Being a reporter has provided many opportunities to meet interesting San Diegans. One such person who always comes to mind is the late Mike “Bossman” Hardin who owned legendary burger joint, Hodad’s, in Ocean Beach (OB) and downtown. I sat down with “the unofficial mayor of OB” in 2011 over burgers, fries and chocolate malts to talk about life, business and burgers. Mike was a bit of a local celebrity because of his larger-than-life personality and involvement in the community. We chatted for over two hours and I learned that he was a genuinely wonderful person with a lot of love for his children and all of his employees. Business exploded at Hodad’s after popular Food Network show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives brought Guy Fieri into the restaurant. Since Mike’s death last year, business hasn’t slowed down at Hodad’s – in fact, there’s still a line out the door most days at the original OB location. I like to order the cheeseburger basket with fries (they’re more like potato wedges) or onion rings, and a milkshake for old times’ sake. And in case you’re wondering, a hodad is a non-surfer who spends time at beaches masquerading as a surfer.
Once you’re overly full and wish you’d gotten a smaller-sized burger, walk a couple blocks over to the OB Pier, the second-longest pier on the west coast that extends 1,971 feet out into the water. It’s a favorite spot among fishermen, but it’s also a nice place to take a stroll and enjoy the ocean view. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the pier, so special festivities are planned throughout 2016. Bring your sunglasses and admire the surfers below, or take a seat on the pier to people-watch — after all, the local motto is “Keep OB Weird.”