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Anthony's brings fine dining downtown.

John Heidt, Anthony’s general manager, goes over a few notes before employees run through a practice dinner Wednesday. - Photo by Jesse Beals
John Heidt, Anthony’s general manager, goes over a few notes before employees run through a practice dinner Wednesday.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

One of the top complaints about the Bremerton downtown waterfront has been a lack of a great restaurant.

Anthony’s HomePort, opening for business today next to the Kitsap Conference Center at Bremerton Harborside, is expected to fill that much-desired role.

It’s been a long time coming.

“Bremerton is a town we’ve looked at for a number of years. There’s great access by the ferry. Our owner was just looking for a site,” said Lane Hoss, a spokesperson for Anthony’s. “The conference center opened with its view and it offered a perfect opportunity for us.”

Hoss said the restaurant wants to be part of the positive change here.

“Looking 10 and 15 years out in the future, this place is going to explode,” Hoss said. “There’s going to be a lot of people in this area looking for a place to eat.”

“It’s exciting to be part of the new downtown,” said general manager John Heidt. “I’m excited because we have great food and great service. We fit into the community well and love giving back to the community.”

The restaurant has assembled a 110-person staff and put them through intensive training in recent weeks. They held mock dinners throughout this week culminating in a grand opening fundraiser for the Olympic College culinary program which quickly sold out.

Sous chef Dusty Nelson is proud to be at Anthony’s and helping give back to the OC program from which he graduated.

“I think it’s great. I’ve loved to say I’ve come from the college and I’m working for such a great company to be able to host an event like that,” Nelson said. “I’ve been with the company almost 11 years in Edmonds. I’ve been waiting for Anthony’s to come anywhere in Kitsap County. It’s a great opportunity for me just to come back here.”

Anthony’s owner Budd Gould has ties to Bremerton leaders U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Belfair) and Mayor Cary Bozeman. Gould worked with the Mercer Island Boys & Girls Club while Bozeman headed the Bellevue Boys & Girls Club. Meanwhile Dicks and Gould are “both ardent Huskies and the congressman was very persuasive” in getting Anthony’s to Bremerton, Hoss said.

“When you have a group of people who feel strongly about how the community will support you, it can be very convincing,” she said.

Anthony’s reputation is built on fresh seafood and Hoss explained that Gould opened his own seafood company to ensure the best and freshest quality seafood is served at the restaurant with “a whole series of relationships built” with fishermen and dozens of quality checks along the way before the food makes it to anyone’s plate.

Local Northwest food is the name of the game for the restaurant with halibut served with chive oil and spring asparagus at present before the summer season brings fresh strawberries from the Yakima Valley complemented with Northwest wines and microbrews.

Anthony’s was one of the first restaurants to get in on the microbrew craze when it first started in the Northwest. Or at least its predecessor was.

Revolutionary War buff Gould first opened Mad Anthony’s in Bellevue more than 30 years ago, a Colonial era-theme pub, before an opportunity on the Kirkland waterfront presented itself. From there, Gould realized his heart was in the waterfront seafood restaurant business and the Anthony’s (he realized the Revolutionary War theme would not fit seaside dining) family grew from there.

Because it is not a stand alone structure like most Anthony’s locations, the Bremerton restaurant is in a crescent-moon shape to maximize the views of Sinclair Inlet and the passing ferries. Because it was built new as opposed to some locations which were purchased from prior restaurants such as Gig Harbor, Anthony’s was able to put in the exposed kitchen it prefers.

“We love people to see the chefs and hear the sounds of the kitchen,” Hoss said. “It creates a lot of energy.”

The energy and atmosphere, Hoss said, is “Northwest dinner room,” not casual but also not too fancy and expensive, but affordable and nice.

Anthony’s opens for dinner at 4 p.m. and will open for lunch seven days a week beginning April 15.

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