Meet The Team

Founded in 2014, Social Syndicate (SS) is a San Diego-based restaurant development group with a track record of revitalizing and/or creating popular and profitable restaurant concepts. With more than 45 years of collective experience among SS’s board of directors, they’ve acquired the experience and insight to both successfully turnaround “dead” properties and identify new opportunities and trends. Each of SS’s venues has its own unique identity.

There is no cookie-cutter approach. As SS develops new projects, the neighborhood and customer base are key considerations in the venue’s physical design, menu planning, and philanthropic efforts.

SS is passionate about what it does—demonstrated by hands-on, day-to-day involvement, caring for its employees (offering fitness benefits, for example), and giving back to the communities in which they reside by supporting local non-profit organizations.

SS mixes professional and personal passions together, throws in some ice, creating one delicious cocktail. It’s how (and why) SS works, plays and succeeds.



Owner | Brendan Huffman

Brendan Huffman has had his hands in many bar and restaurant operations over the past 17 years, and is so excited to bring his experience and expertise to the Social Syndicate core venues. Brendan started his career in the bar and restaurant industry in Australia, and was immediately hooked.

He is a managing member of Bootlegger Plates and Pours in downtown San Diego, and an active shareholder of PB Shoreclub. He teamed up with Mina in 2013 to open Wonderland Ocean Pub in Ocean Beach, and it has since thrived from their combined knowledge and creativity. If all of that wasn’t keeping him busy enough, he opened the restaurant group Social Syndicate with other local bar and restaurant gurus to redefine the San Diego bar and restaurant scene. To date, the group manages six core venues: OB Surf Lodge, Wonderland, PB Local, DT Local, Bootlegger, Rabbit Hole, as well as Resident Brewing.

Owner | Mina Desiderio

A San Diegan born to entertain and create innovative, delicious dining and drinking experiences, Mina opened The Local Eatery & Drinking Hole back in 2003. With very little money for marketing and advertising, Mina built the “drink local” brand through merchandise, events, and creative in-house graphics.

She has a big love for throwing a kick ass party and is the brainchild of Sing Dance Crawl (now in its  10th year and boasting over 1,500 attendees and four venues), as well as other awesome events that have allowed her to thrive in our industry off-season.  Mina was a water polo player for 15 years, competitive swimmer as a child through college, and still tries to make time in the water a priority. She teamed up with Brendan Huffman to create Wonderland Ocean Pub and expand the brand of The Local to Pacific Beach. She is our resident food brainchild, keeping our menus flavorful and always changing.

Owner | Mark Huber

Mark embarked to San Diego 10 years ago on orders from the US Navy. While serving his country he experienced the true meaning of leadership, commitment and teamwork. This, along with the strict discipline the Navy instills on you, has given Mark the tools to better understand the business work which he has incorporated into his passion for the restaurant and bar industry. Upon exiting the Navy in 2010 he was introduced to Brendan Huffman, who helped him take his first steps back into the family business. In 2011 they opened Bootlegger Plates and Pours in East Village, San Diego.

As managing partner he has taken on every crucial aspect of operating this highly successful business. This would include, but not limited to marketing, permitting, budgeting and all human resource issues. Under his guidance as owner and operator, Bootlegger has prospered in a location that has had multiple failed businesses. Since Bootlegger’s opening, Mark has increased his portfolio by acquiring ownership in 4 more venues including Florent, Blind Burro, Pacific Beach Shore Club and The Rabbit Hole. Mark’s most recent involvement as an East Village resident has been assisting the East Village Association with fundraising and increased community awareness aimed at improving the social and economic development of the community.

Owner | Hoffman Leung

Hoffman, originally from Wisconsin, moved to San Diego in 2003 after graduating from UW-Madison.  Once here, Hoffman quickly integrated himself into the San Diego downtown restaurant scene; a natural fit since his family owned restaurants growing up. Saving every penny of what he made as a bartender, Hoffman seized an investment opportunity with Pacific Beach Shore Club. This step into ownership also led to a budding friendship and subsequent business partnership with fellow investor Brendan Huffman.

With Brendan’s help and guidance, Hoffman has expanded his reach in the San Diego restaurant scene with ownership in nine different venues across San Diego County.  If he isn’t in one of the venues, you can find Hoffman enjoying San Diego – soaking up the sun, playing in the Pacific, or off chasing his very active young twin boys.

Director of Operations | Drew Vick

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Drew graduated with a BS in Hospitality and Restaurant Administration from Southwest Missouri State University. Drew has over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, ranging from fast casual to fine dining. In the last 10 years, Drew’s experience includes General Management positions with the Panera Bread Company, Trailhead Brewing Company, Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, and Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant.

Drew is the operational director of Wonderland, Local Downtown, PB Local, Rabbit Hole and OB Surf Lodge. He will be contributing to focused efforts and can usually provide answers should someone else at either location not be available or be unsure.

Marketing Director | Jess Eystad

Originally from Wisconsin, Jess graduated with a BA in Marketing and Communications from The University of Kansas. Jess has over 15 years of experience in marketing, advertising and design. Moving to San Diego in 2011 proved her best decision to date, eventually leading to her joining the Social Syndicate team in 2017.

Jess facilitated the remodel of the new Social Syndicate offices in the suite next to Wonderland in Ocean Beach in September 2017. She manages Social Syndicate’s marketing team on all SS core locations: Bootlegger, Wonderland, Local Downtown, PB Local, Rabbit Hole and OB Surf Lodge. She will be focusing on all marketing, sponsorship opportunities, charitable donations, public relations efforts, content creation, festivals and large special events.

Marketing Coordinator | Ashley Barnett

Born and raised in southern California, Ashley has worked in all aspects of restaurant hospitality for well over a decade. She has a proven track record of establishing an engaging and welcoming atmosphere for all new and repeat customers, always making them feel right at home. Passionate about what she does and the impact she makes on others, Ashley has proven to be a creative professional with a unique approach.

Ashley’s career with Social Syndicate started about 6 years ago with the grand opening of Bootlegger in Downtown San Diego. Being a bartender and manager since Bootlegger opened, Ashley not only knows the ins and outs but has also helped shape Bootlegger into what it is today. Still very much involved with Bootlegger, Ashley has enhanced her role and is now the Marketing Coordinator for not only Bootlegger but all the other Social Syndicate locations as well. Her Marketing Coordinator duties include designing merchandise, facilitating media prints, web designing, event coordinating, and being an all-around organizational whiz around the office. You could say she is an all-around hospitality guru!

Social Media Coordinator | Brianna Darling

Originally from Delaware, Brianna graduated with a BA in Organizational & Community Leadership from the University of Delaware. Her interests include travel, photography, unique experiences, and creating positive relationships everywhere she goes. With 10 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry, her networks and level of operation continue to grow.

Already a content creator herself, Brianna is the Social Media Coordinator for Social Syndicate. She operates and curates the look, feel, and voice for each Social Syndicate location across all social media platforms. She also responds to all customers and guests through social media platforms, Yelp, & Google. Visit any of our IG’s or FB’s today to say hello!