‘It’s a Sad Day’: Longtime Customers Visit Anthony’s One Final Time

Anthony's Fish Grotto opened its location along downtown's Embarcadero in 1965; the eatery's 52-year lease expired on Jan. 31, 2017

It’s the end of an era for an iconic San Diego restaurant on the Embarcadero, Anthony’s Fish Grotto is closing its doors for the final time. After 52 years on Harbor Drive, Anthony’s Fish Grotto closed the Embarcadero location at 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2017.

Hundreds of customers lined up well before the restaurant's opening at 11 a.m., all looking forward to getting one more meal at Anthony’s.

The big crowds have become the norm as the restaurant counts down its final days at this location.

“In the last two weeks, we’ll serve in excess of 20,000 people, between 1,500 to 1,800 guests a day,”  said Anthony’s CEO Craig Ghio.

“It’s sad we can’t come here anymore, this has always been our favorite restaurant,” two diners told NBC 7.

Longtime customer Dana Risan told NBC 7, “This restaurant means everything to us. Our family has been coming here for years. It’s a sad day.”

Opened in 1965, Anthony’s Fish Grotto’s 52-year lease officially expires at the close of business on Tuesday, Jan. 31. Since it’s opening, the restaurant has been owned and operated by the Ghio family.

”I think the emotional part has to do with the staff, we have people who’ve been working here for 40 to 50 years, we want to make sure they have jobs moving forward," Ghio told NBC 7.

Ghi said his family is proud of what this restaurant started when it opened over 50 years ago.

“There was really nothing happening on the Waterfront when we built this.  We can take a sense of pride that we were really the catalysts for energizing the waterfront.  So much of what happened was that after Anthony’s was established and became so popular, tourists and visitors flocked to this location.”

With the closing of the Embarcadero location, there is just one Anthony’s restaurant remaining in San Diego, Anthony’s Fish Grotto La Mesa, located at 9530 Murray Dr.

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