SACRAMENTO — One downtown Sacramento restaurant has been called the “third house of legislature” and has brought together lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle.
“There was no such thing as a senator or an assemblyman. We were all literally equal in this establishment,” said former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown.
While Frank Fat’s restaurant celebrated its 80th anniversary, the family of Frank recalled how it all began with a winning Keno ticket that wasn’t his.
“One of the local patrons gave him some money to run some numbers and it won $800. Back in 1939, that was a lot of money,” said Frank Fat’s eldest son, Jerry.
Turns out that man was a prominent state official who didn’t return for over a month. But when he did, he was so impressed Fat had held onto his ticket he agreed to give Fat a loan to open his now famous restaurant.
“I think growing up my dad’s always had the integrity,” Jerry Fat said.
Frank’s family still runs the joint.
While open to everyone, it was the lawmakers from a block away at the Capitol that turned the restaurant into a home away from the office.
Those legislative mainstays include two-time former Governor Jerry Brown.
“It’s amazing to keep a family business for 80 years. Most families get in fights before that,” Brown said. “So, I appreciate roots sticking with your family and making it over the generations.”
And while the downtown Sacramento scene around Frank Fat’s has changed, the family says they don’t plan on moving anytime soon.
“Our goal is 100 years, at least,” Jerry Fat said.