Celebrating 80 Years


  • 1904

    1904 - Frank Fat’s Village

    Frank Fat born (Dong Sai-Fat) was born in Canton, China to an upper-class family. Dong is his real surname, but when he immigrated to the United States, Fat, his Chinese middle name was established as his family name. As it turns out, the character “Fat” in Chinese means to prosper or flourish, making Frank’s surname a fortuitous choice.

  • 1919

    1919 - A Young Frank Fat

    His long journey started when he sailed to San Francisco from China in 1919.  When he arrived in United States he was just 16 years old similar to the millions of other immigrants that came in hopes of fulfilling a “Gold Mountain dream”, by striking it rich in San Francisco. When he arrived, he spoke no English, and had no money. He worked at poorly paying jobs in restaurants and salons.

  • 1923

    1923 - Wedding

    Frank returns to China after being convinced by his grandfather to return and continue his schooling. Upon his arrival he complied with the wishes of his family to enter into a sight unseen arranged marriage with Yee Lai-Ching later to be known as Mary.

  • 1924

    1924 - Wing is Born

    Wing Kai Fat, Franks first son was born a year later in his hometown.

  • 1926

    1926 - Back to Chicago

    Frank Fat moves back to Chicago from China to again work in the Restaurant and Laundry industry. Four years later he returns to Sacramento to work with his uncle at the newly remodeled and successful Hong King Lum restaurant as manager and host. During his employment he got to know many high-level politicians.

  • 1936

    1936 - Mary and Wing Join Frank

    After 10 years of separation from his wife Mary and son Wing Kai it was time for the family to make the trip from China.  With his new found political connections his family would only spend several days on Angel Island.

  • 1938

    1938 - Good Fortune and Honesty

    It was around this time that a powerful State official had asked Frank to buy him a Keno ticket, which were sold from the basement of the Hong King Lum restaurant.  The man left without knowing he had won until he returned later. Impressed with his honesty and kindness, the official gave Fat a loan that would give birth to the longstanding Sacramento icon Frank Fat’s.

  • 1939

    1939 - Frank’s 806

    Legendary restaurateur, Frank Fat, opens his first restaurant Frank’s 806 in 1939 in a rundown former speak-easy two blocks west of the State Capitol.  This was the beginning of Frank Fat’s immigrant dream story. With his $2,000 investment that he borrowed, the restaurant quickly became a favorite among state politicians, representatives, senators and government officials.  Over the decades, its widespread popularity earned it the nickname of the (Third House), because it was the preferred location for legislators, lobbyists and governors – along with the state’s most powerful men and women.

  • 1950

    1950 - Lights, Camera, Action!

    Due to the overwhelming success of Franks 806 he was asked to appear on a local TV broadcast where he displaying his abilities as a Chinese Chef on live TV.

  • 1974

    1974 - China Camp

    China Camp / California Fat’s opens serving traditional style recipes from the early 1900s. The rich and colorful history of the Chinese immigrants is showcased within the four walls of California Fat’s. Nestled in a corner of Old Sacramento, California Fat’s tells a story of these immigrants beginning with the Gold Rush and the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.

  • 1974

    1974 - Lina Fat Joins

    Lina Fat joins the Fat Family Restaurant Group as Head Corporate Chef after spending 10 years as a pharmacist.

  • 1976

    1976 - Fat City Serves Up American and Chinese Dishes

    Fat City in Old Sacramento opens serving a mixture of American and Chinese dishes. Because of its historic location, it was fitting for the Fat Family to create the corner location as the towns social and information center, as an informal gathering place and drinking spot, and as a daily eating place for the travelers and visitors, as well as for the local citizens and merchants. The Fat Family has created Fat City as a Turn of the Century Bar and Cafe filled with such unusual artifacts as the Legendary Pioneer Bar (circa 1876)

  • 1977

    1977 - Fats Goes to San Diego

    Fat City Steakhouse and China Camp are open in San Diego. In 1977, the Fat Family recognized the building as one of San Diego’s classic art deco landmarks and purchased this downtown city block.  After almost three years of restoration and remodeling with a mile of neon, Fat City now stands as a tribute to an elegant era and to the building’s original flamboyance and flair.  In 1981, Fat City was awarded one of San Diego’s highest architectural honors, the Orchid Award.  Fat City’s neon art and architecture became feature articles in San Diego Magazine, Designer’s West, Times Magazine, Lighting Dimension, and the Smithsonian neon art photo magazine (Fat City Steakhouse and China Camp closed in 19XX).

  • 1987

    1987 - A Deal is Struck

    At Fat’s one summer evening to negotiate the final piece of a product-liability bill that had been fought over for months. Speaker Brown came in late and forced a settlement. Then they adjourned to an upstairs private room to celebrate.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Bill Lockyer, now the state treasurer, joined the group and suggested that the warring interests agree to a five-year peace pact. Great idea, they said. Lockyer scribbled the pact on a linen napkin and the lobbyists signed it.

  • 1998

    1998 - Cache Creek Casino and Resort Bistro

    Cache Creek Casino and Resort opens the first of its kind Fat’s fast serve Bistro style Chinese food restaurant located inside Cache Creek Resort.

  • 2000

    2000 - Fat’s Asia Bistro Opens

    Fat’s Asia Bistro opens in Roseville creating a unique upscale dining experience. It is known for its eclectic blend of contemporary Asian food and award-winning decor.

  • 2005

    2005 - Folsom Get its Own Bistro

    The second of the Asia Bistro opens in Folsom.

  • 2013

    2013 - Honors for Frank Fat’s

    Frank Fat’s receives the James Beard Foundation America’s Classic Award. The award is given to restaurants with timeless appeal, each beloved in its region for quality food that reflects the character of its community.

  • 2019

    2019 - MICHELIN Bib Gourmand Distinction

    Frank Fat’s receives a Bib Gourmand distinction in the inaugural MICHELIN Guide California selection.  The Bib Gourmand category highlights restaurants that serve high-quality meals at a friendly price point.

  • 2019

    2019 - 80 Years of Distinction

    It’s not often that a restaurant celebrates its 80th anniversary. It’s even more uncommon when that restaurant happens to be a political landmark. But in August of 2019, the city’s oldest eatery, Frank Fat’s, will celebrate eight decades of business.  A short walk from the Capitol, Fat’s established itself from the beginning in 1939 as a place where politicians could meet with colleagues and discuss business, as well as enjoy a bite to eat and have a nice conversation. Frank Fat was known for a simple mantra: You give people good food, a nice place to eat it in and make them happy. Pretty simple, really.