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Southern-style eatery opens in Austintown

AUSTINTOWN — A Shreveport, La.,-based chain restaurant that offers Southern-style cuisine opened Thursday at the former Antone’s Italian Cafe.

The restaurant at 4837 Mahoning Ave. will be the 94th store for Sam’s Southern Eatery and only location in Ohio, but a company representative said scouting is underway for more in the Youngstown-Warren region.

“We have about 17 clients ready to go if we can find locations,” said Michael Kalel, coordinator and site developer for Sam’s, who added development efforts also are happening in Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton.

The approximately 3,000-square-foot restaurant can accommodate from scratch and freshly made food for about 60 guests under COVID-19 restrictions.

Kalel said founder Sam Gazawaneh started the company in 2008 selling food out of his convenience store in Shreveport. He expanded to a former Taco Bell and then grew into several Southern and Midwestern states.

According to the Mahoning County Auditor’s office, Canfield-based Thomas Brothers Properties LLC bought the property for $188,900 in January from 4837A Mahoning Avenue LLC, which had owned the property since 2012.

The land and building are valued at $292,290 for tax purposes, according to the office’s website.

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