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Hodad's Downtown San Diego

Signs are now up for the Hodad's location that will be opening on the corner of 10th and Broadway downtown.

A very surprising spot, since Hodad's has always been synonymous with OB's beach culture. Can't imagine that it will be an easy transplant to a downtown location just next door to Chee-Chee's.

It is only a few blocks away from Pokez and El Dorado, so if it succeeds it could play a nice part in helping transform that section of Broadway. Much in the same way that 30th and University in North Park had a quick overhaul due to the bars and restaurants who took the risk in setting up shop over there.

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  1. All that Food TV exposure must have really paid off...in more ways than one!

    1. Mediocrity marches on.

      1. San Diego is non-stop burger joints these days.

        7 Replies
        1. re: stevewag23

          I hereby retract my post a few months ago which suggested you may have been exaggerating about burger joint proliferation.

          What neighborhood would one call 10th & Broadway? A map I saw suggests it is "Core - Columbia", which is something you don't hear very often.

          1. re: RB Hound

            "I hereby retract my post a few months ago which suggested you may have been exaggerating about burger joint proliferation."

            I got my finger on the pulse, so to speak.

            "What neighborhood would one call 10th & Broadway? A map I saw suggests it is "Core - Columbia", which is something you don't hear very often."

            East Village?

            I am sure if we give the real estate brokers some time they will come up with something ludicrous.

            Maybe "Bel Air Broadway" or "Beverly Hills Broadway" or "Soho San Diego" or something.

              1. re: stevewag23

                East Village is a made up name. The area is and has been known by San Diegans who are interested in an authentic SD as the warehouse district... but the developers and new residents moving in didn't like the ring of that.... so they came up with this silly moniker East Village.. WTF is that supposed to mean? Whatever....I am surprised Hodad's is opening outside of a beach area tho.

            1. re: stevewag23

              "San Diego is non-stop burger joints these days."

              This is happening in other cities across the country. Just returned from Scottsdale on a business trip and was pretty surprise at the number of burger joints, faux upscale, popping up there.

              1. re: globocity

                Not surprising. I think it is kind of a down economy thing.

                Scottsdale and San Diego actually seem to run parallel on trends.

                1. re: stevewag23

                  "Scottsdale and San Diego actually seem to run parallel on trends."
                  I agree. In fact, most of the people standing in line at places like Hodad's and Kono's are Arizonans.
                  Maybe someday I'll cease to be amazed by the sheer number of crowds patronizing a restaurant purely based on hype.

            2. Isn't anyone coming to Hodad's' defense here? I think they do an excellent burger, and I like the idea of not having to haul out to OB to get it. GF isn't much of a burger fan, but she'll go with me to Hodad's.

              16 Replies
              1. re: Steve Green

                Why would I come to their defense?

                Commodity meat - strike 1
                Commodity bread - strike 2

                There's nothing distinctive about their product at all, unless you consider super-thick slices of tomato and onion such that you cannot fit the burger in your mouth distinctive.

                It's a place to get a decent burger if you're in OB. I see no difference between them and any other place selling CAFO-raised commodity beef burgers.

                1. re: Josh

                  To me, it's just a very tasty burger, notwithstanding its lack of pedigree. I _like_ the large amounts of tomato, lettuce, and onion. YMMV.

                  1. re: Steve Green

                    I think Hodad's fits a specific market. Half your Chowhounds on here would suggest you hop on a plane to L.A., San Fran, or N.Y. for dinner rather than eat in San Diego, so I'd clearly not expect them to revel in the hype that is Hodad's. For the rest of us however..Hodad's is Hodad's and we love it for that reason.
                    Regarding a second location? Who know it could severely tarnish the "style" and atmosphere that OB has afforded them...or it could add a new element. either way...
                    I'm always game for a periodic trip to Hodad's.

                    1. re: Josh


                      Have you been to O'brothers yet?

                      I haven't, but I friend did and claimed its better than burger lounge.

