Hodad’s 50th anniversary will celebrate ‘Bossman Day’
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 09/15/19 - 10:30 AM | 2059 views | 2 2 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The late Mike ‘Bossman’ Hardin with son Shane and daughter Lexi at Petco Park.
The late Mike ‘Bossman’ Hardin with son Shane and daughter Lexi at Petco Park.
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The late Mike ‘Bossman’ Hardin in front of Hodad’s in Ocean Beach.
The late Mike ‘Bossman’ Hardin in front of Hodad’s in Ocean Beach.
slideshow
This year Hodad’s fans are getting a double treat: a celebration of the iconic restaurant’s 50th anniversary, and a birthday remembrance for late family patriarch Mike Harden.

Both will occur on “Bossman Day,” Monday, Sept. 30 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at OB Pier parking lot. Festivities will include live bands, food, a skateboard ramp, brews, booths and a kids zone.

Mike “Bossman” Hardin died Feb. 5, 2015. He was the unofficial mayor and “burgermeister” of Ocean Beach. 

Mike’s parents opened the iconic Hodad’s burger restaurant in OB in 1960. He took over in the 1980s, expanding to a second venue downtown and a third in Petco Park. 

Since Bossman’s death, Hodad’s president/CEO Jeremy Diem said the company has observed a customer appreciation day at the end of every busy summer.

“We were always closed Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter, then we decided to have Bossman Day for employees, where we would shut down for a day after summer and treat all the employees to something special,” he said.

This year’s celebration will be one of a kind.

“Our 50th anniversary was actually July 5,” said Diem noting there was no way the City was going to allow OB Pier parking lot to be closed on a holiday weekend. So the question then became, what would be the best date to observe both their 50th anniversary and Bossman's life.

“Somebody suggested we make it Feb. 5,” said Diem. “But we preferred to do it the day he came into the world (Sept. 30).”

Since this year was their 50th anniversary, Diem said the company decided to open up Bossman Day to everyone, not just employees. 

Diem promised Bossman Day won’t disappoint.

“The mayor is going to come and give a proclamation for Bossman Day in the City,” he said. “We’re going to have 10 different bands playing. We’ll have a beer gardens with Hodad’s own brews, a bouncy house and skate ramps and some vendor booths.”

Diem said there will be a $10 entry fee for Bossman Day. Once inside, Hodad’s brews and sliders will be available for $5.

Hodad’s name is derived from the 1950s beach term for surfer wannabes who were into cars, music and counterculture style. Begun in 1969 by Hardin’s parents, Byron and Virginia, they purchased both the business and its name. The restaurant was initially on the beach at the end of Santa Monica Avenue. 

In 1991, after several moves, Hodad’s opened on Newport Avenue where it is today.

The eatery’s ambiance is eclectic. License plates from all over the planet dot the walls. There are also historic pictures; lots of beach memorabilia and picnic tables with surfboard-shaped seats. A giant menu board over the customer counter proclaims “99 Gazillion sold.”

Mike’s son, and Hodad’s third-generation restauranteur, Shane Hardin, now runs the family owned and operated restaurant-microbrewery business.

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