Food & Drink

Frank Fat’s celebrates 80 years. A look at the landmark Sacramento restaurant in photos

A look at Frank Fat’s history on 80th anniversary of downtown landmark restaurant

Opened in 1939, the downtown Sacramento landmark restaurant Frank Fat’s turns 80. Here's a glance at its colorful history.
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Opened in 1939, the downtown Sacramento landmark restaurant Frank Fat’s turns 80. Here's a glance at its colorful history.

Since the late 1930s, Sacramento residents have been going to Frank Fat’s to enjoy Chinese cuisine at the downtown restaurant.

On Wednesday, the city’s oldest eatery still owned by the founding family celebrated its 80th anniversary with longtime California politicians in attendance, including former Gov. Jerry Brown and Willie Brown, a past California State Assembly speaker and mayor of San Francisco.

Founded in 1939, “Frank Fat’s single-handedly created a downtown political scene, along with a tradition of legendary modern Chinese cuisine and unparalleled service,” according to its website.

The restaurant has recently received some major recognition, including being one of three local restaurants to earn Michelin’s Bib Gourmand designation in May and was also honored with a James Beard Foundation America’s Classics Award in 2013.

Here’s a look at Frank Fat’s in photos over the years.

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Frank Fat in his Fat City restaurant Dick Schmidt The Sacramento Bee

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Frank Fat uses Wok to teach youngsters how to make Fried Rice at Kids-on-Kampus Across the years program Friday. Owen Brewer The Sacramento Bee

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Amid exploding firecrackers and a dancing dragon, Frank Fat, at right wearing lei, celebrates his 80th birthday and the reopening of his restaurant Monday. possible gallery notable local people Randy Pench The Sacramento Bee

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Frank Fat, holding a plaque awarded him Monday by state Assembly resolution, enjoys a laugh during Speaker Willie Brown’s tribute to the legendary L street restaurateur. Fat and family celebrated the eatery’s 50th anniversary with a $3,000 members-only buffet in the Capitol. possible gallery notable local people Gallery Willie Brown Genaro Molina The Sacramento Bee

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger holds up a mock “napkin deal” between him and California Sen. John Burton during Chinese New Year celebrations at Frank Fats in downtown Sacramento Wednesday, January 21, 2004. The downtown eating establishment is known for Capitol lawmakers doing deals drafted on Frank Fat’s cocktail napkins. Manny Crisostomo / Sacramento Bee MANNY CRISOSTOMO Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

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Main dining room in the newly redecorated Frank Fat’s Restaurant, 806 L Street. Photographed for SUNDAY TICKET Wednesday January 28, 2004. Sacramento Bee / Owen Brewer OWEN BREWER Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

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Chef Quentin Truong prepares Honey walnut shrimp, Fat’s Restaurant’s most popular dish, on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Arden Barnes asbarnes@sacbee.com

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Honey walnut shrimp is Fat’s Restaurant’s most popular dish. Photo taken on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Arden Barnes asbarnes@sacbee.com

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Fat’s Restaurant is located on L Street in downtown Sacramento. Photo taken on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Arden Barnes asbarnes@sacbee.com

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Former congressman John Burton, Congresswoman Doris Matsui, former Gov. Jerry Brown, former Speaker of the California State Assembly Willie Brown and council member Steve Hansen listen to Jerry Fat, President/CEO as they help celebrate Frank Fat’s 80th year in business at Fat Franks on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 in Sacramento. Paul Kitagaki Jr. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

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