Alternative Strategies Celebrates 15 years of “Spicing Up” Some of San Diego’s Hottest Restaurants and Bars

If you haven’t noticed, there’s a marketing and communications firm in San Diego that’s definitely turning up the heat. Alternative Strategies started as a two-person operation in 2000 and has grown like wildfire to a cast of 21 talented team members who are launching and helping maintain the success of scores of big players in San Diego’s burgeoning dining and drinking arena.

President and owner William Lopez credits the core of his company’s growing success to the passion he seeks in each potential employee.

“I look for a sense of adventure, raw talent and outside-the-box thought patterns in every person I hire,” he says, “because the clients we represent expect something new as well as the ability to rise another level higher than what the competition is putting out there.”

Presently, Alternative Strategies’ client list includes a smorgasbord of more than 50 local and international businesses, over 40 of which are related to the hospitality industry. Their impressive repertoire includes a diverse menu of globally acclaimed mixologists, Michelin-starred and executive chefs, celebrity owners and some of San Diego’s most award-winning venues.

Alternative Strategies’ reach crosses the border: Baja’s up-and-coming Valle de Guadalupe caught Lopez’s attention when he went for a weekend getaway and soon, the al fresco dining restaurants that flank the vineyards in this fertile valley were on the map as gourmet destinations for adventurous local and American foodies.

It’s no surprise as these “campestre-style” venues are run by chefs who are definitely seasoned. Take Chef Steyn, for example, who prepares “comida delicioso” at his El Jardin de Adobe restaurant in the valle. This internationally acclaimed “Best Chef of Baja” is a native South African who demonstrates the essence of farm-to-table, enhanced with a touch of European influence and artful presentations of local delicacies such as grilled yellowtail served with fresh greens, tomatoes and snap peas and a perfectly plated foie gras topped with plump pomegranate segments.

Anyone who follows food trends recognizes the name Javier Plascencia as the culinary icon of Baja’s restaurant scene. Alternative Strategies just helped him launch Bracero Cocina de Raiz in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood. “Bracero” evokes a celebration of the Mexican farm workers who heavily contributed to America’s legacy of agricultural success. Bracero is introducing unprecedented Latin flavors to San Diego, with homemade ceviches, tiraditos and mixologists who are taking craft cocktails to a whole new level.

Other new San Diego restaurants “Alt Strat” has recently helped launch include Del Mar’s Café Cantata, The Fish Shop Encinitas location, “daring to be different” Breakfast Republic and PB’s own Backyard Kitchen + Tap. And bringing crowds back to restaurants and bars after they’ve been renovated is also on their platter, having successfully reopened Shore Club, Tavern at the Beach and PB Alehouse.

Then there’s the historic Bandy Canyon Ranch, on the fringes of Escondido. This gem is redefining the term “getaway.” The nearby restaurant also responsible for its catering is Bellamy’s, which is run by fifth-generation French chef Patrick Ponsaty, one of only two executive chefs in San Diego. Chef Ponsaty is turning out impeccable, French-influenced California modern cuisine, sourced from his 31 years of extensive training in kitchens around the world.

As part of their ongoing effort to stay involved and current (and also because they’re a lot of fun), Alt Strat has also taken part in top foodie events such as Bacon & Barrels, Taste of Point Loma, The San Diego Wine Show and Baja Culinary Festival.

In the precarious and oftentimes cutthroat hospitality industry, Alternative Strategies’ clients have trusted Lopez and his team of talented brand thinkers, digital strategists, designers, publicists, copywriters and developers to bring their businesses front-and-center and keep them at the forefront -for the long term. Alt Strat has found creative ways to go above and beyond, adding “the sizzle” that’s resulting in continuous success for each business. Through customized media exposure, special event hosting and strong web presence, they provide each client with a full-course menu of marketing solutions.

I asked William to share his favorites with 4L readers when it comes to dining, drinking and culinary adventuring, and they are:

01 My favorite bite: The Roadside Ahi Tuna Tostado (Romesco Mex Med Bistro in Bonita)

02 My go-to spot: West Coast Tavern (North Park)

03 Breakfast: Fig Tree Café (Point Loma’s Liberty Station or Pacific Beach)

04 Lunch: Barrio Star (Bankers Hill)

05 Take out of town guests: Table No. 10

06 Sports bar: Barleymash (Gaslamp)

07 Nice night out worth the drive: El Jardin’s (Valle de Guadalupe, Baja)

08 Favorite cocktail: El Choncho (Tavern at the Beach, Pacific Beach)

09 Carry out: Luna Grill (Hillcrest, Carmel Valley, Mission Valley)

10 Dessert: Trilogie (Le Parfait Paris, Downtown)

11 Fish Taco: The Fish Shop (Pacific Beach and Encinitas)

12 Pizza: Grilled Vegetable Flatbread (Union Kitchen + Tap, Encinitas)

13 BBQ : Brazen BBQ (Hillcrest)

14 Burger: Duck Dive Burger (The Duck Dive, Pacific Beach)

15 Diner: Brian’s 24 (Downtown)

After 15 years, Alternative Strategies has a lot to celebrate, but they take the most pride in their ability to perfect a unique recipe of success for every client on their plate.