Review by: Michael Stern

Awe-Inspiring Burgers

Hodad’s motto: “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem!” It’s the only correct attitude for eating epic burgers by the beach.

Here you find the definitive Southern California beachside burger joint, serving truly amazing hamburgers. They come 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. The double, which consists of two good-size patties, staggers your appetite. They deliver it 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.” Frankly, we suggest that unless you suffer from garnish or condiment allergies, all the way is the only way to go.

How To Eat An Epic Burger

The epic burgers come partially wrapped in yellow wax paper. The paper provides a way to hoist them from the table and to keep them relatively together as you try to eat. “That paper is your burger trough,” proprietor Mike Hardin told us many years ago. (Hardin passed away in 2015.) He said, “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 pointed around the dining room at veteran customers wolfing down not merely huge hamburgers, but doubles. He noted that experts all eat their Hodad hamburgers the same way. Grasping it by the paper-covered part, they gingerly rotate them around within the wrapper. Most important of all, they never let go of their burger once they hoist it from its plastic-weave basket.

“Eat your onion rings and French fries first. Drink your milk shake. Do whatever else you have to do,” Mike explained. “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.

Extremely Local Color

Just getting to Hodad’s provides pre-burger entertainment. Lined with palm trees, and with a gorgeous ocean view, Newport Avenue radiates beachside spirit. Here you find surf shops, alternative hair salons, juice bars, and high-proof bars.

Hodad’s fits right in! Vanity license plates from around the nation festoon its walls. Surfboards hang above the dining room. Seating includes hard wood booths and a counter along the wall with stools. The front of an old VW Microbus serves as the best seat in the house.

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

Directions & Hours

11am - 9pm
  • Monday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM

What To Eat

Double Bacon Cheeseburger Basket

Milk Shake


Hodad’s Recipes


What do you think of Hodad’s?

One Response to “Hodad’s”


March 24th, 2022

I have eaten in some great places in California, there burgers are awesome!



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