Reader’s Rant: ‘Don’t Believe the San Diego Reader Story About Nati’s’

by on February 1, 2018 · 43 comments

in Ocean Beach

Editordude: Well, the mystery surrounding OB’s Nati’s Mexican Restaurant deepens. No other story in the OB Rag caused such consternation of late as our article about a pie shop replacing Nati’s, which was based on Delinda Lombardo’s recent post in the San Diego Reader. Now comes the following unsolicited piece that questions the accuracy of Lombardo’s post and ours and basically says, ‘don’t believe the Reader story.’

Inaccuracies Cause Drama for Beloved Ocean Beach Eatery Nati’s

by AMP Douthit

According to Nati’s Mexican Restaurant owner and manager Marilyn Thomas, “do not believe the Reader story.”

I spoke directly with her on Jan. 30th and she reassured me that the new owners who recently purchased the popular Bacon Street restaurant have said nothing to any Nati’s employee about changing it into a Pop Pie Shop.

However, an inaccurate and fake news story written by Ocean Beach’s own Delinda Lombardo for the San Diego Reader has caused anguish, hardship and drama for the Nati’s staff and management. The OB Rag ran with it, causing even more agitation and commotion.

The news story was actually a hatchet job concocted by Lombardo, who is known in the beach community, to punish Nati’s and their real estate sales broker, who were maintaining a confidentiality clause, by not spilling the details of the pending sale.

From what I was told, Mr. Franco, the broker, was subject to a slew of pestering from the SD Reader writer who “demanded” to be given the details. She persistently called and texted the poor man and was also turned down flat by Nati’s when asked.

This did not set well with Lombardo, who decided to make up that the beloved Sinaloa-styled Nati’s cuisine was soon to become a trendy pie shop. Nati’s was so upset by the behavior of the Reader writer’s actions, that they gave the real story to the Peninsula Beacon newspaper instead.

The misrepresentations have caused irreparable harm and electrified a sad sentiment of concern among the multi-generational fans that have flocked to Ocean Beach to love and enjoy the delicious fare Nati’s has always provided. Longtime owners and friends Marilyn and Dennis left a note on the Bacon Street window next to the posted change in liquor license ownership notice. In it, they speak of their mixed emotions at passing the ownership torch but thank everyone for the years of loyalty, support and friendship. These two would not sell off Nati’s to it’s demise, knowing how unilaterally loved and cherished it is in the community.

Marilyn said there is an expected mid-March date that they will close for remodeling and improvements. Employees will be laid off at that time. After that, new owners take over and as far as she and anyone else knows, it will be a refurbished Nati’s with a brand new bar and various other improvements. Until then, go down to 1852 Bacon Street and enjoy the great food, delicious margaritas and fine hospitality and ambiance that has made Nati’s the beloved culinary destination for so many for so long.

Confused and Amused February 1, 2018 at 1:46 pm

This drama is amazing and Nati’s is still terrible and overpriced.

OBKid February 1, 2018 at 2:24 pm

So…it will be turned into a pot pie shop by mid-april.

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie February 1, 2018 at 3:05 pm

???? The rumor is a Pop Pie Co shop would open, not a “pot pie shop” as in Chicken Pot Pie.

Dude February 1, 2018 at 4:57 pm

Uh…chicken pot pie is literally the first thing on the pop pie co’s menu:

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie February 1, 2018 at 7:18 pm

Okay, okay, but I wanted to make a clarification as some comments were confusing Chicken Pot Pie shop with the Pop Pie Co.

Elliott February 1, 2018 at 3:24 pm

Ground beef tacos!!!

rick callejon February 1, 2018 at 3:53 pm

Nati’s owners show love for the OB community. Antique Center owners’ actions express disdain.

Kristi February 1, 2018 at 4:41 pm

“This did not set well with Lombardo, who decided to make up that the beloved Sinaloa-styled Nati’s cuisine was soon to become a trendy pie shop. Nati’s was so upset by the behavior of the Reader writer’s actions, that they gave the real story to the Peninsula Beacon newspaper instead.”

I’m confused. The Peninsula Beacon article was published on 12/14/17 and Delinda Lombardo’s article was published on 1/25/18. Nati’s owners couldn’t have gone to the Beacon because they were upset with Delinda’s Pop Pie Co. story because it hadn’t been written yet.

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie February 1, 2018 at 7:20 pm

Yeah, I realized that too; I made a call and email to Pop Pie Co for clarification; am waiting for a response.

Christo February 1, 2018 at 7:54 pm

Follow the $$$.

No way a restaurant like Nati’s can support the new property taxes the buyer is going to be paying.

One maxed out mixed use project coming up!

