Just what the area needed – another hamburger restaurant. My favorite has been “Raglan Public House” ever since it opened, with “Hodad’s” and “In and Out Burger” second and third. Yes, I have tried the other “new” ones in Liberty Station; in Mission and Fashion Valley, but Raglan’s still comes out on top to my palate.
I picked up my granddaughter Molli at school today and rather than take her to my house for dinner until her mother picked her up, I decided a fresh, young palate would help me with my review. We went to “The Habit” because it is new to our area; it is in the Ralph’s/Target shopping center; and is across the road from PetCo – all places I needed to stop at after she was picked up.
From the side that we came into the parking lot from it appeared to be closed, but when I drove around to the front of the building it was open, albeit dark. The first thing I would suggest is better lighting along the side of the restaurant. There is an outside patio, replete with space heaters, but the lighting is still bad.
When entering the restaurant there is an order window about 10 feet into the store. The menu is on a menu board, and there are take-out menu’s also available. When we first arrived there was only one person taking our orders – Brittany – who was a delight to work with – but by the time we left there were two ladies taking orders.
The menu is somewhat limited – Charburgers starting at $2.95 and going up to $4.45 for a Mushroom Swiss Charburger. Cheese is 50 cents more; avocado or mushrooms are $1 additional. Lettuce wrapped burgers are also available. The “Original” special is a Charburger, fries and a regular drink for $6.20; a “double charburger” is $1.00 more. There is a “kid favorite” for $3.95; grilled sandwiches starting at $4.95 for the Veggie Burger and the Chicken Club at $6.75 is the most expensive.
There are six salads offered, beginning with $3.95 for the Garden and/or Caesar Salad, and the Santa Barbara Cobb is $7.15. Adding grilled Albacore or Tri-tip raises the price to $3.50.
There are four sides – French fries at $1.85; Onion Rings at $1.95; Sweet Potato Fries at $2.65 and a side salad or side Caesar salad for $2.25. Besides the regular drinks, they also offer Shakes, Malts, Cones and Sundaes.
Molli ordered a Grilled Cheese Sandwich ($3.45) and she was very pleased with it. She said the cheese was melted all the way through; the sour dough bread was nicely browned and not burnt as it frequently is at other establishments. I ordered a Charburger that was cooked nicely – I was not asked how I wanted it cooked –and had all of the accompaniments usually associated with hamburgers. The bun was fresh as was the lettuce and tomatoes. (Unfortunately, due to a malfunction of my camera the picture of the charburger did not come out.)
Molli and I both ordered French fries, which were nothing special. Not particularly hot, but warm enough so that they were tasty. I ordered a Mocha malt – again no picture because of the camera) but it lacked the “malt” flavor that I wanted. They also offer milk shakes and I can’t help but wonder if the malt ingredient was left out. It was ok – but doesn’t compare to the milkshake at Hodad’s, for example.
It is interesting to note that my daughter picked up two burgers to take home for dinner. She said that hers was very good, but her husband’s was so rare that he could not eat it. He said it almost looked like it had not been cooked at all. Since neither of us were asked how he wanted our burgers cooked, it might be a good idea to add this to the ordering process.
While we waiting for Molli’s mother to come get her, we decided to order the sweet potato fries and a chocolate malt for Molli. And, once again, the malt tasted like a milk shake because there was no discernible malt flavor. The sweet potato fries, while hotter than the regular fries, could not compare with the sweet potato fries – nor the shoe string fries – at Raglan’s. Yes, they were much less expensive, but it is taste I am paying for – not food fillers. I would not order either of the potato products again.
The restaurant was clean; there was a lot of traffic in and out of the store. It seats many people – more than 12 tables inside; just as many outside – and there seemed to be a large take-out crowd as well. Each person is given a buzzer, and when the food is ready the buzzer sounds. The food is served on a tray with a paper with this saying placed on the plastic itself :
The burger is an American icon. You don’t fry an American Icon. You put it on a pedestal. You chargrill it over an open flame. You top it with fresh-cut lettuce, ripe tomatoes, caramelized onions and melted cheese. You wrap it neatly in paper and serve it alongside crisp, hot fries. That’s what we do at the “Habit Burger Grill”. Because we respect our customers. And we RESPECT THE BURGER.
I respect the management and their product. Would I return? Maybe. I received a $5 discount coupon for answering an on-line survey. Since the total of our bill was $20.14, the enticement to return is there. But given the choice of Raglan, Hodad’s, and In and Out Burger …The Habit would be my 4th choice.