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The Habit Burger Grill

February 21, 2012

The first time I had ever heard of The Habit was from a co-worker of mine who told me that her husband loved The Habit.  She said that sometimes he would crave them, so even though she didn’t eat hamburgers, she’d go there and pick them up for him.  With the popularity of burger joints these days, it’s almost difficult to distinguish one from another.  My husband would definitely tell you that he feels that way, a burger is a burger, right?  Soon after I had this discussion with my co-worker, a sign went up in a neighborhood strip mall that The Habit would be opening in a storefront recently vacated by Pizza Hut, right next to an already busy Chipotle.  My husband was none too thrilled, in fact, he wasn’t interested in it one bit.

As the store was being renovated and prepped for opening, we’d go by the area, and my husband would say that he had no interest in the place at all.  In fact, we were there one day when they were having a fundraising soft opening and their line was out the door and almost around the corner, and I remember my husband wondering why people would bother to line up for hamburgers.  Months have gone by since this place opened and it is consistently, night and day, busy with people.  It can’t be that bad if it’s this busy after all this time, right?  The novelty must have worn off by now.  So, over Thanksgiving break, I told my husband that I really wanted to give The Habit a try one day, just to see what it was like.  He eventually gave in and we had our first Habit experience.

Over 40 years ago, Brent Reichard, as a 16 year-old in Santa Barbara, California went to work for The Habit Burger Grill and immediately fell in love with the business.  Four years later, with money borrowed from their mother, Brent and his brother, Bruce, bought The Habit.  They figured that the key to making great burgers was in the details, so they took The Habit’s burger apart, and rebuilt it from the bottom up paying attention to all of the details along the way.  The Reichard’s had buns custom baked from a local bakery, at the restaurant, they will grill them to perfection.  The lettuce and tomatoes are hand cut each morning for peak freshness.  And then the piece de resistance of the entire creation is the charbroiler which imparts its unique smoky flavor upon everything that is grilled over its open flame.  Thus, the charburger was born.  All these years later, it’s that attention to detail which has helped to build The Habit’s reputation as the best charbroiled burger around.  The Habit has grown from its original Santa Barbara location to 50 locations now up and down the California coast and into Arizona.

The Habit’s burgers, known as Charburger’s come as a single or double charburger.  The burgers come with shredded lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and pickles, all of which can be customized.  Also, you can add either teriyaki sauce or bbq sauce, and you can also choose additions of either cheese, bacon or avocado.  My husband is a fan of the double charburger, no mayo, with cheese and bacon.  I haven’t yet tasted their Charburger, but it sure does look good!

Other sandwich selections on The Habit’s menu include a chicken club sandwich, fresh albacore tuna sandwich, grilled chicken sandwich, and a veggie burger.  I’ve heard that their veggie burgers have gotten superb marks for tastiness.  The last sandwich on their menu is my favorite, the tri tip sandwich.  The sandwich also comes standard with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise.  The tri tip either has your choice of teriyaki sauce or bbq sauce added.  And finally, all of the sandwiches on their menu can be made with grilled sourdough bread, a french roll or a whole wheat bun.

I’ve always gotten the tri tip on grilled sourdough with bbq sauce.  The sandwich is so flavorful and delicious.  The only downside to it all is that the bread can get soggy from the tomatoes and steak juice.  But I love the texture of the grilled sourdough bread.  It’s nice and thick and has great flavor and crunch.  The tomato juices, mixing with the mayo and the steak juices are perfection.  The tri tip that is grilled is cooked perfectly medium and is extremely flavorful.

Beyond just the burgers and sandwiches, The Habit has some wonderful sides which include hand tossed salads (which look amazingly good and extremely fresh), french fries, onion rings and sweet potato fries.  The onion rings are amazing.  They are so golden and crispy and cooked to perfection.  Full of flavor, but without overpowering the onion.  The fries are also very good, cut thick and fried crispy outside but soft and hot inside.

And finally, The Habit offers a wide variety of shakes, malts, cones and sundae options for their guests.  I absolutely love milk shakes, so I had to order the coffee shake, hand-made with real ice cream.  My husband ordered a strawberry malt which he said was very good and tasty.  The coffee shake was certainly delicious as well.

Now, my husband and I can see why The Habit is always so busy, their food is absolutely delicious.  They customize every burger and sandwich that is ordered and make it exactly the way you want with the ingredients you want.  The taste is spectacular.  The onion rings are fried perfection, and the shakes are refreshing.  My husband tells me that this is now his favorite burger place and that he could eat here again and again.  I’m still left wondering why it took us so long to give it a try in the first place!

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