                      Grass fed.

                      1. re: stevewag23

                        Not grass fed, organic. Still grain fed, so not a place I'm interested in.

                        1. re: stevewag23

                          I just ate at O'Brothers yesterday. Not bad. Haven't been to Burger Lounge yet so I can't give a comparison, though. They did have a nice selection of organic beers -- too bad I had to go back to work after lunch or I might have tried one.

                          Looks like their beef is locally-grown and comes from Homegrown Meats in La Jolla (whose website is all about grass-fed beef ... if this isn't grass-fed, then Homegrown has a different line of local organic beef to sell to restaurants?). Confusing.

                          Not cheap, but I'll probably be back.

                          1. re: The Office Goat

                            If they're using Homegrown, then that is a big change from what they were selling before - though it should be noted that not all the beef Homegrown sells is from Palomar. They also deal in USDA Prime, which is still corn fed. At Homegrown you have to ask specifically for the local Palomar stuff, which is grass-fed.

                            1. re: Josh

                              I'm no expert on any of this, I'm just going off what's on the front page of their website:

                              'Our beef is born and raised here in San Diego (in the vibrant, oak-lined meadows of Palomar mountain), the cheese is made here in Petaluma, CA. Buns come from here in Boulder, CO."

                              ^^And the "here" linked above for the beef is to Homegrown's front page.

                              1. re: The Office Goat

                                Good to know. Sounds like they changed since opening, since they definitely weren't doing that at the outset. I will definitely make it a point to check them out.

                                1. re: Josh

                                  They are no longer using Homegrown Meats. As I was told today by the owner, "[they] just won't bring the price down enough for me." They're currently using grain-finished beef, but I don't recall the source. O'Brothers should probably update their website.

                                  188 Horton Plaza, San Diego, CA

                                  1. re: Señor Andy

                                    Josh will be thrilled to know that.

                                    1. re: cstr

                                      Yeah, they're off the xmas card list for sure.

                    2. re: Josh

                      I find Hodads to have a very good burger. I appreciate the large slice of Tomato on a burger. I wish the fries were smaller and not so wedgy. They also have a great shake.

                      I find burger lounge burgers to lack tast.

                      1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                        I dunno - to me Burger Lounge's burgers taste like beef, as opposed to ketchup and onion.

                        1. re: Josh

                          We recently went to the station and I found their burgers to very good and they had a good beer selection too.

                          1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                            I like the veggie burgers there. Commodity meat, alas.

                  2. there'll be plenty of burgers in the area what with Neighborhood and C Star within walking distance of that location...

                    1. To shift gears a bit, has anyone been to the Counter up in the CB forum? I have not as of yet, cuz I just don't want to step foot in the mall until after Christmas. I know its a chain from L.A. and I guess it more direct competition would be Burger Lounge down here. Yeah there will be a burger joint on every corner along with a Cohn restaurant.

                      1. I was at Hodad's on sunday, my huband loves it. I'm not a big fan but I'll tolerate it every once in a while. I do love their chocolate malt and onion rings though. What my husband loves about Hodad's is the bacon on their bacon cheesburger. It is always crisp, never soggy or stringy, and there is bacon in every bite of the burger.

                        I have also been to burger lounge and found no reason to ever return.

                        How about Cheeburger-Cheeburger, off carmel mtn road on the 15? I was really happy with them and at least their beef is "all-natural".

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: tanne

                          The bacon is really the only reason I would consider going to Hodad's if I was in the mood for a local burger. They give a generous amount and it is pretty damn good bacon. Rocky's doesn't have bacon, not sure if Burger Lounge does.

                          1. re: MrKrispy

                            C Star will serve bacon with their burger and its damn good

                          2. re: tanne

                            "all-natural" pretty much only means that they don't feed them other cows (like they did in England (and other parts of Europe) but for me the big difference in taste is between grass-fed and corn-fed. I try to use as much grass-fed beef as possible at home and had just yesterday the grass-fed braised short-ribs at Linkery and I like that you really can taste beef (like you would get in Europe where you mainly get grass-fed Argentinian beef) and not just some buttery/watery something from corn-fed beef. Same for burgers from corn-fed beef (like In-n-Out) which are good for people who don't like the taste of real beef.

                          3. IMHO there is simply no way that the Hodad's burger competes with either Neighborhood or C Star (particulalry the latter)

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: ibstatguy

                              I haven't had the Cowboy Star burger, but I would imagine that it's great, given the quality of the meat they have there.

                              As for Neighborhood, I like the quality there. But, I have a love/hate relationship with the place. The "no ketchup" policy is beyond stupid. It does detract me from going there. But the burgers are delicious. The other thing that gets me is the bread they use. I'm not big on the ciabatta type rolls for burgers. I need a nice and light bun.

                              But the big strike for me against Neighborhood is that the taps there are very rarely "fresh" tasting. It definitely varies, but for the hoppy beers that they get on tap, the pints I get of the usual brands don't taste quite as fresh as most of the other spots I like around town. But, that's to be expected, because you have to really watch those kegs and tap lines if you're gonna put 15+ taps up on the wall. Because the majority of customers are going to be going for Stella and the usual stuff. For a place like that, they'd be better off with 5 taps, which they can consistently change out. For many beers, the taste of an "old" keg isn't noticeable, but for hoppy beers it is.

                              Anyway, for the great big San Diego burger showdown, I am a Rocky's kind of guy. Commodity beef or not. Hodad's I could take or leave. It's good, but I'd rather have in-n-out than trek out to OB to get it. Having it downtown would change my opinion because that would make it something I could get everyday if I wanted to.

                              Because, in truth, I don't make it to either Hodad's or Rocky's except maybe once a year. The majority of burgers I end up eating are at the places closer to wear I live, or at places where I can get a drink and have a nice night without having to slum it in a bar or compete with the hipness. Give me a good burger at Kensington Grill, Urban Solace, Alchemy, etc. and I am very happy.

                              1. re: cookieshoes

                                Cowboy star is a good burger.

                                Neighborhood is a good burger too, but the service sucks. Haven't been back since.

                                In today's recession Diego there are too many burger joints (4 on every corner) to go to one with bad service.

                                Maybe san diego is becoming the burger capital of the world!

                                1. re: stevewag23

                                  "Neighborhood is a good burger too, but the service sucks."

                                  I find this same crappy service goes beyond SD restaurants.

                                  In particular, two unnamed (read: North Park and Golden Hill) independent coffee shops have a few baristas/cashiers who act either 1: bored 2: disinterested 3: annoyed 4: all of the above. Have they mistaken these neighborhoods for the Upper East Side, or heck, even Silver Lake? Why the attitude?!

                                  1. re: globocity

                                    In my experience, 90% of baristas and cashiers in the whole world act bored, disinterested or annoyed. About the same in North Park and Golden Hill.

                                    1. re: juantanamera

                                      In my experience, 95% of baristas and cashiers in North Park and Golden Hill act bored, disinterested or annoyed.

                                      1. re: stevewag23

                                        Yeah, that's certainly within the margin of error.

                                  2. re: stevewag23

                                    Ive always had good service at Neighborhood if a little slow when it gets crowded. Bartenders have always been willing to pour samples and the waitresses have been friendly at the tables.

                                    Last time we were there they forgot to not put cheese on the sweet potato fries, apologized profusely when they replaced it and gave the plate to the table next to us so as not to waste it.

                              2. I was in OB on Saturday at about 2pm, wanted a burger so I swung by Hodad's. There was a line of about 40 people. I did not stop.

                                I'd say another location would be a good idea.

                                26 Replies
                                1. re: thirtyeyes

                                  The line can be intimidating, but it does move. If you are a single, it can move even quicker.

                                  1. re: thirtyeyes

                                    Waste of time. Completely overrated.

