Mike Hardin, owner of Hodad’s, was found deceased in his hotel room last Thursday. Madera County police told Fox 5 San Diego that they suspected no foul play.
The San Diego Union Tribune (UT) reported the longtime restaurant owner to be visiting his daughter in Oregon. He had stopped at the Holiday Inn in Chowchilla, California to spend the night, reported NBC San Diego.
Patrons and Ocean Beach residents gathered to honor Hardin’s memory with flowers and posters placed outside the restaurant. Both restaurant locations, Ocean Beach and Downtown, were closed Friday and Saturday in remembrance of the owner’s passing. The restaurants had planned to close their doors Friday and Saturday to honor the passing of another former employee.
In a statement reported by the UT via the Hodad’s family website, “The Hodad’s family is completely devastated by the news of Mike Hardin’s untimely passing. We will remain closed until Sunday.”
The burger joint gained notoriety when Food Network star Guy Fieri, host of “Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives” visited in 2007.
“Mike was one of the most generous people I have ever known and he embraced life with a tremendous amount of appreciation,” Fieri said in an email to the UT.
Although Hardin’s son, Shane, is involved in the business, the UT reported that it is still unclear who will take over.