West Coast Burger Invasion: The Habit Opens This Saturday in Ashburn [Mo’ Burgers]


The double char.

The latest burger joint to bring its beef and buns to the D.C. area is The Habit Burger Grill, officially opening in Ashburn this Saturday. While East Coasters may think this is just another cookie cutter "better burger" chain, The Habit is actually a veteran of the ground beef game, bringing almost 50 years of burger-slinging knowledge to the scene. Established in Santa Barbara in 1969, there's over 100 restaurants in California alone and 15 more in Arizona and Utah. The Habit began its East Coast invasion last year, popping up in New Jersey and later Florida and now its sights are set on the nation's capital. Billed as "charburgers," the West Coast chain's lineup of open-flame grilled burgers is rather simple and, in a time of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink assortments of toppings, we find The Habit's trend-bucking refreshing. There's the basic charburger – available as a single or double – topped with mayo, pickles, lettuce, tomato and caramelized onions, a teriyaki burger which adds grilled pineapple and teriyaki sauce to the original, a mushroom burger topped with white American cheese and a BBQ-and-bacon burger. There's also the Santa Barbara style that tops double patties with cheese and avocado, served on sourdough.
The Habit's teriyaki burger with grilled pineapple slice.

The Habit's teriyaki burger with grilled pineapple slice.

Burger patties are a little over three ounces, so we recommend doubling up. We're told there's no limit to the number of patties you can stack, so if you've got the belly room, go all out; at a buck a piece, the extra beef patty is worth the up charge. In fact, the entire menu is quite thrifty with everything but the Santa Barbara burger under five bucks. And while only the Santa Barbara and mushroom burgers come standard with cheese, you can still nab a double charburger with cheese, fries and a drink for under 10 bucks. Outside of burgers, the menu is filled up with sandwiches (chicken, steak, tuna, veggie burgers), salads plus ice cream shakes, cones and sundaes. Side dishes include the standard fries – both regular and sweet potato – onion rings and tempura green beans. The official opening isn't until Saturday but this Thursday and Friday, The Habit will be offering select items from its full menu for free from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., limited to the first 200 guests each day. As for the future of The Habit in D.C., East Coast VP of operations Steve Pirato tells us there are plans for up to 30 restaurants in the District, Maryland and Virginia. The area's second store is set to open in Rockville's Wintergreen Plaza shopping center in 2016 and there's a third planned for College Park in Maryland. While no other locations have yet to be locked down, Pirato says they've been looking around Arlington, Tysons and Alexandria as well. The Habit Burger Grill opens to the public this Saturday, December 5, at 10:30 a.m. in Ashburn. The Habit Burger Grill | 19855 Belmont Chase Drive | Ashburn | habitburger.com

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