Another Kind of Mind-blowing Hash
by R.J. Villa
You wake up the morning after the evening; you and your friends decided to go big. Waking up with a monster appetite or varying levels of hangovers, none of you escape the craving for a solid and hearty meal. Perhaps a Bloody Mary or Mimosa to accompany the food will level you out. Maybe the Oâ€™Hare of the Dog is more your speed. Simplicity at its finest; a signature 24oz. Budweiser in a brown bag served with a side of bacon of course.
If you are savvy enough to navigate the parking gauntlet that is Hillcrest on the weekend, paired with maintaining an everything Zen-like patience as you wait for the hostess to call your name on a waitlist; one of San Diegoâ€™s best meals serves as your reward. The world famous Hash House A Go Go should be your destination.
â€œThere are serious waits on the weekends,â€ said Andy Beardslee, Executive Chef. â€œBut with all the bars and dispensaries within a couple blocks, IÂ donâ€™t think people mind so much!â€
Hash House A Go Go:
San Diego, Las Vegas and Beyond
The Hash House A Go Go will present you with some of the best eats you will ever come across. The patrons waiting patiently outside on crowded weekends are a testament to their ability to constantly meet their dinersâ€™ expectations. A personable staff, great music and stylish ambiance treat diners to an experience they will not soon forget. Their food is presented on massive oval plates and their hearty portions remain a challenge for even the heftiest of appetites. The descriptions of some of their dishes alone will trigger instant salivation. Just one look at their menu introduces you to their fresh take on wholesome farm food.
The Hash House Original Benedict contains a split fresh buttermilk biscuit, market tomato, spinach, and roasted red pepper cream, all topped with two basted farm eggs. Andyâ€™s Sage Fried Chicken comes with hardwood smoked bacon and waffles, crowned with fried leeks and a maple reduction. The Kokomo is their world famous meatloaf sandwich comprised of their signature griddled meatloaf with smoked mozzarella and roasted red peppers, all on fresh Amish style milk bread.
Their burgers are definitely worth mentioning. They serve one pound stuffed burgers, which are two patties with stuffing in between, served on a fresh bun with lettuce, tomato and red onion. Some of their tastiest burgers are the hardwood smoked bacon, avocado & cheddar burger, and their apple smoked bacon & mashed potatoes burger. Each comes with criss-cross fries.
They describe their unique style of cuisine as â€œTwisted Farm Food.â€ As your stomach can tell you from the menu items previously described in complete detail, the menu at the Hash House A Go Go is really unique. It has been over a decade now since their original location on 5th Avenue in Hillcrest began serving their twisted farm food. They first opened their doors on July 19, 2000. At the time of its founding, many believed it was a risky leap by the creators and founders President Johnny Rivera and his business partner and Executive Chef Craig â€œAndyâ€ Beardslee.
â€œWe had worked together for five years at a previous restaurant; that was 17 years ago,â€ recalled Rivera. â€œI was the restaurant manager and Andy the executive chef. When I was leaving that business, we got together for cocktails. Six to eight cocktails later we both made a promise to open a place together. That was back in 1996. A few years later in 1999, I found the Hillcrest location. Everybody said that this would be a challenging area. Organic farm food, big oval platesâ€¦People kept asking me, â€˜What are you doing?â€™ Within three weeks, we had to triple the workforce, and within four weeks we had a steady waitlist. It was received really well, very quickly. The organic ways and through metamorphosis with my partner, we realized that in six months we had written a hit single.â€
The single Rivera and Beardslee created was certainly a hit. In the following years, the Hash House A Go Go would continue to win award after award and be highlighted on national shows and publications. Rivera and Beardslee have seen their franchise expand to three locations in Las Vegas with another opening in Reno this April. The foundation of their success can be found in each of their own personal mission statements.
Rivera describes his as a continued mission to maintain a level of excitement and entertainment within the dining experience while ensuring excellent service, each and every day. Beardsleeâ€™s mission is to keep the fun in food while pulling from the experiences of farm fresh agriculture, live stock, and old recipes with a twist. â€œTwisted Farm Foodâ€ became their creation.
â€œItâ€™s Southern California fused with the agriculture of the Midwest,â€ Rivera explained. â€œThis was not contrived in a marketing department. Andy is from Milford, Indiana and Iâ€™m the Southern Californian. It was an organic idea. What we have done is morph these two entities in a Petri dish, and through natural osmosis, we created what we call twisted farm food. The idea all came from a natural source.â€
â€œThe menus I write come a lot from growing up in the Midwest,â€ said Beardslee. â€œGotta come hungry! You need big appetites for big food.â€
Together, their mission statements, creativity and restaurant concept has continued to win a wall of awards as well as the hearts of San Diegans and visiting tourists alike. Over the past decade, the Hash House A Go Go continues to persistently win accolades locally and nationally. Recently, San Diego Magazine awarded them as their Readerâ€™s Choice Best Breakfast and the Readerâ€™s Pick of Best Restaurants, and ABC 10 News had listed them as the A-List Winner for Best Brunch. Nationally, some of their awards include AOL City Guideâ€™s Best Brunch, Nickelodeonâ€™s Best Breakfast – Parentâ€™s Pick, the New York Times listed them as a Must Have Dinner when given 36 Hours in San Diego, and Fodorâ€™s Magazine has named them Fodorâ€™s Choice Best Places in the World.
The success of the Hash House A Go Go in San Diego had Rivera and Beardslee look to expand their reach across state lines. In July of 2005, they decided to take a gamble on a location in Las Vegas, Nevada, opening a restaurant west of the strip on West Sahara. Its instant success brought the Hash House even more national attention when Andy Richman highlighted Andyâ€™s Sage Fried Chicken Hash House Farm Benedict on the popular television show Man vs. Food. Other national television entities became Hash House A Go Go fans. Dr. Phil, Martha Stewart, and Rachael Rae all called attention to the menu that was once one of Hillcrestâ€™s best kept dining secrets. Then, Las Vegas quickly bore witness to a second Hash House location on the Las Vegas Strip at the Imperial Palace in December of 2009. With waiting lists at both locations still filling up like mad, they opened a third location at The M Resort Spa & Casino this past October 2010.
â€œWe have plans to expand outside the Las Vegas area. As Iâ€™m sure you know, when youâ€™re in Las Vegas, it is kind of hard to get out of there,â€ joked Rivera.
This spring, the Hash House A Go Go is testing the waters in another Nevada market as they look to expand into Reno. Rivera tentatively projects the opening date to be April 20th at the Harrahâ€™s Reno location, formally occupied by CafÃ© Napa. Continued expansion of the Hash House A Go Go franchise seems likely as appetites for their twisted farm food may even reach the state of Arizona as Rivera and Beardslee look into the possibilities of expanding into the Phoenix area.
â€œWe are definitely living the American dream,â€ Rivera proclaimed.
Rivera realizes the hit single that he and Beardslee had written over ten years ago is more than just a one hit wonder. It has become an American dining icon.
Hash House A Go Go
The Original Hash House A Go Go
San Diego Location
3628 5th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103
Hash House A Go Go
Las Vegas Locations
6800 W Sahara Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89146
3535 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89146
The M Resort Spa Casino
12300 Las Vegas Blvd S
Henderson, NV 89044
Hash House A Go Go
Harrahâ€™s Reno Hotel and Casino
219 North Center Street
Reno, NV 89501