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Hodad's

5010 Newport Ave., Ocean Beach, CA - (619) 224-4623
Posted By Michael Stern on 8/9/2004 3:24:00 PM
Hodad’s motto, on a sign above the cash register: “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem!”

Here is the definitive Southern California beachside burger joint, serving truly amazing hamburgers. Available in three sizes (mini, single, and double), as cheeseburgers or bacon cheeseburgers, solo or as part of a basket with a pile of French fries, these burgers are a sight to behold. The double, which is two good-size patties, is huge beyond belief, piled inside a broad sesame seed bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup. The menu warns that all burgers come with all condiments “unless you say otherwise”; and frankly, we suggest that unless you are allergic, all the way is the only way to go.

The hamburger is presented partially wrapped in yellow wax paper, which provides a way to hoist it from the table and to keep it relatively together as you try to eat it. "That paper is your burger trough," proprietor Mike Hardin explains. "We tell people, 'Do not take the paper off! It is there for a purpose.'" The purpose is to keep the immense thing from disintegrating. Mike points around the dining room at veteran customers wolfing down not merely huge hamburgers, but doubles, which are an insanely larger bun, larger patty, and larger larder of toppings all in one package. He notes that experts all eat their Hodad hamburgers the same way. Grasping it by the paper-covered part, they gingerly rotate it around within the wrapper; and most important of all, they never let go of it once they hoist it from the plastic-weave basket in which it is served. "Eat your onion rings and French fries first. Drink your milk shake. Do whatever else you have to do," Mike says. "Then, pick up your hamburger." We did notice that the Big Kahunas of Hodad's tables – those with literally very large hands – were able to keep a semi-wrapped double bacon cheeseburger secure in one mitt while they plucked French fries with the other. But barneys who don't focus on keeping it together risk epic burger wipe-out.

Just getting to Hodad’s is a blast. Lined with palm trees, and with a gorgeous ocean view, Newport Avenue is a colorful part of the city. It is occupied by surf shops, alternative hair salons, juice bars, and high-proof bars; and this rockin’ joint fits right in! Its walls are festooned with vanity license plates from around the nation; surfboards are strung above the dining room. Seating includes hard wood booths and a counter along the wall with stools. Each booth is outfitted with a cardboard container that once held a six-pack of beer bottles. The half-dozen compartments are now used to store sugar and sweeteners for coffee.

Special thanks to San Diegan Michael Kawamoto for originally suggesting Hodad’s.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Double Bacon Cheeseburger Basket
Milk Shake
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

You need to unhinge your jaws like a rattlesnake to dig into this cheeseburger with crisp veggies.
"You need to unhinge your jaws like a rattlesnake to dig into this cheeseburger with crisp veggies."
Stephen Rushmore





One of the choice places to sit inside Hodad's is this VW microbus, which has a sort of table where the dashboard used to be.
"One of the choice places to sit inside Hodad's is this VW microbus, which has a sort of table where the dashboard used to be."
Michael Stern


Mike Hardin's parents started Hodad's on the beach. Here he is with his extremely foreshortened Microbus, parked in the lot next to the restaurant.
"Mike Hardin's parents started Hodad's on the beach. Here he is with his extremely foreshortened Microbus, parked in the lot next to the restaurant."
Michael Stern


Believe it or not, it IS possible to lift this cheeseburger from its basket.  Experienced eaters can do it with one hand.  Putting it between your jaws is, however, a challenge.
"Believe it or not, it IS possible to lift this cheeseburger from its basket. Experienced eaters can do it with one hand. Putting it between your jaws is, however, a challenge."
Michael Stern


Here's the place for real California Dreamin' ... about magnificent hamburgers.
"Here's the place for real California Dreamin' ... about magnificent hamburgers."
Michael Stern


Thick? You bet! Hodad's shakes and malts defy a straw.
"Thick? You bet! Hodad's shakes and malts defy a straw."
Michael Stern


The ambience at Hodad's is Surf City.
"The ambience at Hodad's is Surf City."
Michael Stern


The walls are covered with some amazing vanity license plates. It has long been the house policy to offer a big burger meal to any customer willing to display a good one.
"The walls are covered with some amazing vanity license plates. It has long been the house policy to offer a big burger meal to any customer willing to display a good one."
Michael Stern


These front-row seats at Hodad's look out on Newport Avenue, which is a great place for people-watching. Waiters have to step outside the restaurant to take customers' orders.
"These front-row seats at Hodad's look out on Newport Avenue, which is a great place for people-watching. Waiters have to step outside the restaurant to take customers' orders."
Michael Stern



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