OLYMPIA - Anthony's Restaurants will make history when the Kirkland company opens its second Olympia restaurant next month.
The 7,100-square-foot restaurant with expansive views of Budd Inlet will be the seafood chain's first of its Hearthfire Grill format.
The company also operates Anthony's HomePort restaurant at Olympia's Port Plaza.
For now, company officials are keeping details of the Hearthfire Grill's menus under wraps.
"We're still doing our menu planning," Lane Hoss, the company's vice president of marketing, said late last week.
However, company founder Budd Gould talked about a rough idea for a menu when the company signed a 30-year lease with the Port of Olympia in the summer of 2005. Gould said it would be similar to Anthony's Woodfire Grill in Everett, with meat dishes and pizza in addition to seafood.
Dining, bar, deck
The NorthPoint restaurant at the port will seat 150 for dining, 50 at the bar, and the waterfront deck will have room for another 60 customers, Hoss said.
The dining room still under construction features tall windows that give the restaurant an open feel.
"It will have an open display kitchen and a lot of open cooking," Hoss said.
The restaurant's opening will be phased.
Hoss said it would open for dinner only on March 10. She expects to introduce lunches in May.
The company is in the midst of interviewing potential employees and expects to hire up to 115, Hoss said.
Waterfront visitors to Port Plaza who were enjoying a sunny afternoon late last week offered mixed reactions to the new restaurant.
Brian Hughes of Puyallup said he was glad about a new waterfront attraction. He said he comes to Olympia to buy Batdorf & Bronson coffee and to sit along the peaceful waterfront. Hughes also has eaten at Anthony's Pier 66 in Seattle.
"It's got great food, great salmon," he said of the Seattle Anthony's.
But 13-year-old Tina Thomas, who was hanging out at Port Plaza with friends, said she doubted she could afford to eat at the new Anthony's.
"It's going to be expensive," she said. "There's a McDonald's downtown. I eat there because they have a dollar menu."
At the port
Port officials, though, are excited about their new addition, which weathered a construction delay of several months.
Originally, the restaurant was pegged to open last summer. But construction snags delayed it.
The project is a cooperative one between Anthony's and the port.
The port designed and built the restaurant's foundation and extended utilities to the site, while Anthony's built the restaurant.
The site was the original location for Genoas, which closed after a 2002 fire. The seafood restaurant began operations at the port under a different name in 1964.
Now that Anthony's Restaurants is about to return a restaurant to the site, one port commissioner considers it the catalyst for further NorthPoint development.
Port officials have been planning to recruit a boutique hotel, office building and Swantown Marina office and shopping complex to the peninsula, but have not announced firm schedules for those projects.
"We have committed to Anthony's to do (nearby) development," Commissioner Bob Van Schoorl said.
"I would call this restaurant our anchor tenant for that district."
Port properties director Heber Kennedy also is impressed.
"The view is absolutely spectacular," Kennedy said. "You see the bay, you see the snow-capped mountains in the background. It reminds me of an Alaska setting." On the Web
Anthony's Restaurants: www.anthonys.com