Mike Hardin: ‘Hodad’s my livelihood, not my life.’

by on April 5, 2011 · 42 comments

in Economy, History, Ocean Beach, Popular

Mike Hardin in front of Hodad’s. All photos by Frank Gormlie.

Editor: With Hodad’s Number 2 in the news, we thought it appropriate to re-post this May 2009 interview with Mike Hardin, one of the owners of Hodad’s.

Originally posted May 9, 2009

OCEAN BEACH, CA. It’s readily apparent that at least in one little corner of Ocean Beach, the recession hasn’t really hit – the corner of Newport Ave and Bacon Street, where you see the lines of people waiting to get into Hodad’s – OB’s famous hamburger joint.  It’s 12:30 lunch time, and the crowd waits patiently to sit down and chomp into the delicious drippy, beef and bun wonder named by CNN as one of the top five burgers in the nation.

Inside, the place was packed, every table filled, every stool taken, every booth claimed, as the staff smartly bustled for hungry mouths. No “OB Time” here at lunch time.  This is a typical scene these days. It was a noisy but friendly atmosphere.

I spoke to a few people waiting in line outside. One group was from Oklahoma. The older woman had lived in Alpine, and of course had been to Hodad’s in the past.  She was bringing her young mid-west friends for their first time – she was excited, they had looks of doubt whether it was all worth it. They haven’t had a Hodads burger yet, obviously.

The couple right at the door waiting to enter the building was from North San Diego County.  She had seen Hodads on a food network program “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” and knew she had to have one. Now she was back and had brought her friend.

There’s a million stories like these. The brother of a good buddy of mine goes to Hodad’s every time he flies in from St. Louis. He has to go there at least several times usually during the week he’s here.

Hodad’s used to be OB’s secret – the best burger at the beach. There weren’t any lines, but the place was still popular – with it hundreds of license plates on the walls, surfboards hanging from the ceiling, a place that turns beach mementos into pop icons.  Then it got famous, and everybody now knows about it.

But this isn’t really about Hodad’s – the place, it’s about Mike Hardin – the guy who started it – or at least the guy who made it happen.  I met Mike inside the restaurant the other day for our interview. We left, crossed the street and sat down at Jungle Java’s – each with a hot cup.

I’ve known Mike since he was a kid flipping patties at his parent’s place – and I wanted to find out if fame had spoiled OB’s most famous burger-maestro.  A week ago, I had approached him for the interview. He smiled and gave me a big bear hug, and said sure.  He handed me his cell number, and I arranged the meeting.

Mike doesn’t have a computer or email, but he does have a cell phone.  He just turned 50 last Fall, and he’s been in the burger business ever since his parents, Bryon and Virginia, opened up their first joint on Main Street in El Cajon. It was 1969, and their place was called “Hardin’s Barrel”. Mike was 10.  Forty years ago.

With an affable smile, dressed in black hoodie and hat, wearing dark glasses, he has become a fixture on OB’s main street. We sat down in the back at the outdoor coffee place and talked for nearly an hour. During my entire hour and half with Mike, we were interrupted several times by people coming up to him and saying ‘hi’ and hugging him.

Mike is certainly a recognizable guy, with tats on his neck, arms and legs, earrings, with a patch of blond hair below his lower lip.  He has “B-O-S-S – M-A-N” emblazoned across his knuckles.  One of his favorites is the burger on his leg. He’s been getting tats since he was 28.

Mike appears to be in good shape. “I still box,” he said. He’s been into martial arts for years and works out often at a local gym – he wasn’t bragging, “and you know what, I’ve never been in a fight.”  He hasn’t surfed, he admitted, for about 5 years.

Born in Louisiana, Mike and his family left the South when he was two years old, moving to California. Once in a while, you’ll hear his drawl – he said he got it growing up with his parents.  He told me the whole family – Mike had four siblings – got on the train leaving the South. It was a train moving African-Americans to other parts of the country.