Geoff Page February 5, 2018 at 1:34 pm

The property taxes are only a small part of the increased costs. What really matters is the cost of the new purchase, which is far beyond what it cost years ago. The new mortgage will be the pressure, not the taxes.

Nanci Kelly February 1, 2018 at 9:09 pm

Friends who go there every Thursday for dinner told me this evening that they were informed by the staff there that the new owners have told them that they will be opening the pie shop and they will all be laid off in March. If I had seen this article earlier I would have listened more closely to my friend’s account and gotten the specific dates etc. Now I can’t reach her, but it seems that the true story is now being shared by Nati’s staff.

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie February 2, 2018 at 11:45 am

Nanci – call your friends. I just talked to Trevor at Nati’s and after identifying myself with the media, he said as staff they have no information on what the owners are doing.

kh February 1, 2018 at 10:09 pm

Did you write this Frank? If not, who? It’s a bold move to accuse another journalist of making shit up.

First off, Delinda did not reveal her source. So whether or not any Natis employees know what’s going on is irrelevant. Why would Natis tell employees anything even if they knew?

Clearly Natis is upset, whether by her scoop, or perhaps being lied to by a buyer.

Delinda’s scoop could very well change the course of the sale to someone other than a pie shop. So even a different fate for Natis wouldn’t disprove her story.

Sounds like she did a lot of sleuthing on the investors and ABC permits, while the Rag just regurgitated Natis message without any questioning. That was made patently clear when the last paragraph reads like an advertisement.

So is this article shameful, or is there a better explanation? I have a shiny fake news award ready to hand out.

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie February 2, 2018 at 12:25 am

KH – this is – read it again if you must – a “Reader’s Rant”, an opinion piece, unsolicited as noted in the intro, but another contribution to an ongoing issue of the community. This is part of a community discussion, and the Rag provides a platform for the discussion. We don’t always publish articles we agree with but do so if it appears the conversation is still going on, as it is here. So you are way off base with your totally unsympathetic and out-of-character accusation “the Rag just regurgitated Natis message without any questioning” – and before you start handing out fake news awards, ensure you are standing on solid ground and not in the sand.

In the end, it does not appear that you even read the first 2 articles in this train of articles we posted about this. Try this: and then go to this

kh February 2, 2018 at 8:34 am

Thanks for the clarification.

Denine Hunt February 1, 2018 at 10:43 pm

Yeesh… And here is a bit of professional journalistic behavior:

“Delinda Lombardo: The OB Rag….is a joke. Frank rally’s against corporate anything, yet takes advertising money from Newport Optometry, aka Ben Moshe, who owns multiple buildings around OB, kicks out tenants, then raises the rents essentially pushing out all the mom and pop places he claims to be fighting for. LOL.”

And I will resist the strong urge to be the grammar police.

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie February 2, 2018 at 12:31 am

Denine – thanks – imagine you found that quote in one of the OB facebook pages? It’s true, Lombardo has called the OB Rag “fake news”, most recently when the Rag broke the story of a Target Express moving into the antique mall months ago.

kh February 2, 2018 at 8:45 am

Did she publish an article talking smack about the Rag? No. That was a fb post from her personal account. big difference.

I have written some stuff for the Rag too, but I think a line was crossed here broadcasting an attack other community journalists, and reflects poorly on the Rag in my opinion.

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie February 2, 2018 at 11:29 am

Please cancel your subscription. Ha ha ha.

bodysurferbob February 2, 2018 at 11:57 am

you’re kind of ignoring that this article also criticized the obrag; gee why would someone print something that was critical of them? well, these guys did. maybe they don’t give a shit or maybe they’re attempting to keep this debate going. if the pop pie does come in, this author will be seen as blowing smoke.

marc johnson February 2, 2018 at 4:11 am

Will soon find out who takes over Tacos are ground beef or shredded beef.

Tyler February 2, 2018 at 5:09 am

Reads like a childish hit job

FJL February 2, 2018 at 6:53 am

AMP Douthit…
As Many People Doubt it

Debbie February 2, 2018 at 7:00 am

I suppose the current owners could have put contingencies in the sale agreement to keep the same cuisine, employees and their involvement for a period of time and stay on as managers during the transition but I suspect they wanted out,d the sale to go through and move on.

Time will tell what happens to this location

Ron Milford February 5, 2018 at 1:40 pm

Good points. It is extremely unlikely that keeping/remodeling/employing former employees as a new updated version of Nati’s was a condition of the sale. In fact, it is nearly impossible that is the case given the cost of the property is based on its redevelopment value not its current use. The price reflects the value of the property for it’s future redevelopment, period.

