Social Syndicate to Open Mexican Restaurant, La Doña, at Former Nati’s

by on July 4, 2019 · 8 comments

in Ocean Beach

The state of the renovations in late May 2019. Photos by Frank Gormlie.

The mystery has been solved about which restaurant will be going in to the former Nati’s in Ocean Beach.

The restaurant group, Social Syndicate, has just announced they are opening a Mexican restaurant – called La Doña – in the prime corner lot at Bacon and Niagara. Social Syndicate runs OB Surf Lodge and Wonderland Ocean Pub, and are partners with the brothers who opened Blue Water Seafood in their OB enterprise.

The Pop Pie Co. had been slated for the location until they pulled out – as the OB Rag was the first to publish – in late May. The building and its patio – all currently in a state of remodel – “is still owned by Nati’s Inc. but is managed by Foley Development, which intends to build a large apartment complex behind the restaurant,” as was just reported by Candice Woo at Eater.

The space at the site is 2,660-square-feet and includes the well-known 1,468-square-foot patio. As Eater reported:

Scheduled to open in this fall, the cantina-style restaurant is being designed by Tecture (Bivouac Ciderworks, Nolita Hall) and will serve a menu of seafood-based tacos made with fresh homemade tortillas and cocktails featuring mezcal and tequila.

“La Doña represents our expansion into Mexican cuisine and brings an outstanding menu to the Ocean Beach food and beverage scene”, shared Social Syndicate CEO Brendan Huffman, “The neighborhood has always been welcoming, and we are proud to introduce our newest restaurant concept to this community.”

The ownership team includes Social Syndicate’s board of directors and Ocean Beach operators Hoffman Leung and Mina Desiderio as well Matt and Judd Braun, the local brothers behind Blue Water Seafood who partnered with the hospitality group for their Ocean Beach location.

Interior and patio in late May 2019.

This is the latest in the ongoing saga at the former Nati’s – a favorite Mexican oldie among some – an old-style Mexican that lasted over six decades and was voted “Best Restaurant” numerous years. At one time, Nati’s was the only decent, sit-down Mexican place on the Point. Many of its employees worked there for life-times. And many fans loved the patio and the free parking.

It did have its detractors who couldn’t understand the near-mythical nostalgia for the place. With the advent of better than “decent” Mexican eateries across town, Nati’s potential fan base declined.

We should also note that the Eater report included this tidbit:

“… Foley Development, which intends to build a large apartment complex behind the restaurant.”

It’s been rumored for a long time – ever since the news of Nati’s closing – that this would be the future for the large parking lot behind the restaurant space.

If this does indeed happen, there better be a lot of affordable units in this “large apartment complex.”


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Margarita July 4, 2019 at 11:15 am

Oh brother. Vernon Lontz must be turning in his grave to think his beloved eatery is going to become some fancy Mexi place with a big apartment in the parking lot,


OB Mercy July 4, 2019 at 2:19 pm

Other than Blue Water which has great food and other partners besides Social Syndicate (also behind Grand Ole BBQ) I don’t expect the food to be any better than Wonderland and OB Surf Lodge, whose food is mediocre at best.


Sam July 5, 2019 at 12:01 am

Well it certainly can’t be worse than Nati’s. That place quite possibly served the worst “Mexican” food I’ve ever tasted, which is saying something considering I grew up in Connecticut!

Come to think of it the cafeteria at my high school served better tacos than Nati’s.


Geoff Page July 8, 2019 at 10:53 am

I’ll never understand the motivation behind comments like this unless it is just to be an asshole. Nati’s was in business for 60 years. Many of us liked the food and the ambiance. So, you’re some kind of expert on “Mexican” food? If you were, you’d know it is a varied as “American” food. Nati’s served comfortable Mexican style food and it lasted longer than any other restaurant in Point Loma so give it a rest.


Christo K July 5, 2019 at 6:56 am

You know darn well any apartment built a block from the beach is not going to be affordable.


OB Mercy July 5, 2019 at 2:12 pm

Of course not. We just moved out of OB a block from the ocean and our 2 bed/2 bath went from $1850 to 2250!


OB Dude July 5, 2019 at 4:00 pm

I hope the Mexican food tastes better than what the design of the building looks like on How about some flare, style and color and have some WOW?

I know it’s not my dime so I can’t pick the color of the crayons but the new place looks depressing :-(


Val July 5, 2019 at 7:54 pm

Dang, more seafood tacos. Blah


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