Mike said, “We were the only white people on the train. We must have been really poor, because other people were giving us food during the trip.”  Bryon and Virginia grew up through the Depression, of course, and Mike to this day, recalls his dad’s frugality.  “When we first sold cheeseburgers at the beach, the cheese was probably government cheese,” Mike said through laughter.

Bryon and Virginia Buy Hodads

After their first hamburger place in El Cajon, Bryon and Virginia in 1973 bought a little burger stand in OB, right on the beach. It was called “Hodad’s”.  They paid a local character by the name of Billy B for it, giving him all of $600.

I remembered Billy B – he used to run a local bike rental shop on Abbott, and used to place ads in the original OB Rag – “Different spokes for different folks,” was his motto.

Hodads started in the same building where another restaurant ‘Dempseys at the Beach’ came to be, years later.  We walked over there and I took a few shots of Mike right where the old take-out window used to be located. That’s where I first saw Mike back then in the early seventies. Now the site sits empty, waiting for the wrecking crew – 3 story condos are coming in, to be built there where Dempseys was and over that entire half block – bordered by Abbott, the parking lot and Saratoga Avenue.

“Mike,” I said, “you know what ‘hodads’ used to mean?” Growing up in the budding surfer world of Southern California in the sixties, I knew the term was a near slur for those who identified with the beach culture, meaning a fake surfer basically.

“Sure,” he said, “back then, they were fighting words.” We both laughed at the irony.

 

 

In front of the building where the original Hodad’s started.

 

Mike described how he would flip burgers at the beach site right next to the sand and the little grassy park at the foot of Saratoga, “We used to sell burgers for 25 cents.  We had 10 rolled tacos for a buck.”  They lived near by in apartments on Saratoga, not far from Abbott.

While at the beach the Hardin family went through 3 different owners/ landlords at their little burger joint.  Finally, the son of the third landlord, Bushard, saw how successful Hodads had become and he wanted to take it over, so in an effort to force them out, Bushard doubled their rent.  That’s when, Mike recounted, they moved to Voltaire.

Mike reminded me that he has a partner in Hodads – Teresa “Terry” Rhodes. She started as a waitress at Voltaire and bought into the business “with her sweat,” Mike added.  “She’s great,” he said.  “She does the paperwork, and I do the people-work.”

Curious, I asked him whether his other siblings worked at his parents’ burger places. No, he said, he was the baby, and by time his parents got into the restaurant business, his 2 brothers and 2 sisters had moved on.

His family has known tragedy. Both brothers died when they were 49. Phil from a massive heart attack, and Steve – who was permanently disabled – took his own life a couple years later.

Mike’s sisters are still living; Dody was 18 when Mike was born so “she was like an aunt to me,” he said.  Patricia, the other sister, lives in San Marcos. Her son Brook, Mike said, his nephew, is going into business with him in opening up the second Hodads in Carlsbad later this year.

“Hold on,” I said, “I want to come back to that, but I want to cover the move to Voltaire Street first.”

The Voltaire Restaurant: Where the Hodad Burger Became One

In 1979 Bryon and Virginia moved the business to a site on Voltaire – that’s where Hodads became a real restaurant. “That’s where we made the burger,” Mike said, talking about his famous concoction, that now has made it within the top national five.

The place on Voltaire had a “J” shaped counter with stools and a row of booths, in the same old wooden building where Jim Bell has his establishment.

“Dad was good about making ends meet, about being efficient.” Mike said. He is a little sad – to think that his parents, Bryon and Virginia,  never really “made it” like he has.

Back then, back on Voltaire – Mike was starting to learn to surf and was going to Point Loma High School, but he only worked at the restaurant part-time. When he would come in and cook, he would make these giants for his buddies.

I remember them, back in the days I ate burgers. You’d go into Hodads for lunch and come out satisfied with the meal, a tad over-priced, but not feeling over-greased, as you might coming out of Boll-Weevil, and definitely still not feeling hungry, as you might coming out of MacDonalds.

