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Local eatery Final Score won’t say goodbye yet

Owner’s son plans to re-open popular restaurant

Posted: April 10, 2009 1:33 a.m.
Updated: April 10, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Though it is closed for now, Final Score Food and Beverage Company is not saying good-bye forever, said the owner's son, Joe Comella, on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old local shop popularly known for its signature "boat"-style sandwiches, atmosphere, community involvement and more closed its Newhall doors on March 29 but Comella expects it to return to a new location in a few months.

After suffering declined sales over the months, the owners could no longer keep its lease and operate in a healthy manner, said Comella, of Beverly Hills.

"We were trying as hard as we could to stay in the facility," he said. "We decided, let's stop the bleeding and figure out what we're going to do and what's best for the company."

"We want to thank all the customers that have given us the business," he added. "My dad was heartbroken, but we couldn't continue to pay the rent and be healthy. I'd rather him be a little heartbroken than broke."

Bonnie Shierts was surprised when she tried to visit the store last weekend and found it vacant.

"I'll drive all the way over from Saugus just to get a sandwich and bring it back home," she said. "I think a lot of people were equally as shocked because he's been a staple in this valley for so long."

Shierts visited the store frequently, often with the Santa Clarita Contemporary Car Club.

Final Score hosted a classic-car event the first Saturday of each month.

"We want neat places to go and have good food and cruise and do what we used to do 20 to 30 years ago," Shierts said. "Joe's venue was one of the better places to go and do that."

Both Shierts and long-time customer Tim Peters hope the restaurant can re-open soon.

"Since 1975, I can't tell you how many times we've used Final Score. They were unique and they were just good," said Peters, who tried to have lunch at the store Tuesday. "There are certain things in a community that are established and you kind of expect will always be there and Final Score was one of those."

Comella said when the economy slowed, catering sales took a hit of more than 20 percent.

"I said (to my father), we can close this store and get away from this lease and open up in the middle of Valencia where traffic and business is healthier," Comella said.

Comella said he will buy the restaurant's concept from his father and has an investor group interested in opening a smaller version.
"We're definitely going to open. (The close) is just temporary and we needed to scale down. Now, what we're doing is looking at a couple locations to relocate the store," said Comella. "We're going to go back to the old Final Score style, but smaller."

Final Score was born in a 600-square-foot retail space in Newhall in 1979 and relocated to the 2,500-square-foot space in August, 2005.

Going back to the "older style" means scaling back in size, going back to 12 or 13 menu items and no more pizzas or pastas, Comella said.


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