Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Eatery Review: The Habit Burger Grill

The Habit Burger Grill - visited July 27, 2013
I like a good burger but I typically don't have it that often unless I'm at St John's.  I don't go to fast food places more than a few times a year, if that (if you've ever read Fast Food Nation or watched Supersize Me, you'd know why) or to specialty burger joints because, honestly, I hate condiments and all the "stuff" most places pile onto a burger.  I'm often looked at cross-eyed when I ask for a burger "plain", meaning I want the burger and the bun and that's it. The cashier always wonders if he or she has heard me correctly and anyone I'm with rolls their eyes (yeah, they judge) but I stick to my guns.  I have them add cheese if I'm feeling indulgent and lettuce if I want the illusion of virtue but that's all.  No ketchup, no mustard, no pickles (shudder), no tomatoes, no onions, no mushrooms, nothing!
My friend Cindy, on the night we went to ToBang, told me about The Habit as a good burger alternative to In N Out (if I do go to fast food, I go to In N Out before anywhere else, both because they have good burgers and because they pay their employees a higher wage than your average fast food place) so I thought I'd go see what they were like.  According to their website, The Habit started out in Santa Barbara, CA when two brothers borrowed some money from their mom and bought what was once a burger stand in Goleta, CA.  Since then, they've built the Habit to what it is now, including a 70-location franchise. 
I hadn't really noticed this one near me until Cindy mentioned it and since it was in the pathway of my usual round of weekend errands, it was a perfect opportunity to try it out.  I was there a little before noon so it wasn't too crowded.  I gave my order to the nice cashier (ahem, plain hamburger with lettuce for virtue and cheese for indulgence) plus sweet potato fries which lately had become my caloric splurge of choice over regular french fries.
I took it to go and the wait for my food wasn't too long - not so short that I would think they just took a burger patty out from under the heat lamp but not so long as it make me impatient.
The burger was pretty good and the bun was fresh. The patty wasn't as thick as the ones at St. John's though so it doesn't usurp their spot as my favorite burger place. The only drawback to The Habit's burger is I would've preferred leaf lettuce instead of what I consider lettuce shreds.  Otherwise, Cindy was right and it is a good burger alternative to In N Out.  I liked that their prices were similar to In N Out in terms of cheapness ($6.20 for a burger, fries and drink but I upgraded to sweet potato fries and paid around $8) but not so "99-cent menu" as to make me wonder what the burger or fries were made of (or not made of).
Plus, really, I like any place that serves yummy sweet potato fries. Two thumbs up for The Habit.

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