Byron Harlin died in 1984. Mike then began working full-time at the restaurant, and he and his mom continued to run the place. They had been joined by Terry Rhodes – the later partner – who started in ’82.

Mike recounted a significant moment, back there on Voltaire. When he cooked, he used to pile it on.  Now, that it was just him and his mom, could he keep doing that, he pondered. So, he decided that he would give himself six months to see what would happen if he continued to make these burgers, big and beefy, lots of onions.

Within that six months, Mike found that he had tripled his business. That decided it. This was Hodad’s burger.

The place gained some notoriety after an article about them appeared in a local magazine, “San Diego Home and Garden.” “We’d see people from La Jolla drive by, and they’d look, and they’d look. About half would drive off.” Mike laughed.

“If I can just get you in the door,” Mike described his early business philosophy, “you’re mine.” People would then taste his mastery of the burger. “We had a slogan,” Mike said. ” ‘It’s not life or death, it’s lunch or dinner. Slow down.'”

His mom lived another five years and passed away in 1989. Then it was just him and Terry.  Mike was 30 and he was running a restaurant.

Looking back, Point Loma High didn’t pan out very well for him. Mike never graduated from high school nor did he ever get his GED. “A counselor at Point Loma once told me I wouldn’t amount to much unless I graduated,” he said with a shrug. We both smiled.  Now he’s famous.

Growing up, Mike knew David Wells, another famous Point Loman who went off to become San Diego’s baseball great. “He was always crackin’ up, getting into trouble,” Mike said of David. “I told him that unless he gets his life together, he won’t end up doing much.”

Mike’s been married four times. He’s a bachelor now and likes it. He’s got two kids by his first wife, Robin, Shane 17 1/2 and Lexi 16.  He’s still on good terms with Robin for the most part, he said – she lives in OB.

Mike thinks his son Shane will join him in the business. But he doesn’t relish his son – or daughter having to go through what he did during his younger days. Mike had a rough time – and appears to have had to drag himself through the decades, with too many experiences and wounds from a hazardous lifestyle.

It all caught up with him when he was 30, Mike told me. He laid in a hospital bed with a very dangerous staph infection – he nearly died.

When he recovered – he went through a tremendous life change. He became much more appreciative of life. He started studying Buddhism, as a philosophy. “I actually do stop and smell the roses,” Mike explained. “I am the most grateful person.” There was a genuineness in his voice.

“You know, Hodads is my livelihood, not my life. If it burned down tomorrow, I would have to live with it.”  This summed up where he stood existentially.

The Move to Newport

Hodads move to Newport sounds like it was hell. “It took all of 4 days to open,” Mike said. It was crazy. Mike’s son was 2 weeks old. They went from having 2 employees to 22 overnight. “It was like, if I knew you, ‘hey, can you give us a hand?'”  This was in 1991.

Eighteen years later, he says, “I’ve hired myself out of a job.” He explained: “If I went in the kitchen right now, people would say, gently, ‘hey, boss man, we’ve got it covered.’ They’d kick me out.”

“My biggest asset is my employees. You know, I’ve talked to other restaurant owners. They say their biggest problem is their employees.  Not here.”

Mike and Terry have thirty full time people, with another 10 trained to fill in. They pay for all their health insurance, Mike proudly informed me. Most of them are local.

There’s 4 people in the kitchen. One just grilling burgers. Grilling on a grill. The others are doing separate things. There’s 4 to 5 people out front. “Everyone hired,” Mike said, “everyone – all – start by making burgers. Before anyone can work out front, where the tips are, you work in the kitchen.”

That way there’s no feeling of separateness – as exists in most restaurants – between those in the kitchen and those out serving the customers. Waiters know what it’s like in the kitchen, so they don’t get snooty towards the cooks, plus they can predict, for instance, how long a customer’s burger will take, by knowing who’s cooking, etc.

