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Bacon-avo burger from Hodad's in Edenvale

This Is the East: Hodad’s of Edenvale

Seventh in an occasional blog series called This Is the East, about hidden spots on Johannesburg’s East Rand. This edition features Hodad’s, a locally owned fast-food joint in Edenvale. I love supporting small, locally owned businesses that do their jobs better than big, international corporations. Hodad’s in Edenvale is a perfect example of this. Why would you buy a bland, assembly-line-style burger and fries from McDonald’s or Burger King when you can buy the same meal — only way better — from a charming, independently owned shop for basically the same price? Hell if I know. Go to Hodad’s. Hodad’s, Born in Edenvale Hodad’s is owned by a guy named Dylan, who used to work for Nando’s (a South African fast-food chicken restaurant) and hence ate chicken for lunch almost every day. After work Dylan often craved a good beef burger, and he went everywhere looking but couldn’t find one to his liking. Dylan swore to himself that if he ever opened his own restaurant, he would serve the best beef burgers in town. In 2014 Dylan opened Hodad’s, on a friendly little food strip in Van Riebeek Avenue, Edenvale’s main drag. And although Hodad’s does serve flame-grilled chicken, like Dylan’s old […]

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Quickie Restaurant Reviews: Hell’s Kitchen and Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar

Up until 18 months ago, the east side of the southernmost block on Melville’s 7th Street (between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue) was a merry-go-round of opening and closing restaurants and shops. During the six years that I’ve lived in Melville I remember (just off the top of my head) a combination-cupcake-flower shop, a Scottish kilt shop, a bead shop (which moved around the corner), a pizza place, a bland café, an antique shop, a print supply shop, and a bridal shop (where I never spotted a single bride, or even a customer, in the two-plus years it was there), all open and close on that small stretch of street. This is generally the way things roll in Melville. But that half a block has recently become a hotbed of culinary, rock-and-roll trendiness and I have high hopes that the shops and restaurants there now will hang around for a while. I happened to eat at two of the restaurants on that block this week, and thought I’d do quickie reviews of them both. Hell’s Kitchen Hell’s Kitchen was the first new place to move into the merry-go-round block in late 2014, along with Freedom Hair, which I’ve reviewed before. Hell’s Kitchen […]

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Pop-Up Burgers, Revisited

In August 2013 I stumbled upon a tiny pop-up burger joint on an unlikely street corner in downtown Johannesburg. The burger joint, BGR, was selling tasty burgers for the unlikely price of R10 (less than $1) or R27 for a burger/fries/drink combo. I wrote a blog post about it (read that post here). I never made it back to the BGR downtown pop-up; I’m not even sure how long it stayed there. But BGR came up in conversation every now and again after that. I learned at some point that BGR is owned by a couple of American guys named Josh and Jed, and that Josh and Jed had a plan to expand their concept for tasty, well-made, slightly-classier-than-fast-food-style hamburgers in Joburg. I think I have some friends in common with Josh and Jed but somehow we’ve never met. In January 2015 I heard that BGR had opened a new establishment — still temporary but slightly more permanent than a pop-up — at the Caltex petrol station on 172 Jan Smuts Avenue in Rosebank. I intended to go check it out immediately, but in the end it took me ten months. I finally tested out BGR’s “beta” restaurant today. BGR’s entrance at the back of the […]

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Spur logo

The Spur Burger: A South-African-Texan-Native-American Tradition

America has brought many great things to the world. Imagine life without the light bulb, the cotton gin, the automobile, or (gasp) Facebook. Even worse, imagine life without themed family restaurant chains! Okay, I can imagine the world without restaurant chains and I think it would be a pretty nice world. But anyway, America invented them and they’ve shaped modern life as it exists today. America is overrun with chains: T.G.I. Friday’s, Ruby Tuesday (we like to name our chains after days of the week), IHOP, Red Lobster, Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Chili’s…the list is never-ending. Such chains are successful in the U.S. because, in my opinion, Americans fear the culinary unknown. We like to know that no matter where we are in the country, we can always enjoy a Ruby Tuesday shrimp quesadilla for $8.99. The American passion for chain restaurants went global long ago, and South Africa was not spared. Spur Steak Ranches, founded in 1967, is one of the largest and most recognizable South African chains. According to their website there are nearly 300 Spurs worldwide. Every time I pass a Spur I chuckle at the logo, which shows an Indian chief in a feather headdress. I don’t associate Native […]

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