Recently discovered in my parents’ basement is this wooden coin from the old Sambo’s Restaurant, which was located where the Miller Hill Mall Perkins is today. Sambo’s was a chain with over a thousand locations during its heydays in the 1970s, according to the Wikipedia entry.
These coins are all over eBay, representing numerous cities, so although I don’t see any Duluth ones for sale, I assume this is not a rare item.
I remember the Sambo’s name, and I’m sure I ate there a few times as a kid, but I don’t have any specific memories. It’s interesting/upsetting to note that apparently “sambo” is a racial slur, which contributed to the demise of the restaurant chain. As the Wiki entry for the children’s book The Story of Little Black Sambo notes:
A popular U.S. restaurant chain of the 1960s and 1970s, Sambo’s, borrowed characters from the book (including Sambo and the tigers) for promotional purposes, although the Sambo name was originally a combination of the founders’ nicknames: Sam (Sam Battistone) and Bo (Newell Bohnett). Nonetheless, the controversy about the book led to accusations of racism that contributed to the 1,117-restaurant chain’s demise in the early 1980s. Images inspired by the book (now considered by some racially insensitive) were common interior decorations in the restaurants. Though portions of the original chain were renamed No Place Like Sam’s to try to forestall closure, all but the original restaurants in Santa Barbara, California had closed by 1983.
Leave a Comment
Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here