Antonio’s brings Fresno, Clovis favorites to Selma

Antonio’s Mexican Restaurant opens third Fresno County location, brings dining option to downtown Selma

Randy Gomez and Carolyn Holladay, owners of Antonio's Mexican Restaurant, pose in front of their new Selma location June 12, 2024. The restaurant expanded into downtown Selma in April and now operates three locations in Selma, Fresno and Clovis. (Serena Bettis)
Serena Bettis
Published June 14, 2024  • 
10:30 am

SELMA – Fans of locally-owned Mexican restaurant Antonio’s no longer have to travel as far north as Fresno or Clovis to get their fix of chile verde, sizzling fajitas or any of their other favorite dishes. 

Antonio’s owners Randy Gomez and Carolyn Holladay opened up their third location at the end of March and have since received a lot of positive feedback, they said. While still operating their other locations — one along the north end of Blackstone Avenue in Fresno and one along Herndon Avenue in Clovis — they have been expanding their reach in Fresno County, with dreams of going even farther south.

“A lot of our customers who go to Clovis would always tell us, ‘Come to Selma, come to Selma,’ and ‘Go to Reedley,’ but this building came up, so we came here,” Gomez said. 

Located in the former spot of Max’s Brunch House Cafe at 1957 High St., Antonio’s is open from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day. They offer lunch specials from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and have happy hour deals throughout the week as well. 

Just two months into the opening of their Selma location, Gomez said they already have regulars, including ones from out of town, who come back because they appreciate the food and the experience they get while dining at Antonio’s. Some regulars who have since moved away even enjoy the food so much they bring it with them across the country, to North Carolina.

“They drive out here, so they will come and buy trays because they can’t find any good Mexican food restaurants out there, and … they vacuum seal them here, freeze them and then they drive home with them so that they have Mexican food on nights that they want it there at home,” Holladay said. 

Gomez and Holladay said they hope to one day be able to open a fourth location in Reedley and possibly expand into Visalia. If they get brave enough — and they find a location to their liking — they may even venture out to Texas, Gomez said. 

“A lot of people from California move to Texas, a lot of our customers move to Texas and they tell us, ‘Go to Texas, go to Texas,’” Gomez said. “A lot of our customers that lived in Clovis, they leave California (and) a lot of them went to Texas, and they come back … they come in and they’re like, ‘You guys need to go there.’ (There’s) so many people from California in Texas (and) this is what they want.”

For Antonio’s to head back into the Reedley area, it would almost be like coming home. Gomez’s parents opened the restaurant’s first location in Parlier — with a lot of patronage from Reedley residents — back in 1981. They moved from Parlier to Clovis in 1995 and brought their food to Fresno in 2002. 

Holladay said that getting to a point where they have three locations has taken a lot of time and a lot of work. Gomez said that it’s “seven days a week, all day long.” 

“(It’s) just work, and making sure that our food is cooked daily and consistent, and just our service with our staff in the front of the house, back of the house; the staff helps us grow,” Gomez said.

The atmosphere inside Antonio’s Selma location is calm and welcoming, and Holladay said they want the restaurant to feel open to everyone, whether that’s families or individuals, young or old.  

“We want to have everybody love their experience here, from their customer service to the food,” Holladay said. 

Offered at Antonio’s is authentic Mexican cuisine inspired by Don Antonio, the Gomez family’s grandfather; the restaurant’s website describes the business as “merging old-world flavors with new taste sensations.”

Holladay said that their best sellers are their chile verde and their fajitas, partly because people love watching them being served sizzling hot on cast-iron skillets. It’s important to Gomez that everything is made daily with fresh ingredients, which is something customers can tell when they taste their food, he said. 

While it’s a lot of work, it’s something that both Gomez and Holladay enjoy having the chance to do. Growing up around the restaurant, Gomez’s parents taught him “everything from the back all the way to the front of the house.” 

“I just like working with people, customers, different people every day and I really like cooking for them, serving them and just working with them,” Gomez said. 

For Holladay, she said she’s a people person, and enjoys “seeing smiles and bringing everybody together as families. It’s very rewarding.”

Serena Bettis
General Assignment Reporter