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Moribund bayfront means death for restaurant Allison K. Sampite | Sat, Mar 19 2011 12:00 PM

Anthony's Fish Grotto, a restaurant landmark in Chula Vista, is closing its doors Sunday after 37 years of business.

One of the area's favorite seafood restaurants located on Bay Boulevard has been heavily impacted by the lack of development on Chula Vista's bayfront over the years.

Anthony's spokesman Andrew Aiello-Hauser said declining revenue is the cause.

"The city planned to develop the waterfront across from us and it never happened," Hauser said. "We used to have a large business that came from Mexico, but the border-crossing business has declined significantly due to safety and border issues."

Longtime Chula Vista resident Shirley Cook said she is deeply saddened by the news.

Cook, 86, has been a patron of Anthony's since it opened and prior to that went to the downtown location.

Her favorite dish: shrimp scampi.

Cook frequented Anthony's for lunch with friends after church on Sundays. "I'll miss it," Cook said. "It's the best thing that Chula Vista has ever had to offer. I don't know what we'll do now. Maybe go somewhere down in San Ysidro."

Co-owners Rick and Craig Ghio are the two grandchildren of Anthony's founder and will maintain the corporate office on Bay Boulevard.

"This office is the central commissary for 15 items, which include cocktail and tartar sauce and red and white clam chowder," Hauser said.

Some of Anthony's signature dishes include fish and chips, which uses Mama Ghio's secret recipe, clam chowder and seafood salads.

"We love South Bay," Hauser said. "It's a wonderful community. Unfortunately though, we've seen Chula Vista develop away from us."

George Bye has been a customer of Anthony's since 1981 at all three locations, but prefers the one in Chula Vista. "It's convenient and has the nicest staff you'd ever want to know," he said. "They'll bend over backwards for you."

At a lunch meeting with a client Wednesday, Bye, 75, met with Lou Siller, who also frequents Anthony's.

"I know what I like when it comes to seafood," Bye said. "Anthony's provides great food, service and location."

Hauser said the company loves the South Bay and is looking to open another one in the future, though he doesn't know when. He also said the company is hopeful to relocate almost all 25 staff members to their other locations in San Diego and La Mesa.

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