The staff on one shift, Mike said, made $1000 last Saturday in tips. “This was the greatest thing we ever did for the employees was to have this policy (of starting everyone in the kitchen).”

Here’s the Beef

It was Mike’s idea to deliver the beefy bun-enclosed giant. Now the Hodad burger is truly world-famous. It was back in 1973 that Mike’s dad, Bryon, came up with the business slogan. Then MacDonald was claiming 7 Billion burgers, so his dad doubled it, and of course turned it around. “Under 14 billion sold.”

Hodad’s beef is delivered fresh everyday. They go through 2500 pounds of hamburger every week. It’s delivered by Seaport Meat Co., as the one-third pound burger is always fresh and never frozen.”Okay,” I said, quickly doing the math, “that’s 7500 burgers a week!” Whew! They also go through 1000 pounds of bacon every week.

Mike told me how they make the ‘bacon-patty': first they’re mixed together, then boiled in water for two hours to get the fat out. Then the strings are grilled into patties. People swear by them. “You get bacon in every bite,” says my girlfriend’s daughter, who loves the bacon-patty burger.

“We’re number 3 in the nation for french fries,” Mike says. It’s in Epicure.com he claims, a man without a computer. “We change the oil daily – and a woman picks it up and runs her VW on it. So, somewhere a woman is running around on Hodad’s oil.”

Others on our blog staff wanted me to ask about the recipes for their milkshake, as “it’s amazing!” Mike answered back without a blink, “ice cream, milk, and stir.” They also put some whipped cream and a squirt of chocolate to pretty it up. “We don’t make a lot of profit on the shakes,” he said.

The Fame

How did it happen, I finally asked. The CNN fame came from something that happened two years ago. “I got a call one night,” Mike said, “from an employee, who told me some guy named Guy Fieri from the food network channel was at the restaurant.” Fieri was doing a segment of “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”.  They filmed for 18 hours – for a 7 minute clip. This was 2 years ago, Mike says. It was originally aired in August 2008. They played it a lot, Mike added, because of the writers’ strike.

It’s still being played. A woman I talked to after the interview outside the restaurant said she’d just seen it.

That was the beginning of the fame. The long lines out the door and down the block to the corner. “I’m very grateful,” Mike said.

All this hasn’t made him change, he says as we walked over to the old Dempseys, past the Lifeguard station. One of his former wives taught him to just be himself. “‘Mike,’ she said, ‘you’re really good at being yourself, so just be yourself.'” Mike says he’s just being himself. Plus he’s an optimist in life.

Mike and Terry and Hodad’s have been giving back to the community for years. Ever since his son Shane was in Little League, Mike has been donating burgers, buns, or giving the League cuts on the meat for their events.  They also donate to local schools – the same way – with burgers for the different carnivals.

Fame is allowing Mike – and Terry, his manager and his nephew Brook to open a second restaurant. This one, called “Hodad’s Too” will probably open in late July, Mike said, up in Carlsbad.  Mike once vowed to me that he would never go ‘franchise.’ And so he hasn’t. The new place will still be his and Terry’s.

Mike’s favorite story, or at least one of his more recent favorites, is about a couple who came in and ate their burgers, and then left. But they had flown in from New York City just to try the burgers. And they turned around and flew back. “Nice to have that kind of money,” Mike said.

I asked him if he was active in the merchants’ group, the Mainstreet Association. “I’ve been to one meeting in all these years.”

What did he think about the current state of Ocean Beach? “Life is like a pendulum, swinging back and forth.” “During the real estate boom, people played Monopoly and the game Risk on Newport – I don’t like either game.  They see dollar signs, get-rich quick schemes. I see a community.”

“You know, I’ve never stopped in Starbucks. The People’s Republic of OB is true in my heart.”

Originally posted May 9, 2009.

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar mr fresh May 9, 2009 at 5:43 pm

now that’s a guy who is a true business hero.

