Frank Sallee brought Sizzler to O'ahu
Frank W. Sallee, who with his wife brought the original Sizzler Restaurants to Hawai'i, died in July at the age of 86. Sallee was born Feb. 3, 1916, in West Hollywood, Calif. He was the developer of many buildings, houses and hotels in the Southern California area.
He came to Hawai'i in the early 1960s when he "traded" a motel he owned in California for one in Hawai'i, said his daughter-in-law, Carol Sallee. The deal on the Hawai'i property fell through, but by then, Frank and Betty Sallee had fallen in love with the state.
"He and Betty decided they liked it over here and they were looking for something that would keep them here," Carol Sallee said. "His fraternity brother had a Sizzler and said, 'Why don't you go into the restaurant business?' and he said, 'Oh, I guess so.' "
The first Sizzler opened on Nimitz Highway in 1964. When the Sallees sold the franchise to Jolly Roger Hawai'i in 1977, there were six Sizzler restaurants on O'ahu, one on Kaua'i and one in Kona.
Carol Sallee said her father-in-law knew little about the restaurant business in the beginning.
"He just jumped in and learned the business," Carol Sallee said. "Many, many hours and just lots of hard work. He used to say he slept with his hand on the phone."
Jolly Roger went bankrupt in 1996 and the franchise was acquired by Carol and her husband, Gary. The Sallees continue to operate the six O'ahu restaurants.
Frank Sallee retired in 1977, but kept busy with land development, travel and photography.
Sallee is survived by a son, Gary; daughter, Ann Beaumont; brother, Ralph; two grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
A memorial service and scattering of ashes will be held at 9 a.m. Monday at the Outrigger Canoe Club, 2909 Kalakaua Ave. Visitation begins at 8 a.m.