No buyer is going to pay what they are paying for the property to keep a tired outdated Mexican restaurant that wouldn’t even come close to paying the property taxes on the new assessed value of the property let alone ever make anything resembling a profit.

Jeffeck February 2, 2018 at 8:19 am

Natis has a large parking lot. It seems to me that a smart owner would leave the (dubiously derived) #1 voted restaurant and use some of the space the parking lot occupies and build a Pie shop. There would still be room for some parking spaces. The Pie Shop in North Park is not that big.

Ron Milford February 5, 2018 at 1:41 pm

They will mow the whole thing down eventually. It also includes the coffee/art shop west of the parking lot. It’s going to be mixed residential/commercial and probably 30 feet tall w/underground parking.

Mercy Baron OB Mercy February 2, 2018 at 10:18 am

You are all just beating a dead horse as I’ve stated several times in the Ocean Beach threads.

IT IS A DONE DEAL…..just like the Target Express coming in. Many Obceans refuse to acknowledge the changes in OB. Some of them I don’t like either, but it’s GOING TO HAPPEN.

Believe me, I know the truth of what’s going on but I can’t say much more at this time.

This reader’s rant is slanderous IMO. I will defend Delinda as I know her to be a very honest stringer for the Reader and really does her research. If she printed a bunch of lies, she wouldn’t last long there.

OB Joe OB Joe February 2, 2018 at 11:59 am

I think you mean libelous – slander is oral.

Chris February 2, 2018 at 12:56 pm

I vaguely remember overhearing some people last weekend while sitting at the bar at OB Surf Lodge expressing ANGER at the owners of Nati’s for selling. I didn’t want to butt in the conversation but I found their anger rather disingenuous considering that if the owners just don’t want to do it anymore that’s their prerogative, regardless if new owners want to keep it Nati’s or put something completely different in there. I know coincidently the building itself is also being sold so who knows what will ultimately happen?

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie February 2, 2018 at 1:26 pm

In my first of 3 posts about this, I praised Delinda, and called her Reader article, “a piece of excellent investigative work”.

Ron Milford February 4, 2018 at 11:57 am

So Frank after publishing this garbage do you still feel the same way about Ms. Lombardo?

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie February 5, 2018 at 11:34 am

Delinda has a good local piece about cracks in an iconic OB hotel:

Ron Milford February 5, 2018 at 1:25 pm

The anonymous author clearly makes absurd and non-factual statements. Without the identity of the author, readers find it impossible to do anything other than to speculate at the authors possible relationship to any of the following: Nati’s, the broker, the future leaseholder and most importantly, the developer who purchased the property.

Reading this malicious and defamatory piece one cannot help to draw the conclusion that the author is connected one way or the other to one or all of the above mentioned entities. From the armchair lawyer talk to what amounts to an amusing (and far stretch of the imagination) advertisement with gems like “…beloved Sinaloa-styled Nati’s cuisine” . I would also add that the author also exhibits a bit of Trumpishness with his outrageous, unfounded and unsupported claim the Ms. Lombardo’s article is “fake news”.

Of course since we don’t know who wrote this crap, again we have no idea what his connection is to the transaction but it is pretty easy to put two and two together, this person is not an impartial observer and they have deeper and most likely nefarious reasons to try to undermine Ms. Lombardo’s excellent piece.

marc johnson February 2, 2018 at 8:07 pm

It is definitely a prime piece of property.

Susan February 2, 2018 at 11:05 pm

If copying and pasting comments taken ( without permission) from social media message boards, slapping some quotations around them and calling it a scoop is fine journalism, then yes, Delinda is the finest at her craft.

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie February 3, 2018 at 11:02 am

ATTN: a troll who goes by the name “George Zimmerman” just impersonated me this morning via one of my emails and left an ugly comment about Nati’s food. This troll has gone after some of our other writers, the Widder Curry and Geoff Page. (Do you recall who the real George Zimmerman is? )

Peter from South O February 3, 2018 at 11:06 am

When I saw that this morning I passed coffee through my nose involuntarily.

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie February 3, 2018 at 11:10 am

Yeah, sorry, I did delete it. And BTW, would you interested in seeing other nasty, shithole comments left by other trolls over the past year? I’ve often played with the idea of posting them in an article to show our readers the trash that we at times have to weigh through.

Peter from South O February 4, 2018 at 12:24 pm

Better dealt with silently, denying the bad guys the attention that they crave. Most offended by this latest non-vertebrate, usurping the name of a Nobel Prize winner ;-)

nostalgic February 4, 2018 at 2:42 pm

And Peter from South O gets his own Nobel for getting the message: For the times they are a-changin’.

rick callejon February 5, 2018 at 10:28 am

George Dylan?

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