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avatar Old Hermit Dave May 9, 2009 at 8:07 pm

May those long lines never end.

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avatar Dickie May 9, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Thanks, Frank, for an unexpected bit of depth about an OB icon. I had no idea about the recent fame. Now I can’t wait to visit just to go back to Hodad’s for a burger. And maybe I’ll catch a glimpse of Mike Hardin . . . I really appreciate a guy who just gets it . . .

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avatar Gary Gilmore May 9, 2009 at 11:30 pm

Now that’s the kind of merchant attitude I respect. The guy (Mike Hardin) loves his neighborhood, loves what he does, sticks with it through thick & thin, treats his staff with respect, rewards them fairly & doesn’t get too impressed with himself. With that kind of attitude everything falls into plaace. Real good interview. Gotta go…I’m hungry.

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avatar lane tobias May 10, 2009 at 9:49 pm

great depth in that article frank. even though im a veggie i respect the principles of the business and Mike’s general attitude…and the shakes and onion rings are awesome.

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avatar seth May 10, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Great article. Love being able to support a local business like that. Just wish that their food didn’t help to make me a fat slob.

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avatar Frank Gormlie May 11, 2009 at 6:38 am

Just on Sunday (5/10/09)the food network aired Hodad’s on its “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”.

Lane – they do have a veggie burger. I don’t eat hamburgers either, so I always get the chicken burger.

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avatar Abby April 19, 2010 at 12:19 pm

I’m glad to see Hodads getting attention, but I can’t stand the sight of Guy Fieri!

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avatar Dave Gilbert May 11, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Nice piece Frank!

I too order the chicken burger but have tried their veggie burger as well and they both ROCK! It was also very encouraging to see someone the same age as me doing so well.

I’m thinking you guys must have met at Jungle Java though because sadly it’s been about 10 years since Java Joes was a main part of the OB tapestry.

Thanks again! XD \m/

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avatar Frank Gormlie May 11, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Dave G – you’re right, as usual. It’s corrected. Thanks. Yeah, must of had Java Joe’s on the brain. It was where Starbucks is currently. After Java Joe’s left for the old Boll-Weevil on Bacon, the building just sat there for years, unattended, and a mecca for the travelers. Which is why some people applauded when Starbucks opened there. But no one before that took the landlord or owner to task for not keeping it cleaned up.

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avatar Sheri and Alex Clark May 11, 2009 at 7:01 pm

when your heart and soul are in the right place, great things happen :=)

no one deserves more success than Mike and Terry…. for all they do in the spirit of Ocean Beach, thank you :=)

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avatar Geniezuc May 11, 2009 at 7:16 pm

This one goes close to my heart. “jenny” and bryon, were so wonderful. Back in the days when they were on Saratoga grass, they used to let us, (O.B. free school), plug into their place so we could have bands, and fundraisers there. They were so community and progressive oriented. I see why Mike is like he is! I remember him working there, a young kid, and I was always so impressed. A sweetie! And Mitsi doing the art work for their ads in the O.B Rag. They would be so proud!

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avatar Robin Lawshe May 17, 2009 at 9:31 am

I have known Mike for over 25 yrs. He is an amazing person with a awesome heart! I am not just saying this becuase he if my former brother-in-law. :) He is Mike. Just as the article says he is just being himself. A friendly,funny, loving man who always makes others smile and laugh.My dauther had her frist hamburger in Hodads when she was little. There used to be a picture of her taking her first bite, up on the wall at the Voltaire location. So so proud of you Mike! Your mom and dad are so proud too I am sure. I knew you aways keep alive the spirit of Hodads and Byron and Virginia. Robin Lawshe

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avatar mr fresh May 21, 2009 at 2:01 pm
avatar jon May 21, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Whew! I finally got a chance to read this. Great article about a great guy. I get a kick out of the lines outside Hodads. Hodads has always been ours, but now that others are finding out about it, we’re happy to share and take pride in the fact we have one of the best burger joints in the world down the street. Mike seems like such a neat guy. Man I’m hungry…

I also liked d.a. kolodenko’s article in City Beat. Very cool take on OB and Hodads fame. Thanks for the link mr fresh.

