Long-time Ocean Beach Mexican restaurant, Nati’s, sold
Published - 12/14/17 - 11:40 AM | 40489 views | 27 27 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Founded in 1960, Nati’s Mexican Restaurant has been a staple in the Ocean Beach community serving Mexican food and creating what’s known as 'The Nati’s Family.'
Founded in 1960, Nati’s Mexican Restaurant has been a staple in the Ocean Beach community serving Mexican food and creating what’s known as 'The Nati’s Family.'
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Founded in 1960, Nati’s Mexican Restaurant has been a staple in the Ocean Beach community serving Mexican food and creating what’s known as “The Nati’s Family.”

After 57 years of operation, friends and owners Dennis Kerr and Marilyn Thomas have decided to pass the torch and sell the restaurant to an un-named buyer.

Kerr and Thomas own the corporation that operates Nati’s, a landmark at the corner of Bacon Street and Niagara Avenue in Ocean Beach. Kerr and Thomas began working at Nati’s as teenagers. Kerr, now 72, has spent 55 years affiliated with Nati’s either as an employee, manager or owner. Thomas, who manages the daily operation, has been with the business nearly as long. This week, they announced the sale of the corporation.

“The restaurant business is best suited for young, innovative and energetic people. Unfortunately, Marilyn and I no longer fall into that category,” said Kerr. “A new owner will bring new ideas and energy to the business.

“It is our understanding that the business will close for about a month for some much-needed renovation and updating. Thereafter, the refreshed Nati’s will re-open with the original staff and serve the consistent, Sinaloan-style Mexican food that has made it a local’s favorite for the past nearly 60 years,” Kerr said.

“Marilyn and I are very proud of the staff that has made Nati’s the icon it has become. Our present employees are hardworking, loyal and dedicated to quality food and service,” said Kerr.

“We believe that those who want to, will be able to continue with the business. We are particularly thankful for those we have worked with over the years, but who are no longer with us: founders Vern and Charlene Lontz; head chef Luis Bedoya and, of course, Luisa Allen. Luisa and Bedoya were with Vern Lontz when he opened Nati’s in 1960.”

“It is the multiple generations of loyal customers that have made Nati’s what is quite possibly the longest continuous operating restaurant in Ocean Beach, and possibly San Diego,” Thomas said. “Each year our customers vote us best restaurant in OB and support us with their continued and loyal patronage. We are grateful for their patronage and loyalty. Nati’s customers are the best!”

The purchase of Nati’s Inc., includes the business known as Nati’s Mexican Food and the real estate, according to the brokerage firm The Franco Realty Group, headed by Tony Franco.

Franco confirmed the new owner’s plan to temporarily close Nati’s to complete some remodeling and immediately re-open as the same Nati’s Mexican Food. The Franco Realty Group – with Tony Franco, and including Cody Wippel, Joe Medina and Joseph Rote – represented the buyer and seller.

Nati’s has always supported the community with donations and contributions. The restaurant has been recognized as the longest, continuous supporter of teams of the Point Loma Little League.

“This truly has been a once in a lifetime opportunity and an honor to represent such awesome people. The personalities involved in this transaction were by far the most easy going, which is suiting for doing this type of OB deal,” said Franco.  

Nati’s has always supported the community with donations and contributions. The restaurant has been recognized as the longest, continuous supporter of teams of the Point Loma Little League.

Comments
(27)
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Mike C
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March 30, 2018
The new owners purchased Nati's, the surrounding businesses (off the patio), the parking lot, and the building behind the parking lot. Nobody purchased all of that land with the intent of ever keeping Nati's open. I hope that I am wrong, but my guess is that our beloved Nati's will be leveled, just to be replaced with a big giant apartment building; an absolute shame.

We love you Nati's! Thanks for all the years, and all the wonderful memories made there!
Renee O
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March 10, 2018
So sad to hear that Nati's is closing. Love going for the great service and enjoying the burrito especial with a yummy margarita!
Bob F
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January 13, 2018
Dorthy Bales founded Consuelos restaurant where Nati’s now stands. Mr. Lontz took over the lease renewal, the recipes, and much of the staff and also changed the name to Nati’s in honor of the owner of the building which was part of the deal and subsequently renamed the restaurant to her name.

