Fitting Paean to Hodad’s and Mike Hardin Who Passed 6 Years Ago

by on February 1, 2021 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

Editordude: Here is a nice, detached paean to Mike Hardin and Hodad’s of Ocean Beach in an entertainment online platform. Mike passed exactly 6 years ago. For links, please go to the original. )

One of ‘Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives’ Most Popular Burger Joints Has an Incredibly Tragic Story

By Perry Carpenter / Showbiz CheatSheet / January 23, 2021

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives host Guy Fieri has visited Hodad’s in San Diego numerous times throughout the show’s history. The restaurant has also been part of other Food Network specials, and it’s become a destination for fans.

The Ocean Beach staple is a classic American diner with walls covered in classic license plates and a menu that features a famous assortment of burgers. But despite its massive popularity, the burger joint actually has an incredibly tragic story.

‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’ featured Hodad’s in seasons 2 and 17

Fieri first visited Hodad’s for Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives in season 2 during an episode titled “Seaside Eats.” He returned in season 17 in the episode titled “All San Diego, All the Time.”
The celebrity chef also returned to the restaurant in 2019 to shoot another Food Network program. And, it was featured on the channel’s “Top 10 Burgers” and “With Bacon” specials.

According to 10 News San Diego, the relationship between Hodad’s and Fieri inspired the restaurant’s Guido Burger. That is a pastrami-smothered burger topped with swiss cheese, grilled onions, pickles, ketchup, and spicy brown mustard.

When Fieri visits, he always takes the opportunity to mingle with the crew and take selfies with fans. And on the Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives website, Fieri puts Hodad’s at the top of his recommendations list. Not only does he love their burgers, but he also loves their motto of “no shirts, no problem.”

‘Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives’ host Guy Fieri

Hodad’s owner was a local burger legend

In 1969, Mike Hardin moved to San Diego with his parents when they opened Hodad’s at Ocean Beach. Over the years, Hardin’s cooking skills – and his affiliation with Fieri – made him a local burger legend. He took over the restaurant from his parents in the 1980s, and he ended up opening two more Hodad’s locations. One in downtown San Diego and the other in Petco Park.

Hardin was a local celebrity and “favorite son” who had been dubbed “the unofficial mayor of Ocean Beach.” He was known for his kindness, generosity, and charming smile. As well as his mohawk and his tattooed knuckles that read “Boss Man!”

But in 2015, tragedy struck when Hardin was found dead in a Holiday Inn hotel room. According to The San Diego Tribune, Hardin checked into the hotel off state Route 99 in Chowchilla, California, on a Wednesday night after visiting his daughter in Oregon. The next morning, hotel staff found him dead. There was no evidence of foul play. But, the coroner did perform an autopsy on the 54-year-old because the death was unexpected.

The coroner’s report obtained by San Diego NBC 7 News showed that Hardin had died from a heart attack. It was brought on by an enlarged heart and severe coronary artery disease. The coroner also found evidence of a previous heart attack, plus lung and liver problems.

The host of ‘Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives’ paid tribute to Mike Hardin

Hardin’s death was a massive blow to the Ocean Beach community, as well as the city of San Diego. Thousands of his friends and family gathered at Petco Park to pay tribute to the owner of the city’s iconic burger joint. The celebration of life featured a tribute video and live music performances. Fieri also spoke at the event, as he and Hardin had become close friends over the years.

“There’s so many other words that help explain Mike. I want you to think about these words for a second, because they’ll touch each and every one of us in a different way,” Fieri said.
Among the words he listed were respect, love, and appreciative. But Fieri said there was one word that mattered most of all.

“Friend is a deep word. Friend is all of those words coming together and Mike was that. And Mike was a friend in any capacity: if he just met you, if he knew you or he was your dad…he was your friend,” Fieri said as he hugged Hardin’s son, Shane.

Fieri also shared his thoughts about Hardin on Twitter. He wrote, “RIP Mike Hardin “boss man”. You helped the world in so many ways. We will miss you everyday.”

More on Mike Hardin and Hodad’s from OB Rag

OB Rag Interview with Mike in 2009

Mike Hardin – Owner of OB’s Hodad’s – Has Passed – RIP

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeoff Gordon February 3, 2021 at 2:45 pm

Mike and Guy worked together to donate and provide signature burgers to US troops around the country.
Mike was an active amateur boxer and knew he had heart disease.


sealintheSelkirks February 3, 2021 at 6:14 pm

Ate many a burger out of Hodad’s, a favorite after-surf munch, and my granny would sometimes send me the three blocks back to the beach on my bike to bring them home a hot lunch because they probably smelled it on me! Must have been around ’70/71, and she was raised an Iowa farm woman who could tell the difference between fast food and Grade A burger beef!

That place sure did make a lot of us young surfers happy back then. There were times when I was pretty damn broke and didn’t have the full price, counting out pennies, ya know? And they’d let it go and tell me to pay it next time and go ahead and cook me up one and add in some fries, too. Nice people! And when I moved my ding repair shop from MB to OB in 1980 I started eating there again.

Is Hodad’s still there, still in the family perhaps? Probably the last Hodad burger I ate was in summer of 1987…would have been one of his. No, correct that. I ate there when I came down to bury my last relative in San Diego in 2001 and surfed Southside of the Pier that morning. It was still a great burger.



Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: