Owner of iconic Ocean Beach burger joint dies

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SAN DIEGO – Mike Hardin, the owner of iconic Ocean Beach burger restaurant Hodad’s, has died.

Hardin's body was found in a hotel in Fresno on Thursday, according to the OB Rag. The cause of his death was not yet known. He was 55 years old, the community paper reported.

In observance of his death, the restaurant will be closed Friday and Saturday, but will reopen Sunday.

Hardin's death comes soon after the death of former Hodad’s employee Kyle Witkowski, who died Jan. 3 when his vehicle went over the side of a cliff.

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  • Alycia

    This is so sad to hear we were just there towards the middle of last month and he seemed fine he was smiling and happy. My heart breaks for the employees at hodads and to the families of both gentlemen who passed very sad day

  • Hannah Ewing

    I am so saddened go hear this news. He was like a father to me. I am very close to his son Shane’s age. I remember once he came to my junior high and picked my friend and I up at school in his Hodad’s VW bus and took us to OB. We used to do our homework at Hodads everyday. I will miss him so much!

    • Pat

      Onelove doesn’t sound like something Mike, my friend of 40 years would say. Never heard a racist word come out of his mouth. He was kind to everyone and treated everyone equal.

      • Bill

        Pat you are right. No way would mike say something like that. I will miss him as I do his parents. Long live Hodads! Michigan is a long way from OB but it has never left my heart. It is a sad day to lose such a good friend

    • Joe

      Guaranteed that is a lie. New Mike and I never once heard anything remotely racist come out of his mouth. RIP Mike

    • Janae

      One Love- first of all Mike would never say such a racist remark and secondly you user name “0ne love# is a song from Marley about everyone living each other we all are equal so you need to change your name out of respect for the songs meaning!

      Mike was kind to all, no prejudice he will be missed by all-including me a “SiSTA”


      Actually, BOSSMAN Is a friend of mine and he said the same in my presents but it was just in jest and he did not say it to be mean and the person he said it too was a friend of his and they had a long running inside joke between them. He would never say something like that to be mean. RIP BOSSMAN I LOVE AND MISS YOU DEARLY.

  • BJ

    What will we do without him, he was one of a kind and made Hodad’s what it was!!!!Rest In Peace Mike and hope you find peace wherever you have gone to that big Hodad’s in the sky ( they need burgers too!!) I’m sure the restaurant will reopen, but without you at the helm and walking around talking and just your laugh, smile and how he made people feel in there, it was pure MAGIC, pure magic, people lie him don’t come along very often and when they do, they make a mark on other people’s lives, and he made his on plenty from all over San Diego and California!!!!To your family, Friends and all the Hodad family, my heartfelt Condolences go out to you all!!!!One of a kind man, person, father!!!!

  • diana kay

    My heart hurts, and goes out to their families and the Hodad’s family…my husband and I have gone there for 30 years. Kyle was amazing, too, and they both will be greatly missed. Words just don’t cut it right now…

  • Anon

    Shane was always a spoiled little douche bag and bully. However, his father was a genuine and kind person whenever I spoke with him, and Hodads has been a San Diego fixture. Sad news and even Shane doesn’t deserve this.

    • max.westfall@gmail.com

      Hey ANON, Shane is a great friend of mine and if you had some balls you’d post your real name. I’d love to kick your teeth in you worthless troll.

    • Johna Leathers

      Shane was always very nice to be when we went to school together and I was be no means popular. I can only imagine how lovely his father was as I never met him. I enjoyed going to hodads when the lines were short enough to get it. The people are friendly and the food is yummy. I hope Mike’s legacy will go on through his children and through the company.
      I understand how it feels to lose a father and insulting someone during one of the toughest times in their lives is absolutely horrible. You really should be ashamed of yourself and I hope you never have to go through such heartbreak. I wish Shane and his family the best during this translational period and know that they are never alone.

  • Liz O'neill

    This is very sad news. Mike performed my husband’s and my wedding ceremony. He was a good friend to many and a kind hearted man. He presence will be missed.

  • dee Snutz

    Why is it that every news story about this dude dying includes a sentence about Kyle, his employee dying as well? In every one, it says that he went over the side of a cliff or he had a car accident? It’s not an accident when you drive off of a cliff going 80 while trying to commit murder/suicide. I’m just glad that his girlfriend survived. P.S. this dude was a dick too. Who’s going to support the assaulting of the homeless in O.B. now?

    • Christo

      That’s not the Mike I know. The Mike I know paid a local homeless man to sweep the front of Hodads. The Mike I know gave a hand up to many teenagers- showing them respect and giving them a chance to earn a decent living. The Mike I know was gracious and kind.

  • 1502wood

    Rip bossman.
    Ill never forget the time when there was a homeless teenager asking for food outside of hodads and the bossman told that ‘nigger troll’ that ob aint the place for his kind. That was mighty white of you sir. We lost a good soldier. You will be missed.

  • Denise seymour

    I had the pleasure of meeting Mike just by chance. We were sitting beside each other at a bar in Borrego Springs, he was having a burger ;) We were making friendly conversation and he told me he loved getting out to the desert. It was Autumn and I was over there showing my friend from Colorado the metal sculptures placed throughout the desert. I asked Mike where he was from and he said Point Loma and I was like hey, we live in OB. At some point he told me he own Hodad’s .He showed me the tattoo of Guy Fiero on his leg , we talked about his new restaurant and when Petco told him they wanted Hodad’s there. He was reluctant to expand there but when they agreed to his terms to use only “his people ” and run it his way, he went for it. As we were leaving he handed my out of town friend his business card with “good for 3 meals ” written on the back.
    It was such a pleasure to meet Mike. He was a kind , intelligent guy and will be missed by so many. My heart dropped when I heard the news. My condolences to his children and family. Thanks Mike and may you rest in peace.
    Denise Seymour

  • MB

    Lets just say that like everyone Mike was complex, And no we didn’t tolerate homeless trolls in O.B. 1502 forever!

  • Jamie Mehan

    I’m just broke down-His Dad and Mom called me son back in 79. and we used to hang out at the fire rings together with all the surfers and play music and sing and party. Back when Hodad’s was a shack next to the lifeguard station, they used to feed me during the lean times. I’ll miss him. xoxoxoxo

  • Jann

    Mike was at a recent restaurant event at the San Diego Convention Center where I questioned his
    entry due to his appearance, compared to that of the other 2,000 attendees. After talking together for several minutes, I apologized for misreading him and “judging a book by it’s cover”. He was such a sincere and genuine guy…he graciously handed me a business card with his signature awarding me a complimentary meal with drinks for two. Now who does that these days…only a hell of a nice guy!!!

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