Mrs. Bales then remodeled an old home to a restaurant at the entrance to Ocean Beach and it was her plan to run Nati’s of business. That did not happen and Dorothy then closed the remaining Consuelos restaurants in San Diego including the one in Hillcrest and she then moved up to Monterey where whe converted another old hose into a restaurant which was also names Consuelos. I was 10 years old when all this happened in Ocean Beach and my mom and dad gleaned the information from Dothey herself as well as staff.

We still have gone to Nati’s over the years when the Lonzes owned Naties. We hope that the new owners will keep this historical restaurant open and will continue its heritage in the same way that the previous owners did.

Maddialvarez
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January 11, 2018
Nati’s is the cornerstone of point loma/ ocean beach. It’s not a restaurant it is a historic landmark. My family and I thank Natis for 4 generations of family happiness. Some of my fondest memories are at Natis with beautiful Luisa as our server and friend. We thank you Marilyn for your hard work and dedication all of these years. Natis has been a cornerstone of Southern California and it will never be forgotten! Thank you
Allen Kemp
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December 18, 2017
Coming out of the Navy, after reserve call ups for the Korean War, a long time friend, Vince Ninetman, was encouraged to move from Tehachapi, CA, east of Bakersfield, CA to San Diego to start his post war contracting career after serving in both Korea and WWII Sea Bees. One of his first jobs in San Diego was an addition to Nati's. One of his last jobs was as the primary contractor on the original convention center on Harbor Drive. Our family is one of those "loyal customers" over all these years, and I remember very well, the little Point Loma High School kid, Marilyn Thomas, when she started as a hostess. :-) I just "pray" that the new owners don't try to "fix" what isn't broken!
RACHEL FREITAS
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December 18, 2017
SO MANY WONDERFUL MEMORIES HERE WITH ANTIE RITA AND OUR ANNIE!MY LAST MEAL OUT LAST YEAR WAS OVER AT NATI'S WITH ANTIE RITA.

THERE WAS NOT ANY MENTION WHEN THEY ARE PLANNING TO CLOSE FOR RENOVATIONS. I THINK THERE SHOULD BE A SOFT CLOSING PARTY AND INVITES TO ALL OF THE REGULARS OF OB AND PL AND ETC...!!!

MUCH LUCK AND WISHES OF SUCCESS TO THE NEW OWNERS.
AmyY14
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December 16, 2017
I've been going here since the high school and have lived here since 01 for college. My mom adores Natis as does my husband. It truly is as close to my grandma's Mexican food as I can get in a restaurant. I grade a Mexican Food restaurant on t heir Spanish rice, and Natis has the best. My grandma cooked New Mexico style, with all the dry ingredients and ground beef tacos which is so rare to find in SD. I really, really hope they keep the same food and staff... owners may get tired and move on, but if there's one thing I learned, you don't muck with the flavor.
Dan Pequeno
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December 16, 2017
I have been going here since the early 60s, and still go here to Nati's every so often for lunch. I come to Nati's because of the Positive atmosphere and staff. Having a nice parking lot in the back is a big plus for me! Lots of nice Positive memories of Nati's, OB, The OB Pier, etc etc. I have already made plans with one of my old friends to come back there again on Monday for lunch. Very glad that this Restaurant will stay put with the same staff etc.
David Fisher
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December 16, 2017
My parents discovered Nati's while I was stationed in Japan in the Air Force. Upon returning home in 1962 they brought me over here for some good Mexican food and I've been enjoying their food ever since. We had originally lived up on Osprey St. upon moving here in 1944 so coming over to O.B. for good food wasn't going to far afield for us. Mom and dad continued to come here thru the years and I continue the tradition to this day.
Mary Winklea
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December 15, 2017
When Natis first opened I was in elementary school and lunch on Sundays after church was an extra special treat. It was one of my Dad's favorite restaurants.After he retired he looked forward to lunch and a Dos Equis at Natis. This Saturday the family will be gathering at Natis to raise a Dos Equis toast in honor of what would have been our Dad's 100th birthday. Thank you Natis for so many wonderful memories.
Julie Speidel
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December 15, 2017
Just as long as they rehang the picture of Sean Cassidy :) Thanks for all the years of great food and wonderful service
Eric Awes
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December 15, 2017
We use to go there before it was called Nati's...the name was "Consuelo's" and changed to Nati's. I also remember when there was a driveway between the restaurant and office's (remember??). It was so much fun to take my three boys to Nati's when on summer vacation from Seattle in the 1990's. Now all three return each time they come to San Diego..so continues the generations enjoying Nati's.
Torb
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December 15, 2017
Consuelo's was on Sunset Cliffs Blvd
Scott Hopkins
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December 16, 2017
Eric Awes is correct. Before its name was changed to Nati's, the restaurant occupying the corner of Bacon and Niagara Streets was Consuelo's. There is an interesting story about how the name change took place, a story too long for this space.
Barbara Smith
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December 17, 2017
Hello,

