The term “Sambo” is a long-standing racial manure with roots dating back to the 1899 book about a dark-skinned boy from southern India. The name became an epithet against African Americans.
The restaurant sign was at least temporarily covered by a peace sign, an ampersand and the word “love” for Peace and Love.
“Our family looked into our hearts and realized that we need to be sensitive when we are strongly addressed by others we respect,” the owners announced. “So today we stand in solidarity with those who seek change and give their share of the best we can.”
Owner Chad Stevens said its founders – his grandfather Sam Battistone and business partner Newell “Bo” Bohnett – created the restaurant’s name from parts of their names.
Stevens agreed to change the name after being heard by resident Rashelle Monet.
“Even though it didn’t come from a bad place, it’s still a very painful term for a lot of people,” Monet said. “I understand it wasn’t intentional. I’m not saying Samboi and the owners are racist. I’m saying the sludge is racist.”
Stevens said it was time for a change.
“With the current environment of our country we need to come together and, as the sign says, peace and love,” he said.