5010 Newport Ave.
To a purist, exotic burgers like the Australian-style burger served at North Park's The Linkery (see previous page) are akin to a Wolfgang Puck pizza. To wit, if I want Thai chicken, I'll order something other than pizza, thank you very much-or in this case, if I want fried egg and pineapple... well, you get the picture.
Burger purists seeking the best need look no further than Hodad's, an Ocean Beach institution since 1969. Hodad's serves huge burgers at small prices, top-notch milkshakes, a modest selection of local beer and killer fries. Hodad's also dishes out tuna sandwiches, BLTs, veggie and chicken burgers and the Unburger (cheeseburger, hold the meat) for the beef impaired.
The burgers are delicious, made from fresh ground beef that is delivered daily, cooked to order and topped with lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion (raw or grilled), mayo, mustard and ketchup. Hodad's also uses a variety of bacon that is meatier than most for their bacon-topped burgers and BLTs. The massive wedge-cut fries are coated with seasoned flour before frying, adding a wonderful flavor and texture.
Prices here range from $3 for a mini-hamburger up to $9.50 for a double bacon cheeseburger with fries. With prices like that, two people can easily dine here for less than $20 and leave satisfied. A mini-bacon-cheeseburger (not on the menu) with fries is more than enough for me and costs about $5. Make it two, throw in a real ice cream milkshake to share, and you're looking at a whopping $15.
Besides the food, something that sets Hodad's even further apart from the average burger joint is the ultra-casual beach vibe that permeates the place-it's not uncommon for one of the very friendly pierced and/or tattooed staffers to plop down at your table while taking your order. This vibe also manifests itself in the décor: risqué vanity plates sent in from all over the U.S. (CAML TOE, for instance), surfboards, a sawed off front end of a VW microbus converted to a dining booth and signs that read "No shirt, no shoes, no problem."