rojas for $16.495 million.

The Montecito property at 691 Picacho Lane is for sale for more than $16 million.

The Montecito property at 691 Picacho Lane is for sale for more than $16 million. (Courtesy photo)

The seven-bedroom and eight-bathroom home at 691 Picacho Lane is a legacy property recognized by the Smithsonian because it was originally part of William A. Hayne’s 175-acre “The Las Tejas” estate in 1868.

“In the heart of the Golden Quadrangle of Montecito on approximately five flat usable acres with sustainable agricultural production, this estate is part of a very elite group of Montecito’s most iconic legacy properties,” Di Prizito said in a statment. “Helmut Newton famously photographed Ms. Rojas with her sister on the estate.”

The Italian Villa’s main residence encompasses a living room with a fireplace, floor-to-ceiling doors to the pool, and lawns with ocean views featuring the Channel Islands, a family room with a fireplace, a formal dining room, and a chef’s kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances and a center island, according to a news release.

On the main level, the master bedroom has a separate sitting area with a fireplace and two separate bathrooms. With ocean and mountain views, the grounds include two private wells, gardens, vast lawns, ancient specimen trees and an additional guest residence with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, according to the statement. 

To view the home, contact Di Prizito at 310.266.2777 or tdipri@gmail.com or Joyce Rey at 310.285.7529 or joyce@joycerey.com.

State Street’s Coffee Bean Gone

Another national restaurant chain has left State Street. 

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, at 811 State St., has closed its doors.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit many businesses hard. It is estimated that 30 percent of the restaurants that closed during the pandemic won’t reopen. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is one of those, at least downtown.

The street-facing shop, with its curved glass windows, is empty and the items inside are gone.

It’s the second Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to close in the past couple of years. Coast Village Road’s former Coffee Bean closed in 2018.

A Mesa Burger plans to take its place. Two Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s remain, on Upper State Street and in Goleta.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at jmolina@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.