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A new sports bar is set to open in Guadalupe this week, bringing comfort food and beer to the Santa Maria Valley residents in a TV screen-packed environment.

The brainchild of restaurateur and Santa Maria resident Anthony Burns, Anthony’s aims to provide good food, beer and relaxed environment for city residents. “Basically, we wanted to make a place where you could come and relax,” Burns said. “We have free Wi-Fi, we have 18 plasma TVs.”

Located at 859 Guadalupe St., the new eatery can be found directly off Highway 1.

The planning for Anthony’s — which was set to have a soft opening before Wednesday — has been in the works for eight months, Burns said. “We did a focus group study,” he said. “We met with different residents here in the city and found out they were looking for a place to come, have good food, watch TV, maybe get a beer and not have to go 8 to 12 miles to Santa Maria.”

The dining room of Anthony’s — which is poised to become Guadalupe’s largest restaurant — takes up approximately 2,600 square feet and is filled with booths, tables and chairs. Burns said the restaurant has space to feed more than 150 people.

The restaurant will cater to sports fans, with 18 flat screens that will show Monday Night Football, basketball games and even pay-per-view Ultimate Fighting Championship and boxing bouts. “It’s going to a nice, friendly atmosphere,” Burns said. “We’ll have live entertainment on some nights.”

The menu is full of American classics like hamburgers, chicken wings with various spice/sauce options, ribeye steak, pork chops, macaroni and cheese, onion rings and several different salads. In addition, the restaurant will feature some Southern-influenced cuisine, like Cajun-fried pickles and catfish — a nod to Burns’ Southern roots.

“Not too many places in this area have catfish — we got good Delta farm-raised catfish, seasoned to perfection,” Burns said proudly.

Alongside bottled beer, the restaurant will serve four beers on tap: Bud Light, Coors Light, Modelo and 805.

Having previously lived in Louisiana and Tennessee, Burns has been in the restaurant business all his life. “From Subway to managing Wendy’s [and] Denny’s,” Burns said. “I’ve been a consultant for franchisees — I became a consultant for Wendy’s International. I’ve been in the business since I was 21 years old.”

He previously ran three restaurants in Memphis, but Anthony’s is Burns' first entrepreneurial venture in California. The 57-year-old restaurateur hopes to open three more Anthony’s locations in the Central Coast area within five years. “We got a vision and we know what direction we want to go in,” he said.

In addition, the restaurant’s basement will also be put to use as a game room. Slated to be filled with stations for different gaming consoles in the near future, the game room will host tournaments and be available to rent for events and parties.

Burns said he was grateful for how welcoming the city of Guadalupe has been. “The city, [Police Chief Michael Cash], the City Council, the residents — they’ve embraced us,” Burns said. “We haven’t even opened our doors yet, but we feel the love and support already. And that’s why we’re so excited to be a part of the Guadalupe family here.

“We have 14 employees and two managers and 95 percent of them are from here in the city,” he said. “We’re investing in the city and we want to be part of the turn-around trend that’s happening in Guadalupe.”

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Razi Syed covers Santa Maria City Government for Lee Central Coast Newspapers.  Follow him on Twitter @razisyed

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