A national chain's attempt to bring its Sambo's restaurants to metropolitan Washington has created a furor in Reston, where one of the franchises is scheduled to be built.
The Reston Community Association's board, in an 11-to-1 vote, said. "We want to express our outrage to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors that a national restaurant franchise with the name and decor of 'Sambo's' could be welcome in Fairfax County. It is certainly not welcome in Reston."
Supervisor Martha V. Pennino (D-Centreville) said she also opposes the restaurant's name for its "racial insensitivity" and urged the chain to change it.
Sma D. Battistone, president of the 810-franchise Smabo's Restaurants, Inc., in Santa Barbara, Calif., said the firm's executive management group - which has final authority on name changes - would consider the issue. However, Richard Ziegler, general partner and co-owner of Rte. 606-Reston Associates, which owns the planned Reston franchise, said the name "Sambo's" would stay.
"They (Sambo's Restaurants, Inc.) have advised us they do not intend to change the name," Ziegler said. He added that he himself saw nothing offensive about the name.
The name, which appears on 810 restaurants in 42 states (excluding metropolitan Washington and the Northeast), is an acronym derived from the names of the chain's two founders, according to president Battistone.
Battistone said "Sam" comes form the first names of his father, cochairman of the company's board, and "bo" from the first two letters of the list name of the other founder, F. Newell Behnett, also a co-chairman.
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