Wednesday, December 7, 2011
The Habit Burger Grill
But when it comes to burgers I have always felt very lucky growing up in this town. There is In-N-Out Burger, of course - the oldest existing In-N-Out Burger, actually, is the Pasadena unit. For the last year there has been a Fatburger. There is Hutch's, my favorite burger in the world, and there is Green Street Tavern, whose burger I admit is superior to Hutch's, even if I don't love it as much. There are the gloriously simple, course-ground burgers at Pie 'n Burger and the easily-customizable burgers at Wolfe Burgers, where you can sit on the patio on a warm winter afternoon and down a cold Pacifico with your burger. The Kobe Bistro burger at Tops, the chili burger at Original Tommy's, the patty melt at Wonder Burgers, the Kobe burger topped with prosciutto at Cafe 140 South (née Crocodile Cafe), the Holy Aioli at Dog Haus.... I have known and loved them all.
And now there is a Habit Burger.
I've written about The Habit a couple of times: once in the fall of 2010 and once in the summer of 2009. Both times I wrote that if a Habit Burger opened in Pasadena I would gladly add it to my burger rotation. Well, a few weeks ago I learned that a Habit would be opening soon in Pasadena, taking over the space occupied by a closed Boston Market in Hastings Ranch.
I had planned to go for a soft opening fundraiser they were having. I ducked into Supercuts next door to get a haircut, but by the time I was finished (in grand Supercuts tradition the wait was twice as long as I'd been told) I was running late and did not have time. (This was the day Elizabeth's parents came into town and I was running errands from 7 AM until the time we picked them up at 10 PM.)
Last Thursday, after the epic windstorms had taken out the power at my parents' house and Elizabeth and I had driven over to rescue some items from the freezer, I suggested the two of us stop by The Habit. What I didn't realize at the time was the extent of the blackouts in that area. Apparently a lot of people had the same idea of going out for dinner that night. The line was out the door, maybe 50 people deep. We picked up sandwiches at the store on the way home.
So the other day I found myself in that part of town - I was taking out all of my parents' trash cans for them; there are at least a dozen all filled with yard debris - and stopped by for a burger. I had planned to eat it there but there was literally not a single available seat, so I opted for takeout (my parents live less than one mile away). As has happened on other occasions at The Habit, the lines moved quickly and the service was extremely friendly. I don't know how The Habit trains their staff, but pretty much every fast food company - even In-N-Out - can learn something from them.
You know, I just realized something: in that sampling of burgers I listed in the second paragraph, only one of them is on the east side of Pasadena. All the rest are in (or closer to) the west side of town. The Habit Burger is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. I've now been by it three times, and each time it was packed. As long as their quality remains, I'm sure it will be be busy for a long time.
Posted by JustinM at 10:00 AM