                                      1. re: Josh

                                        Well, I've tried to eat there 4 times and at each visit the line was so long I wandered along. While I am eager to jump on the chowhound bandwagon and say Hodad's is overrated and suggest that anybody who wants a great hamburger should fly to another city, I have been unable to do so due to the colossal line. If Hodad's is so overrated someone should tell the hoards that descend upon it every day. I imagine Hodad's is quite pleased with its mediocrity.

                                        1. re: thirtyeyes

                                          By that logic the lines at McDonalds make it even better than Hodads...

                                          On a more helpful note, if you want to try Hodads - order by phone, walk past the line and pick it up to eat on the wall by the beach. While I enjoy the bacon cheeseburgers there, I think the shakes and onion rings are the best part of the meal.

                                          1. re: thirtyeyes

                                            "the hoards that descend upon it every day"

                                            A little tip:

                                            If you see "hoards" in America, think of it as a red flag.

                                            1. re: stevewag23

                                              Good call, because the rest of the world has no large parts of the population that eat fast-food or at overrated restaurants.

                                              1. re: MrKrispy

                                                I saw hordes in Europe, but they were eating at good restaurants.

                                                Popularity in America rarely seems to be driven by quality, at least that's how I see it. Maybe that's changing.

                                                EDIT: Bear in mind, I'm not saying this is always the case. But it's the case often enough that it takes a lot more than seeing a mob going for something for me to want to try it.

                                            2. re: thirtyeyes

                                              That's funny, because I can't recall anyone suggesting flying to another city for a hamburger. Perhaps you would be so kind as to cite the thread where you saw this recommendation?

                                              I lived in OB for many years, before Hodad's was hyped by Guy Fieri, and ate there countless times. The best it ever achieved was a place to get a decent burger. The only thing they did better than anyone else was their bacon, which is still pretty unique. If you want a burger that is WAY better than Hodad's, without waiting in line, you could try Farmhouse Cafe, Alchemy, or Toronado. All three of those places have really good burgers, and no line to get in.

                                              Myself, I can't wait to eat at the Cheesecake Factory at Fashion Valley mall. The lines there are huge! I mean, almost any time I drive by there's a big crowd of people waiting, and as any Chowhound knows, if people are waiting in line for something it's obviously great and awesome!

                                              1. re: thirtyeyes

                                                True story:

                                                Olive Garden in Sports Arena has some of the biggest lines in san diego.

                                                1. re: stevewag23

                                                  I usually make my reservations there a week or two in advance.

                                                2. re: thirtyeyes

                                                  No surprise to most that I am not a native San Diegan, and I must say I quickly came to the realization that San Diego was a noticeable step down from a culinary point of view from the San Francisco Bay area. However, I can’t understand the degree to which locals on this board disparage the local food scene. On several occasions members of this board have recommended that you need to actually LEAVE the San Diego area to achieve "chowish" food. So far, fine dining, dim sum, and I think Indian, so burgers were an attempt at a humorous extrapolation based on the ridiculous opinions already stated on this board.

                                                  If one were to compare the physical size of Hodad’s to the size and frequency of its line, then one would have to admit that there’s something going on there. No McDonalds, no Olive Garden (haven’t been in about 10 years), No Cheesecake Factory, that I’ve ever visited or driven by has ever had such a large and constant line, and certainly not in this economy. I will repeat that the owners of Hodad’s are probably pleased as punch that the San Diego Chowhounds do not like Hodad’s as it appears that many of the more prolific poster’s food judgment is so out of line with the reality and tastes of the masses that they would surely go out of business if they received your endorsement. I imagine that’s a compliment to some, but that is not how it is intended.

                                                  @JRSD, an excellent suggestion, I will give it a try next time so that I can join the anti-Hodad's contingent and suggest San Diegans and visiters drive to Las Vegas for a great burger.

