The iconic Ocean Beach restaurant at 5010 Newport Ave., whose name is derived from the 1950’s beach term for surfer wannabes and claims to have the “world’s best burger,” announced on Nov. 11 its latest venture into craft brewing. Those new brews are now available at all Hodad’s locations including Ocean Beach, downtown at 945 Broadway Ave., and in its locations in Petco Park during Padres games.
Jeremy Diem, Hodad’s president/CEO, said the crafting concept has been brewing for a couple of years. He said Hodad’s hops is the brainchild of an employee, cook Marlow Myrmo, who had been home-brewing.
“[Myrmo] came up to me and owner Shane Hardin and asked if we wanted to try some of his beer,” Diem said. “We said, ‘You bet.’ Once we’d had some we said, ‘Damn, this is good.’”
Diem quipped that after tossing back a couple more of Myrmo’s best, the idea of creating their own brewskis became even more attractive. “Who doesn’t love a burger and a beer?” he asked.
Then came a search for a proper brewing venue. Hodad’s existing locations are way too small to house the huge vats required, but a perfect spot was finally found on Aero Drive off Ruffin Road in Kearny Mesa.
“The landlord gave us a great deal,” said Diem, adding Hodad’s has also successfully negotiated a deal with the Sycuan Indian Reservation, to have brewery outlets incorporated into the tribe’s planned $230 million expansion of its existing East County hotel and casino.
Diem said there are no plans at present for tasting rooms, just to have Hodad’s brews sold in its own restaurant outlets.
Begun in 1969, Hodad’s, originally located on the beach at the end of Santa Monica Avenue, was purchased, both business and name, by Byron and Virginia Hardin. In 1991, after several moves, Hodad’s opened at its present location on Newport Avenue in the heart of Ocean Beach.
Two other locations, at 10th and Broadway in downtown San Diego and seasonally inside Petco Park, were opened later by burger legend Mike (Bossman) Hardin, who was known for having his moniker tattooed on his knuckles.
“Part of our success is that people see how genuine it is,” Bossman told the Peninsula Beacon in a feature story about the secret of his burger’s success. He counseled, “Do not ever squeeze the hamburger patty (containing all the flavorful juices). … “Most people put the patty on the bottom and all the fixings on top: That’s upside down. … “The way to do it is to put [fixings] on the bottom with the last thing being the shredded lettuce, and then you let all the juices from the burger go down through the lettuce to flavor everything.”
Bossman died of a heart attack in 2015 and the family business was passed down to his son, Shane.
The unofficial “Mayor of Ocean Beach,” Bossman was memorialized at a celebration of life at Petco Park’s Park in the Park.