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Joaquin Del Rio (left), from Spain, and Giovanni Ludergnani, from Italy, enjoy burgers from the recently nationally recognized Habit Burger Grill.

Paul Wellman

Joaquin Del Rio (left), from Spain, and Giovanni Ludergnani, from Italy, enjoy burgers from the recently nationally recognized Habit Burger Grill.


Habit-Forming

Goleta-Born Burger Chain Chars the Competition


Saturday, July 12, 2014
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Want to eat the best burger in the country? Head on over to the Habit Burger Grill, the Goleta born-and-bred burger chain that has since grown to 94 locations — and was just named by Consumer Reports as the best place to get your patty on. After the magazine’s readers scarfed down nearly 100,000 fast-food meals across 65 restaurants nationwide, the Habit beat out In-N-Out and Five Guys for the top burger spot, with eaters saying quality trumps convenience (which may explain the throngs of people ever-lined up, despite some unsavory characters loitering nearby, at the downtown and Milpas locations).

Known for its charburger — made popular by brothers Brent and Bruce Reichard, who worked at the Goleta stand as teenagers, bought the place, and still run the Santa Barbara locations today — the Habit grew slowly, said CEO Russ Bendel, with the Goleta stand opening in 1969, the second eatery opening in Ventura in 1997, and more locations trickling along until 2007, when the chain supersized to a private equity partnership and expanded exponentially. Across California and throughout Arizona and Utah, diners can order the restaurant’s popular half-fries–half-onion-rings combo (this vegetarian reporter can also attest to the tastiness of the veggie burgers), and fast-food aficionados in New Jersey will soon get the company’s first East Coast location. The 100th restaurant will also open later this year, Bendel added.

Bendel, who said his favorite menu items are the Santa Barbara Style Double Charburger and the Sushi Grade Albacore Sandwich, said the company is “obviously happy and proud” to receive the magazine’s — and the customers’ — recognition. “We do it the good old-fashioned way,” Bendel continued, crediting word-of-mouth and the chain’s high percentage of female patrons — about 48 percent, compared to other fast-food joints’ 30 percent — for its growing popularity.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

Fine dining at it's best. . . gotta love it!

Lars (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2014 at 12:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's what made Old-Town Goleta world-famous!
Awesome burgers.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2014 at 2:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We should all meet there for a FRIENDLY burger social! I declared HH the best years ago :)

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2014 at 3:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

EatTheRich, Dewdly, Greenspan, and Loonpt in the same room?...

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2014 at 10:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Of course, if they fast for three days before, their heads will be cleared out and they will be too hungry to kill each other.

Of course, there is always Wing's Chinese restaurant.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2014 at 10:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm all in for a burger free-for-all, and a dolphin sammy for 14. Thanks for buying, Bill.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2014 at 12:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I wonder if we'd make Best Bets.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2014 at 12:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks for buying, Bill.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2014 at 12:05 a.m.

No problem, I always pay for my own meals.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2014 at 5:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

EatTheRich might start eating the other bloggers, assuming they make six-figure+ incomes.

On second though, that might not be such a good idea.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2014 at 5:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Whoever sits between Blah and Loon gets free fries.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2014 at 10:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

14 Dolphins=a lot of extra seating.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2014 at 5:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe they can seal off the patio and fill it with water. There's another pod of seven dolphins for a total of 21, plus a sealion and an anemone.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2014 at 5:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There is also a pod of eightdolphins.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2014 at 6:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There goes Lake Cachuma.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2014 at 6:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And the whole channel.

eleventysevendolphins (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2014 at 7:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So many dolphins, so little porpoise.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2014 at 7:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As I read the Consumer Reports article, In-N-Out beat Habit by two points. What did I miss? Or whjat did the writer of this article miss?

tex805 (anonymous profile)
July 15, 2014 at 10:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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