Nati's was never Consuelo's. They were 2 great Mexican restaurants that operated concurrently. We chose them based on their gratis Quesadilla's. Consuelo's on a flat tin platter, Nati's on a smaller wooden platform.

Consuelo's was located where Kaiserhof is now.

Important piece of OB history not to be confused.

Barbara
George E.
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December 18, 2017
I grew up in Point Loma, but my family and I went to Nati's every week starting in the very early 60s. My remembrance was that Nati's has always been Nati's (don't remember Consuelo's as its first name iteration), but when the husband and wife split up, she started Consuelo's down Sunset Cliffs Blvd as competition. The food was also excellent there as well (our family went to both restaurants but Nati's was always a smidge better), but it eventually closed and the German restaurant replaced it. The food remains good. Whenever I am in town, Nati's is a must visit. The greasy crisp quesadilla on the wooden platform, the cheese enchiladas, and the rice and beans remain as heaven for me. I hope the new owners don't screw it up. I have been basically ordering the same dinner and lunch there for over 40 years (#2 special plate).
Scott Hopkins
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December 15, 2017
I was a fifth-grader at Silver Gate School when Nati's opened and our family went to Nati's in its first days. In the early 1960's four families in our neighborhood on Wildwood Road would pile into station wagons on Friday nights and head for Nati's. I believe one outstanding characteristic of Nati's, besides the food, is the friendliness and longevity of its wait staff. Also, Marilyn has a knack for hiring great high schoolers as hosts and hostesses. I can't imagine how many area youth had their first job there. Let's hope the new owners understand what a unique and special place they have purchased and continue with the menu and pride of preparation we've come to love...including the best chile relleno I've found anywhere, including Mexico.
Pam Mehner Hiller
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December 15, 2017
Small world. I was a block away on Santa Cruz, but only in kindergarten!

George Stock
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December 15, 2017
Nati's was the go-to spot in OB when I was in high school. Best wishes to Dennis, who I remember well, and Marilyn.
Pam (Mehner) Hiller
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December 15, 2017
And THANK YOU Marilyn and Dennis for your years of service to the community, continuing the business that the Lontz/s started so many years ago. And THANK YOU for choosing new owners who want to continue running Nati's as the treasured family restaurant that it has always been!

Pam (Mehner) Hiller
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December 15, 2017
I grew up in Ocean Beach going to Nati's in the early 60's and continue to enjoy Nati's hospitality to this very day. My parents and brothers, all of whom are gone now, were also known and loyal customers who knew Luisa. Now my husband and I hold the family torch for Nati's and wish the new owners the best of luck and welcome them to the long-standing Nati's community of Ocean Beach! SOOO relieved to hear that the new owners plan to continue the business and to keep the wonderful current staff, Lucilena, Francisco, et al, and that Nati's will reopen and be better than ever! See you soon!
Joanruth Kingsbury
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December 15, 2017
We were there the day Nati's opened and, even though I have long moved away, we always go to OB to eat lunch at Nati's each visit. When my widowed grandfather would come visit in the early 60's, he wanted to eat there, though I suspect that Luisa was the primary draw! Hope the crispy quesadillas stay the same!
Seawave121@aol.com
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December 15, 2017
First Thank You Owners for all your years of service
Nancy Witt
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December 15, 2017
I came to Ocean Beach in '71 from South Bend, IN, and was told by a friend in So.Bend, that we should go to Nati's, and sure enough we did. It's become a local Mexican eating place for a long time.

Stephen Maugeri
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December 14, 2017
Thanks for the many years of service you provided to all of us!

My family as well as my wife's family (Demangos family / owners of Pats liquor in OB) Enjoyed your hospitality for over 40 years!

I'd like to wish the new owners much success in the new beginning of Natis!
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