Architecture Graduate Turned Burger Mogul

In Celebrate by Elefante5 Comments

A Burger Legend Is Born

He couldn’t see it at the start of 2020, but our curly-haired bro Ernesto Villaneuva would come to know it as one of the worst times in history to open a new restaurant. With forced closures and city-wide lockdowns, businesses everywhere were crumbling under the weight of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, three friends in Southern California would bet it all on the dream of owning something of their own. From the rubble that was social distancing and unforeseen restrictions sprouted one of San Diego’s best hole-in-the-walls, Hayes Burger.

Ernesto Villanueva wearing a hat with long curly hair

Quality In The Details

Neto’s winding tale from desert upbringing to burger-preneur is laced with curiosity and career changes. But the success of Hayes Burger is underpinned with a common theme throughout his journey: quality.

Quality and detail find themselves at the root of Ernesto Villanueva’s success, and it’s what keeps the patrons of his pandemic burger baby coming back again and again.

Join us on this episode of Let It Ride for all the juicy details.

Ernesto Villanueva smiling while speaking during a podcast of Let It Ride
Sean Horton AKA Elefante speaking into a microphone

What you'll hear about

  • Leaving architecture to work for minimum wage
  • Starting a restaurant right before the pandemic
  • What people think about the curls
  • Not being a poser
  • Starring in a commercial
  • Super punk rock shit, like owning a burger shop


Watch Ernesto Villanueva on The Longhairs podcast.


Right here, or find Let It Ride wherever you listen to podcasts.
Ernesto Villanueva smiling with long curly hair

Ernesto Villanueva

Founder of Hayes Burger, Neto is a skilled illustrator, skateboarder and wave shredder hailing from the border town of Mexicali.


DADS Organization


Hayes Burger is proud to serve the best burgers in San Diego. Fact check this outrageous claim with a test run at their Barrio Logan location after a visit to The Longhairs HQ.


This episode of Let It Ride is brought to you by The Great Cut 2024, where The Longhairs will attempt another world-record charity hair donation for Children With Hair Loss.

Bros On This Episode


El Garvinski

Media Producer for The Longhairs, El Garvinski stays active with communications, art and health. He produced the iconic Hair Ties For Guys commercial in 2014. After coming back from creative endeavors abroad he returned to The Longhairs to continue firing off heavy content.


What’s your favorite burger?