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avatar OB Wendy June 21, 2009 at 8:02 am

Back jn early 80’s it was “Mike’s Mess’ that used to serve us thru this small window into the “OB Zoo”, That was Effies Bar. That was a fun time!
I wonder if that old place still has two door handles on it?
It was good then and it’s better now
You go Mike, Go!

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avatar DrumnWebGuy June 21, 2009 at 10:22 am

I am going to start eating at Hodad’s just because Mike is so cool. I’m a big BBQ house fan, but Hodad’s is definitely going to be on my “go to” list. I mean, I’ve eaten their food over the years but this expose’ on Mike is just too cool.

This article serves to remind all of us the types of great people OB has. Thanks!

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avatar Sandy July 16, 2009 at 9:56 am

Was wondering where the next Hodads will be? I have a piece of property on the way to the beach in Culver city close to Marina del rey Wondered if you might be interested in talking Mike? Great place Hodads. we really enjoyed ourselves. I havebeen in the fast food business with my mom and dad since he started in 1960. Hope to hear from you

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avatar Floyd August 10, 2009 at 12:16 am

I used to eat at Hodads when he was on Voltaire at least once a week. A cheeseburger basket and chocolate shake, heaven on earth. That was when Mike was at the grill, he moved to Newport and the burgers were never the same. 2 to 22 employees overnight took it’s toll on what was the best burger I had ever had.

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avatar klaus ristau November 17, 2009 at 1:16 pm

mike i just saw a picture of you.WHATS THAT THING ON YOUR BOTTOM LIP.I remember all the times we play with the fresbee on the grass when your dad was there,and to see your dad taking care of the business.Now i just put two and two together you look like your dad.I will never forget the beach there.When i was working for volume services my boss jerry furman:said as looking at your place right there next to where we played toss the fresbee.You taught me how to catch it in all those different styles.You showed me how to throw it in all those different methods.We got pritty good as a team.I have a place in Issaquah where i toss the fresbee to a big lovable dofg named Smokey.He is a brindle pit mastive and he can catch it where you would never think a dog could,for his weight he loves to play and his tail is always wagging.Back to volume service and the manager and his wife tammy the best people i had ever meet.If it was not up to jerry’s brother mark furman i would not of got a chance to work in the different sports arenas and stadiums.Jerry furman would look at hodds and say i sure wish we could done what you and your dad mom and you mike.You kept your dads dream alive klaus rista

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avatar Pat November 17, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Klaus
I used to play frisbee with mike during the same era.
I’m trying to remember you .
The name sounds familiar.
I have the James Gang down the street.

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avatar Bob Hamm April 18, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Mike is one of the most “real” guys I have ever met. He lives life his way, and makes it work for him!
He is also a vital member of the OB community, always giving to others, sharing with the community. Don’t think he knows how to say “no”.
He truly deserves the love and admiration of this community. We need more Mikes here in OB.
Hats off to you, Mike….and thanks for all you have done for me over the years!!

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avatar oBak April 18, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Every time I read this article I feel the need to share it with people.

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avatar obsteven April 18, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Amazing article.

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avatar Brian April 19, 2010 at 6:34 am

This article was how I originally found the OB Rag website. What inspired the re-post?

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avatar Editordude April 19, 2010 at 8:14 am

Brian, we felt compelled to repost it as it seems to be a favorite and still keeps coming up in the posts that people search to find and then read.

