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Review of Petco Park Hodad's, the PCL Bar and Grill and Hodad's Bacon Mini Cheeseburger

I ate this and it was delicious. That's the Mini.
I ate this and it was delicious. That's the Mini.

I finally got the chance to try out Hodad's at Petco Park on gameday. Sat down in the PCL Bar and Grill. At first we tried getting a table at the Hodad's restaurant (located just above the PCL Bar and Grill). Even though there was a hostess, she basically said that as soon as we spotted a table, we could sit down. She also said that we were free to walk down the stairs to try to find seating there. We were told that we weren't allowed to order the burgers to go, but if we wanted to order the burger at the bar and take the burger with us, nobody would really stop us.

We decided to walk down to the PCL Grill, which was a little less crowded than Hodad's itself and we found a table. Incidentally, though there's a hostess at both locations, it appears that the general rule is just to seat yourself, which is a little bit confusing. After walking downstairs from Hodad's to the PCL Grill, we noticed a line forming at the hostess station even though there were several tables available.

So... PROTIP: If it's just you and a friend, wander the seating area for one of many 2 person tables, or just pull up to the bar.

By the time we got to within 15 minutes of game time, the place was pretty well clearing out. So... PROTIP: If you're looking for a pre-game meal, shoot for a little more than an hour before gametime, or just show up after the game has started and you'll probably be fine.

On to the food...

Having been to Hodad's before, I knew the Mini would be just enough. The Single is a monster and I'm not sure who manages to eat the Double and a Basket of Fries. Find the full menu at our previous post.

Down in the PCL, you don't get quite the same ambiance as you do upstairs, though it was easier to find a table. Also, Bossman Mike was wandering around downstairs serving and checking in on customers, so seeing him gives you a little bit more of the Hodad's vibe. The rest of the servers in the PCL were in standard Padres blue as opposed to letting much more of the personality of Hodad's leak down to the first floor.

All in all: At $6.50, the Mini Bacon Cheeseburger is probably my favorite thing at the park. Fills you up even without the fries.

Do it yourself tip after the jump:

I went searching for the recipe for the bacon cheeseburger. If you haven't had it before, it's not just bacon topping a burger. It's a patty of bacon and a patty of burger (which is part of what makes even the Mini so intimidating). I found the recipe online, and added some notes here for the Do-It-Yourselfers and fans beyond San Diego who are looking to recreate this amazing culinary delight.

Hodad's Bacon Cheeseburger

Yield: Makes 4 burgers


  • 1¼ pounds lean bacon ends or thick-cut bacon (available at specialty butchers)
  • 8 slices American cheese
  • 11/3 pounds fresh ground beef chuck Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (5-inch) hamburger buns
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 8 onion slices, about ¼ inch thick
  • Ketchup
  • 8 dill pickle slices
  • 8 tomato slices, about ¼ inch thick
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  1. To make Hodad's bacon: roughly chop the bacon. Put in a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the bacon shreds easily, about 45 minutes. Drain. Chop the bacon and portion into 4 patties.

    The burger that I ate had pretty roughly chopped bacon patties, which makes me think that the second chopping step is optional

  2. Put the bacon patties on a hot griddle (or in a hot skillet) and cover with a griddle weight (or press repeatedly with a spatula). Cook until crisp. Flip over and cook until the second side is crisp as well. Remove the weight and place 2 slices of American cheese on each bacon patty.

    The crispness may be to taste, the bacon mini cheese at Petco was left somewhat fatty (which was perfectly fine by me).

  3. To make the burgers: Season the beef with salt and pepper and form into 4 patties. Heat a griddle or a large skillet. Cook the burgers to the desired degree of doneness.

  4. Toast the buns, opened and cut side down, on the griddle. Spread 2 teaspoons mayonnaise on each of the bottom buns and 2 teaspoons mustard on top. Grab 2 onion slices and build an onion tower on each bun. Top the onions with a squirt of ketchup. Place 2 pickle slices on the top of the tower. Next, put 2 tomato slices, then top the bottom bun off with a handful of shredded lettuce.

  5. Place the cheese-topped bacon patties on the burgers and cover each with a bun. Set the whole thing on top of the prepped bottom buns.

Original recipe found here.