After more than four decades, Alfonso’s of La Jolla is no longer located in La Jolla, but rather, Solana Beach.
The popular Mexican restaurant opened its new space mid-June in Solana Beach’s Beachwalk Shopping Center.
“We’ve been busy pretty much every day since we opened,” said Jorge Fierro, who co-owns the restaurant with his father, Alfonso, the restaurant’s namesake.
Alfonso Fierro started his culinary career as a dishwasher in the early 1960s. He first opened Alfonso’s of La Jolla about a decade later, in 1971, at an old courtroom in La Jolla.
“He worked in the industry when he came here from Mexico,” Jorge said. “He started as a dishwasher, and from there, he started working in the kitchen, became a bartender, a busboy, and then opened up his own restaurant.”
In 1977, Alfonso’s relocated to Prospect Street in the Village of La Jolla, where the restaurant remained open until the end of March. Although the building lease ended last October, the father-son duo kept the restaurant open by renting month-to-month until the end of March.
At the same time, they searched for a new location in downtown San Diego, Little Italy and North Park, before finally settling on Solana Beach. With many of the restaurant’s regular customers living in North County, the location made sense.
“We pretty much looked all over the county, and then we found this spot here,” said Jorge, noting that about 70 percent of his customers come from Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas. “It just made more sense to move closer to them.”
The 4,400-square-foot restaurant, with a full bar and expanded open-air patio, officially opened June 17.
Despite the new location, just about everything, from the Alfonso’s name to the menu, have remained the same at the new spot on South Highway 101 in Solana Beach. After all, the menu hasn’t really changed much since the Mexican eatery first opened, including favorites such as the Carne or Chicken “Alfonso” Asada, charbroiled with herbs and spices and a cheese enchilada, and the Quesadilla Mercedes, topped with shrimp and cooked in a special ranchero sauce with bell peppers, tomatoes and onions.
Family recipes have been handed down from generation to generation, hailing from Alfonso Fierro’s hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico.
Alfonso first came to San Diego in his early 30s. Now 80 years old, he remains the face of the business, meeting and greeting people at the restaurant most days of the week, while his son handles daily operations.
“When we first opened here, I had to be in the kitchen, pretty much anywhere I needed to be,” said 40-year-old Jorge, who started in the business in 1994. “Now everything’s coming together.”
In addition to full breakfast and dinner menus, packed with appetizers, salads, soups, nachos, tacos, burritos, quesadillas and other specialties, the family owned and operated restaurant offers traditional Mexican beers and wines, and of course, its famous margaritas.
Happy hour specials are available from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is live music on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.
With ample parking and a modern space, the new location offers amenities the La Jolla space lacked.
Alfonso’s also offers space for private banquets and family or corporate parties. In addition, the restaurant offers to-go orders and catering.
“It’s just a relaxing atmosphere,” Jorge said. “It’s a place for people to come, relax, unwind and forget about the stress of everything. We like to make people feel at home.”
Alfonso’s of La Jolla is located at 437 South Highway 101, Suite 301, in Solana Beach.
For more information, call 858-454-2232 or visit alfonsoslj.com.