                                                  1. re: thirtyeyes

                                                    Hodad's epic line is a very recent development. They were featured on that Guy Fieri show, but they were also highlighted on CNN. Since then, the line has been what it is - which is to say that this is not a sign of people organically deciding this is something awesome I should eat, but people responding to hype. Hodad's has been churning out the same stuff for decades without that kind of popularity.

                                                    If the owners of Hodad's cared about putting out a high quality product, they would do so. That's not their business model. Their business model is selling cheap burgers to beach-goers.

                                                    I don't know why you believe that there's some magical thing you can do to the same beef and ingredients used at every other burger joint to make it taste mysteriously better in one locale over another, but you're welcome to this belief.

                                                    If you eat a really great burger (such as the one made from grass-fed beef at the Tasting Kitchen in Venice), and compare to Hodad's, I think your misconceptions will be made plain.

                                                    1. re: Josh

                                                      I don't know why you keep hyping grass fed beef since it is so lean the meat often turns out dry and chewy. Under cooking it is really the only way to make grass fed beef decent but most people want a juicy burger and to get that you have to have some fat in the meat. So, yes, grain finishing does make better beef as taste test after taste test prove.

                                                      It's a free world though so if you want to keep paying five times the price to get an inferior product I suppose that is your option. Just don't be surprised when other people don't agree with you.

                                                      1. re: oerdin

                                                        I cook grass-fed beef a lot, and don't find it to be dry or chewy. Perhaps you are doing it wrong?

                                                        I've also eaten it in restaurants, and not found it to be dry or chewy there, either. Of course, I also eat beef rare to medium-rare. If I insisted on having my meat ruined by ordering it or preparing it well-done, then maybe I wouldn't like grass-fed beef (Though corn-fed beef cooked to those temperatures is pretty terrible, too). One of the many benefits of grass-fed beef is that you can eat it cooked rare with impunity, since the strain of E. coli that is harmful to humans doesn't live in the rumens of grass-fed cattle.

                                                        Burger Lounge, Whole Foods, and Homegrown Meats get around the dryness issue by grinding some beef fat in with the meat to get a good ratio. This is a practice I've seen employed by a lot of places serving grass-fed beef burgers, and it works quite well.

                                                        Grain finishing tasting "better" is kind of an absurd claim, really. If you think about what you wrote there, there are all kinds of problems with your statement that you likely haven't thought about. For one, were these taste testers people who grew up eating corn-fed beef? If so, then how do you know they're not expressing a preference for the more familiar flavorlessness of grain-fed meat? I prefer the beefier taste of grass-fed. Am I wrong because people raised on commodity meat line up to eat it? Are we now going to play the "if it's popular it's good" game?

                                                        Lastly, taste isn't really the only issue here. Healthfulness is also something to consider. Omega 3 fatty acids are clearly better for human health than Omega 6 fatty acids, and grass-fed beef is rich in the former, while grain-fed beef is rich in the latter.

                                                        So if you add it all up, corn-fed beef is less healthy for us, it's bad for the environment, it's bad for the cows, and it is unsustainable. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

                                                        1. re: Josh

                                                          Word to the wise:

                                                          Don't mess with Josh on the "grass fed beef" topic.

                                                          1. re: stevewag23

                                                            No I just ignore him P:)

                                                            "I can’t understand the degree to which locals on this board disparage the local food scene."

                                                            i agree I'm on a lot of the boards as I travel for work and The SD board is very unique.

                                                            "On several occasions members of this board have recommended that you need to actually LEAVE the San Diego area to achieve "chowish" food. "

                                                            I would be one of those if you are talking about dropping $300 - $350 or above on dinner for two. At that price point I would and do drive to LA.

                                                        2. re: oerdin

                                                          Corn-fed beef has a more watered down taste whereas grass-fed beef has a natural beef taste. There is no doubt that grass-fed beef is a much better, natural taste. And cooked in the right way grass-fed beef is also not dry and chewy.
                                                          Most of the time when you get visitors from Europe eating beef in the US you often hear complains about hardly any beef flavor in beef and that it tastes flavorless because in many European countries Argentian beef (which is still mostly grass-fed but unfortunately that is changing) is been sold mainly.

