the seventy-year legacy of frank fat's

This is an awesome story about the important legacy of Frank Fat's restaurant, which opened in Sacramento 70 years ago and became an important gathering place for California's capitol, gathering loyal regulars from across the state's political scene: An American success story.

Seventy years is a long time for any small business to survive in one location, especially a restaurant. But Frank Fat's apparently isn't just any restaurant. The story of its namesake alone makes it fairly amazing -- the Fat family embodies "the American dream":
Frank Fat sailed to San Francisco in 1919 at age 16, speaking no English and using a false ID. He picked fruit, washed dishes, swept up, waited tables -- in Sacramento, Detroit, Chicago -- endured discrimination and even slept nights on the stone steps of a restaurant basement. "It was good enough for me," he said years later.

He and his wife, Mary, had six children, all college educated. The family now owns five restaurants and a catering service.

Fat opened his original restaurant with $2,000 borrowed from a man whom he had impressed. He was waiting tables at a Sacramento restaurant with a basement gambling hall. A state official came in and asked him to go downstairs and place a keno bet. The guy won $2,000 but, not realizing it, left before Frank could return with the money. The immigrant waiter held on to the winnings until he saw the amazed, thankful man several weeks later -- and won himself a lender to launch his restaurant business.

Frank Fat died in 1997 at 93. His son, Wing Fat, who had succeeded Frank as manager and smiling host in 1971, died in 2005 at 79. Kevin Fat, 42, Wing's nephew, is now the manager.
Somewhere along the way, the restaurant became a significant watering hole for Capitol types -- legislators, lobbyists, and everything in between. As the article points out, it's where everything happened in the political crowd, "before texting and term limits made hashing out issues face-to-face a thing of the past."

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