SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — During the coronavirus pandemic restaurants have been hard hit. One of my favorites, Anthony's Fish Grotto in La Mesa, has been able to hang on so I went and talked with one of the owner Craig Ghio about the business.
"You know, things have gone quite well," he said.
To open back up Anthony's spent a lot of money on plexiglass for the booths and reducing tables in the dining room. The restaurant has also implemented several protocols to help keep guests and staff safe.
"When we reopened the people came back in droves," Ghio said. "It was wonderful to see the guest come back."
And then the rules changed, but Anthony's property makes outdoor dining much easier with plenty of outdoor space.
"We have the lake, we have the huge outdoor patio," said Ghio. "We use our private party cabana; even our bocce ball court has seating."
It helps when diners follow the rules.
"Our guests have been wonderful," Ghio said. "They not only worry about themselves but others following the rules that the San Diego County Health Department has set out."
While business has been steady, I asked Ghio about the old waterfront location where the new Brigantine completed construction and held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on San Diego Bay's North Embarcadero on Monday.
"I would be exceptionally nervous right now with the cost of that building and all the insular things to get a restaurant open," he said. "That would be a bridge too far to cross."
With just the La Mesa location, Ghio said he can focus on his guests.
"This is a great time to come out and enjoy seafood," he said. "We have over 16 types of fresh catch on the menu and people are coming. You just sit there and pinch yourself and go, 'wow, this is great that they like what we do as a restaurant they're willing to make the extra effort to dine with us.'"
News 8 Throwback on Anthony's
For Mother’s Day 1981, News 8 featured a very special San Diego mom. Catherine Ghio was known to most as Mama Ghio and was the founder of Anthony’s Fish Grotto.