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Barrio Logan’s Indie Burger Star Strikes Again

Hayes Burger set to open second location—plus Blind Lady Ale House turns 15 & Roman Wolves comes to Little Italy
Barrio Logan's Hayes Burger
Courtesy of Hayes Burger

More burgers for all! Barrio Logan favorite Hayes Burger is opening its second location at 3460 Adams Avenue in Normal Heights in late February. Hayes Burger opened its doors in summer 2020—smack in the middle of the pandemic—and quickly earned a cult following, even earning a top spot on our “Best Of” list for 2022. This new outpost will replace Young Cluck, a Southern-inspired fried chicken and breakfast spot that opened last summer. 

At first glance, Hayes’ menu looks eerily similar to In-N-Out’s minimalistic one—basic burgers and fries made fresh. That’s where the similarity ends (and I promise that’s the last time I ever mention the two in the same sentence again). Directly adjacent to a freeway on-ramp and across from Chicano Park, the unassuming and graffiti-covered storefront has become a staple of the community, inspiring collaborations, pop-ups, and other events with local DJs, artists, and creatives. 

But it’s their food that keeps people like me coming again and again. Smashburgers are the burger of the year, and for good reason. Their simple, fresh take on the classic burger means there aren’t any tricks or gimmicks to hide behind—just crisp lettuce, well-seasoned meat, and fries dipped in their signature jalapeno-infused ketchup for an extra kick.

You can gussy up your order a little bit, like adding chopped chiles to your burger or fries, but that’s about as far as the customization goes. But honestly, their burgers are as dialed in as a burger can be. Why mess with perfection?

San Diego Restaurant News & Food Events

Tomorrow, January 30, marks 15 years of Blind Lady Ale House in Normal Heights. (Technically they secretly opened a few weeks before that, but we’ll keep things official.) Co-owner Jeff Motch promises they’ll “start the celebration with something kinda weird,” so keep an eye on their Instagram for more details on that, plus more events like an upcoming Cantillon Kriek keg tap, vegan pizza collaboration with nearby vegan powerhouse Kindred, and their infamous annual Cape Run on February 10.

With help from The Mental Bar, Black San Diego, and Pillars of the Community, Encanto’s Black Arts & Culture District is launching the first Daygo Eatz event on February 18. The goal of the event is to celebrate Black History Month and the area’s culture through food, art, live entertainment, as well as to directly support local businesses who were affected by recent flooding. For more information and event updates, visit The Mental Bar’s website.

Beth’s Bites

I haven’t been to Rome since 2005, but I plan to get a taste of it when Roman Wolves opens in Little Italy in February. Bury me in carbonara, I’ll be eternally happy.  

Stone Brewing is teaming up with Del Taco to create a limited-edition beer-battered fish taco made with Stone’s Buenaveza salt and lime Mexican lager. It’s no Rubio’s, but I’ve never said no to a fish taco (or a beer, for that matter). 

I’m a bonafide heat freak and am always on the lookout for new hot sauces to douse my tongue in. One of my favorites is Oceanside’s Down to Ferment (yes, I see the initials), who incorporate kombucha instead of vinegar into their creations. I’m obsessed with their Smokin’ Hot Date flavor, made with Fresno peppers, Morita chiles, Guajillo chiles, and finished with a dash of Medjool dates. It’s not extreme on the Scoville scale, but flavorful enough to keep me salivating. 

By Beth Demmon

Beth Demmon is an award-winning writer and podcaster whose work regularly appears in national outlets and San Diego Magazine. Her first book, The Beer Lover's Guide to Cider, is now available. Find out more on

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