Sam's By The Sea is owned by three brothers, Mark, Wyatt and Alan Payne. The trio moved to Okinawa from their original home in Hawaii when their father Ray's employer, Coca-Cola, relocated the family there. It opened in either 1970 or 1973.
Sam's By The Sea is located in an old yacht club, and still has the club's original bar. The restaurant resembles the interior of an old ship, and a long canoe is suspended over the dining room. A large Ku carving serves as a sign out front, and there is at least one big Papua New Guinea carving.
The restaurant has been a regular destination for American servicemen stationed in Okinawa for decades. It is a Teppanyaki-style restaurant. The female waitstaff are dressed in sailor outfits. Drinks are served in souvenir mugs.
There are seven restaurants in the Sam's chain in Okinawa; all are nautical, and four (including this one) have strong tiki/Polynesian elements. The other three tiki locations are Sam's By The Sea in Gushi/Naha, Sam's Maui in Kumoji and Sam's Maui on Kokusai street.