LA MESA, Calif. — After 74 years in business, the co-owner of Anthony’s Fish Grotto in La Mesa thought the time had come.
“I really was feeling stick a fork in us, we’re done,” said Craig Ghio.
Ghio’s family came to the United States from Italy and brought cuisine and culture with them.
“My grandmother had this commissioned in 1958,” he said of a mosaic on the wall in the dining room. He says it’s valued at around $200,000.
The restaurant had once expanded to 10 locations, but has since narrowed to one. With the coronavirus restricting how businesses could operate, he figured financially, he should throw in the towel. That is, until customers showed up to stop him.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for this restaurant,” said Robin Walter. “My mother and father had their first date here back in 1970.”
And the rest was history. Her story wasn’t the only one. Residents took to the community Facebook page to post comment after comment about what the restaurant meant to them.
Then, over the weekend, hundreds of customers showed up to show their support. Ghio says his sales were up 400%.
And the stories were a reminder to keep pushing forward.
Ghio says he will reopen for at least two more months, and then reassess.