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avatar Gabe April 27, 2010 at 4:59 pm

That cool old mother fucker, he stole my girlfriend. Love Ya Mike…

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avatar Dave June 8, 2010 at 5:23 pm

OB is the kind of place I wish I had grown up in. But since I had no control over that, all I can do is discover new places, pick my faves, and stick with them. OB and Hodad’s are definitely faves – and NO I did not hear about Hodad’s because of Guy Fieri, I was there several times before then. Sorry to say I’m a Zonie, and I get a good laugh at ppl over here in AZ whose favorite passtime is to put down Cali. I figure they’re just jealous but they’re too arrogant to admit it. SoCal, SD, OB, and Hodad’s rock my world. Would live there in a heartbeat if I could afford to :(

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avatar Mark Dubay June 15, 2010 at 3:09 pm

After all of these years (1992), I still use the phrase Mike used to say to everyone in the kitchen…”Mark, just want you to know I am behind you! …and now I am beside you” At first, I thought he was telling me that he trusts me, then I realized he was just telling me where he was so I would not knock into him!

I get laughs all the time on that one!

Wish I was in San Diego, so I could grab a bacon hamburger! I am so glad for Terry and Mike’s success!

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avatar klaus June 29, 2010 at 11:53 am

you are right Mike U can not let it consume you.Happy for your fame.You taught me how to throw a frizbee.I have a new place and partner to throw the frizbee to his name is smokey.He is just a dog.I suck but keep trying. location location location klaus

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avatar Sunshine April 6, 2011 at 8:35 am

i enjoy sitting in the VW Van with friends while enjoying a basket of fantastically indulgent fries and a coke. Hodad’s is one place on Newport I love taking out-of-town guests to. Great food, on-point staff. and license plates to stimulate the mind while awaiting some seriously good eats. Frank, your article reveals the motivating forces behind Hodad’s success. How refreshing to see success come to such mellow OBceans! Genuine people living life their way…ahhhhhhh. there’s hope for us all.

mmmmmmm …. f r i e s ….. what time do they open?

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avatar bil April 6, 2011 at 2:47 pm

“Minister” Mike performed our wedding ceremony 15 years ago, after approving of us over a burger and shake. I try to stop into Hodad’s whenever I get back to OB.
Thanks Mike.
Wishing you continued success and hapiness.

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avatar klaus ristau May 10, 2011 at 3:07 pm

remember tammy mike.So remember the frizzbe and the lawn.I remember i would go to the beach and the volume service people .the tammy i;m refering to was u know.Then there was the VS people I;ll name them no better not they say in Issaquah that if you are at a AA meeting u can not give up your name.I;ll tell u about all the $ that issaquah owes me even today a caught them red handed.I went to this building small house.The man was refinishing this floor.see Issaquah got millions and million of money i;ll give U examples.We are not talking chump change.let me go back 17 years ago your area is just as much in the picture.Ill start with the counters space that u all have in the bars deli’s indoors etc.they are in this web site take a real dump shit not to know .Example in Issaquah starbucks they removed the old stuffed chairs and put nice leather like chairs then they added a long counter at the starbucks right next to safeway .Do u still have a safeway?We have only one laundramat;.how about the biker bar they changed that to a laundry mat .when i was there remember then the other laundrymat next door to the little chief.Do they have a shucks do they have a post office still .they say i saved the Issaquah post office from having to move im sixty years old and not in good shape.We have a community center they built for me but i did not like it because Issaquah put a picture of an old Indian woman on thewr little track,the government paid for most every thing here they even built this senior center i am in writing you this.Some time ago Mike i came to OB with a lady named Rene M Roof.We staye in the hotel u know newport and abott street.Speaking of street see the web cam on the corner on the roof.see i went there for the street fair with Rene.Issaquah does not like the subject because they have used federal grant money to buy out most of the city.The list go’en on and on.so smokey and i are going to throw the disk like u and i on the lawn.Ya the city bought this property to watch me .so talk with ya later/ im happy for you U and wish i was there but money is tight.oh in the community center i was on a tred mill then while running on one i jumped over to another in flight. so there is one thing at one time the timing must have been just right and u got your location to the present day HODAD;Swe have seen OB on TV the view was from up on the hill of newport street.oh here is another one the government gave Issaquah money’s for there new jail. the goverment gave Issaquah $ for there hatchery or they would not have salmon day;s just take take take.We had the president the seal of aprovel for a restaurant 300 yards where i live.I could write for ever on the renovation that have been given this city Remember bonzi the old burt surfer he bused a few of my boards love the boards in hodas can not wait for the other Hodads

