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Hodad's Bossman lives on, 6 months later

Favored philosophy: “It’s not life or death, it’s lunch or dinner”

Shane Hardin's taken a note to fix up the bus
Shane Hardin's taken a note to fix up the bus
Place

Hodad's

5010 Newport Avenue, San Diego

On August 5, I eye two men from outside Hodad’s in Ocean Beach (they also have a downtown location). They polish off their bacon doubles beneath a painted mural of a burger surfing the curl with a hodad hitchin’ a ride on a bun. When I ask where they’re from, one replies, “Imperial Valley. We drove 170 miles ’cause we had a taste for a Hodad’s.”

Almost 200 miles of driving led this Imperial Valley man to this moment
Come for the burgers, stay for the license plates...

I’d never entered Hodad’s before my interview with restaurant owner Shane Hardin, the late Mike “Bossman” Hardin’s 24-year-old son who is now Hodad’s third-generation restaurateur.

Shane meets me at the entrance and introduces himself. His demeanor: mellow, self-assured, soft-spoken, with a hint of shyness. A beard covers his young face, hidden in part by his shoulder-length strawberry-blond hair. His eyes are the color of the ocean and he’s grinning.

In the adjacent parking lot sits a purple, black, and white VW bus with six feet of cabin cut out of its middle. It’s got rust holes, is covered with stickers, has a Hodad’s logo on the window, and old surfboards on top. I ask, “What’s the story behind the bus?”

“Fifteen years ago, VW John hit up my dad. ‘I’m selling this bus. I’m thinkin it’s worth nine.’ Dad thought he meant $9000 and turned him down but found out the price was $900 and made the deal. It’s a shell now. The salt has gutted it. It just sits.” Shane talks about restoring it and makes a note to call VW John.

We slide through a line of people that stretches down the block. Bossman’s philosophy, “It’s not life or death, it’s lunch or dinner,” is evident at the front door, where surfers, tourists, and bikini-clad locals stand waiting to wrap their mouths around a humungous burger. This dive draws a crowd before they open their doors.

Inside, surf tunes of the Sonics, Surfaris, and Dick Dale play loudly. Jeremy Diem, general manager for the past 12 years, joins us at a table for four. He insists I order anything I want. “We’re going to treat you like a rock star,” Shane says.

Jeremy describes his relationship with Mike and now Shane. “I took care of anything Bossman needed. I was his right hand. Mike always said he’d live to be a 112. He made it halfway.” I ask how Shane has changed since the death of his dad. Jeremy replies, “Shane’s been here from the beginning. You can see now he walks a little taller and greets more people. He’s learning the business.”

“It’s exactly six months to the day since my dad’s death,” Shane says. He talks about his transition from son to boss, his concerns of taking over responsibilities from the guy who pretty much invented the job. “I take it one day at a time. My dad’s job was to be himself. He always said, ‘Hodad’s my livelihood, not my life.’”

Before leaving, I ask for a scoop, some kind of insider information. Shane scratches his head and says, “You know the Blue Jay burger you ordered — the one with blue cheese and grilled onion?” Shane looks around the room as if he has a secret and says, “It’s named after our downtown landlord, a super amazing guy. His kids’ names all start with ‘J’ and they love blue cheese! They scored free Hodad’s for life.”

“Is that it?”

“There’s one more: I’m throwing out the first pitch at the Padres game on September 30, my dad’s birthday. We’re renting five suites at Petco Park for our employees, and we’re closing our restaurants to celebrate his life.”

This isn’t the only time a Hardin has thrown out the first pitch, but it will be the first time Shane, as owner of Hodad’s, has taken the mound.

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Shane Hardin's taken a note to fix up the bus
Shane Hardin's taken a note to fix up the bus
Place

Hodad's

5010 Newport Avenue, San Diego

On August 5, I eye two men from outside Hodad’s in Ocean Beach (they also have a downtown location). They polish off their bacon doubles beneath a painted mural of a burger surfing the curl with a hodad hitchin’ a ride on a bun. When I ask where they’re from, one replies, “Imperial Valley. We drove 170 miles ’cause we had a taste for a Hodad’s.”

Almost 200 miles of driving led this Imperial Valley man to this moment
Come for the burgers, stay for the license plates...

I’d never entered Hodad’s before my interview with restaurant owner Shane Hardin, the late Mike “Bossman” Hardin’s 24-year-old son who is now Hodad’s third-generation restaurateur.

Shane meets me at the entrance and introduces himself. His demeanor: mellow, self-assured, soft-spoken, with a hint of shyness. A beard covers his young face, hidden in part by his shoulder-length strawberry-blond hair. His eyes are the color of the ocean and he’s grinning.

In the adjacent parking lot sits a purple, black, and white VW bus with six feet of cabin cut out of its middle. It’s got rust holes, is covered with stickers, has a Hodad’s logo on the window, and old surfboards on top. I ask, “What’s the story behind the bus?”

“Fifteen years ago, VW John hit up my dad. ‘I’m selling this bus. I’m thinkin it’s worth nine.’ Dad thought he meant $9000 and turned him down but found out the price was $900 and made the deal. It’s a shell now. The salt has gutted it. It just sits.” Shane talks about restoring it and makes a note to call VW John.

We slide through a line of people that stretches down the block. Bossman’s philosophy, “It’s not life or death, it’s lunch or dinner,” is evident at the front door, where surfers, tourists, and bikini-clad locals stand waiting to wrap their mouths around a humungous burger. This dive draws a crowd before they open their doors.

Inside, surf tunes of the Sonics, Surfaris, and Dick Dale play loudly. Jeremy Diem, general manager for the past 12 years, joins us at a table for four. He insists I order anything I want. “We’re going to treat you like a rock star,” Shane says.

Jeremy describes his relationship with Mike and now Shane. “I took care of anything Bossman needed. I was his right hand. Mike always said he’d live to be a 112. He made it halfway.” I ask how Shane has changed since the death of his dad. Jeremy replies, “Shane’s been here from the beginning. You can see now he walks a little taller and greets more people. He’s learning the business.”

“It’s exactly six months to the day since my dad’s death,” Shane says. He talks about his transition from son to boss, his concerns of taking over responsibilities from the guy who pretty much invented the job. “I take it one day at a time. My dad’s job was to be himself. He always said, ‘Hodad’s my livelihood, not my life.’”

Before leaving, I ask for a scoop, some kind of insider information. Shane scratches his head and says, “You know the Blue Jay burger you ordered — the one with blue cheese and grilled onion?” Shane looks around the room as if he has a secret and says, “It’s named after our downtown landlord, a super amazing guy. His kids’ names all start with ‘J’ and they love blue cheese! They scored free Hodad’s for life.”

“Is that it?”

“There’s one more: I’m throwing out the first pitch at the Padres game on September 30, my dad’s birthday. We’re renting five suites at Petco Park for our employees, and we’re closing our restaurants to celebrate his life.”

This isn’t the only time a Hardin has thrown out the first pitch, but it will be the first time Shane, as owner of Hodad’s, has taken the mound.

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Comments
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Love Hodads. You go Shane. Keep up the good work.

Aug. 20, 2015

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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