                                                          1. re: oerdin

                                                            Thank you. Ihave tried to be politically correct and want to like grass fed, but it is tasteless. and dry.

                                                            1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                                                              See above. You're either cooking it incorrectly, or are eating at places cooking it incorrectly.

                                                          2. re: Josh

                                                            awww see now we have to leave San Diego to get a great burger

                                                            *wtf is wrong with the comment layouts lately???

                                                            1. re: MrKrispy

                                                              LOL. Not at all! Farmhouse Cafe's burger is really good - I'd say the best I've had here. That said, the one at Tasting Kitchen was absurdly good. It beat any burger I've had here by a mile. The meat they used was exemplary. Not sure where they got it, but it had the most intensely beefy flavor.

                                                            2. re: Josh

                                                              We have been going to Hoodads for years, before the TV hype, have you. They are a burger joint. They do not try to offer fine food or white table cloth atmosphere. My only complaint is that I do not like wedge fries, so I get the rings. They are an OB institutuion. Kind of like the Black.

                                                              1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                                                                I dig your post, spot on!

                                                                On the one hand, it is totally respectable and should be emulated, practicing locavorism, and the other isms...but on the other hand....

                                                                If you enjoy a Hodad's burger, no one can tell you not to enjoy it, or that you should have higher standards.

                                                                Grassfed beef is ok, but I LIKE Hodad's and am looking forward to a downtown location for a situation like jury duty or an errand that has me in the area.....would make a kickin' lunch/early dinner....the beef is juicy and flavorful, cooked right, the bacon puck is something that I have never experienced before or after(it's GOOOD)...and the personnel there always treat me right.

                                                                Started going in 1998, and there was usually a line there ESPECIALLY on weekends.

                                                                BTW, processed yellow cheese tastes good, and makes the BEST grilled cheese sandwich imo.....those of you beating on the poor slice need to lighten up and enjoy a little...put some bacon on it.

                                                                Best Regards,

                                                                STeven Garsson

                                                                Hodads Restaurant
                                                                5010 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

                                                            3. re: thirtyeyes

                                                              Oh, and also, there are many restaurants here that get their praises sung on this board. Perhaps you should spend some more time reading about them.

                                                    2. Love Hodads burgers and shakes...hate their nasty spice coated fries.YUCK!

                                                      Can you get normal fries at Hodads?

                                                      Hodads Restaurant
                                                      5010 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

                                                        1. A WDSD Profile by David Nelson

                                                          The drunk, combative homeless couple camped by the 10th Avenue side of the new Hodad's downtown painted a different kind of local color than that seen through the rose-colored glasses of enthusiasts of the original joint in Ocean Beach. http://wineanddinedeals.com/index.php...

                                                          Hodads Restaurant
                                                          5010 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

                                                          1. Just went two days ago. Very crowded. Uncomfortable seating, mostly communal tables so I took our food to go. Mediocre bun. Beef tasted at least ok, maybe good, not great. The reason the burger is so huge is double slices of both beefsteak tomatoes, and onions and a fair amount of lettuce. Had to remove one slice each onion and tomato to posssibly eat the thing!! On the other hand, absolutely loved the onion rings. The best in San Diego, imho.

                                                            As for grass versus grain fed beef. I am not doctrinaire about it at all. Organic, yes, grass versus grain no. However, that being said, in my many years, the VERY best beef I have ever had, bar none, was 100% organic, grass fed--and I know it had to be because I was living in and purchasing my beef in a country where there was no grain to feed the cattle and no money to buy hormones etc--Chad, in Africa. Has the rest of the world beat. Range fed, lean, and full of the best flavor ever. Easy to overcook and become too dry but the way the locals cooked on the meat, they either must have added some fat or slow cooked or something because it was extraordinary.