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avatar Rick Ward aka mr.rick May 10, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Back a few years, around say 1965 or ’66, it was called the “Taco” by us beach urchins. We could come out of the waterand go to the “Taco” and get the “Giant” frosty’s for a dime. Some real hot days (80 or so) we would get the giant cups of ice water.You know, to cut the salt. We would stroll towards the”little jetty” and look out for gals that had thier bikini’s untied to escape tan lines. We would casually stroll by in our red and white jams and inadvertantly spill our ice water on thier bare backs, causing them to gasp and jump up, hopefully forgetting thier tops were untied. hey, when you’re 13 or 14 you have some of your besr ideas. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, buy wasn’t “Hodads” near the surf shop (Jon’s?) on Abbott St. before it was directly on the beach?

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avatar Colleen January 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm

We Just returned home to PA after a visit to San Diego. We stopped in to Ocean Beach one day and went in to Starbucks for some tea. We asked an employee in there for the best place to eat. They told us to go to Hodad’s, the lines are usually out the door. We were there Christmas eve, so it was a slow afternoon. We waited only a few minutes. I just thought Mike might feel differently about Starbucks knowing they were sending the tourists his way.

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avatar Marty Robertson January 3, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Way to go Mike! I used to hang out with you and Terry Howell back when we were kids, dirt clod fights and hanging out at the Barrel in El Cajon. I had dinner the other day with a good friend of mine, Steve Greig, who says he knows from his business travels down in San Diego. I took a quick trip down memory lane and was blown away to find out that you were still running the burger business. I hope to visit later in February when my family and I come down to San Diego for a few days. Take care.

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avatar editordude September 26, 2012 at 11:34 am

We re-posted this interview with Mike Hardin of Hodad’s as for some reason, there were many hits on the article just within the last day or so.

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avatar Mark September 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Great article….I used to play for Hodad’s flag football team back in the mid-80’s. Needless to say we had the best post-game meals ever!

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avatar Gristmiller September 27, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Great article about a real community businessman.

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avatar Goatskull September 27, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I’m happy for Mike and his success but I do miss the days when there were no lines. Oh well, its job security and assurance that Hodad’s will be there for a long long long time. There’s always the down town one also.

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avatar Roy January 17, 2013 at 10:57 am

I’ve only been to the OB place a handfull of times throughout the years. I’ve had the real thing though, starved coming from the beach. I’m going to live next to the new place downtown, not that I needed an explanation to eat a burger with soul, this was a good explanation.

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avatar Robert Keith May 27, 2013 at 9:23 am

Great article…happy to see Hodad’s going strong. I have never been to the “new” Hodad’s on Newport although I walked past it a couple of times on a trip to OB in the early nineties.

As a little boy living at 4984 1/2 Cape May in the late 60’s, I can remember walking with my sister barefoot down the alley’s to the beach and on to the original Hodad’s beach shack run by Gloria and Jack Crowningshield. Jack was a Real Estate developer in the area.

During a later trip to San Diego with my Dad, we visited with the Crowningshield’s (friends of Dad) and Jack explained naming the place Hodad’s which was slang in the late 50’s, early 60’s for a greaser who hung out at the beach – a West Coast Arthur Fonzerelli-type – definitely not a surfer. Crowningshield said Gloria called him Hodad and he called her Homom. Gloria put the menu together and she said that the rolled taco’s, which were 10 for a buck were extremely popular.

I’m glad the Hodad’s name is still alive and doing well!

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