The Habit Burger Grill boosts Northgate Mall with a variety of high-quality fast food


Luca Roy

The onion rings were near perfect but would have been improved with a side sauce

With the recent popularity of The Habit’s award-winning Charburger, testing out the new Terra Linda location was a necessity. This fast-casual restaurant is conveniently located next to Michaels at 496 Las Gallinas Ave, perfect for a quick stop. It opened its doors Aug. 17 and serves fast food from 10:30 a.m to 10:00 p.m.

The first Habit Burger Grill opened in Santa Barbara, California, in 1969. Franchised in 2007, it now has 316 locations around the world. Voted best Regional Fast Food in 2019 by USA Today, the new location is an exciting addition to the dwindling Northgate Mall area. 

The classic charburger, cooked over an open flame for $5.39 exceeded expectations. (Luca Roy)

The initial walk-in pleasantly surprises customers. The new building has bright lighting and an inviting atmosphere, decked out with blue-tiled walls alongside grand windows and local art. Large iPads act as self-service menus and an ordering station with options for both take-out and dine-in. The machines are workable, proving to be simple enough for anyone to figure out.

After ordering, there is an expected wait period of 15 minutes. Relative to local competitors, such as the Hub or The Counter, the wait is pleasantly short even during rushes. Their self-service system efficiently associates the customer’s order with their phone number,  and sends a text when the order is ready. With orders squished onto one tray for convenience, customers can waltz over to the combination drink and condiment station. The pickle dispenser, seven different hot sauces and a range of salts allow for impressive customizability of one’s food.

The BBQ Chicken salad was alarmingly expensive at $9.99, but worth the price. (Luca Roy)

The BBQ Chicken Salad is a great addition to any order. The versatile salad tastes like a leafier version of the BBQ Pizza from California Pizza Kitchen (CPK), and offers a healthier option than a typical burger and fries. 

The Crispy Chicken Sandwich also exceeds expectations, and is much more crispy and flavorful than the soggy chicken slab available in the AWHS Cafeteria. The only issue was that it was slightly cold. However, the generous portion of chicken, flavorful sauce, and mini pickles made up for that issue. Overall, the chicken sandwich is worth its $8.39 price tag. 

The onion rings, with a slightly more than average price of $3.79, live up to their hype, even though not enough come with one order. They are delightfully crispy, and the bites of perfectly-salted fries and their famous “Charburger” prove to be worth the relatively inexpensive prices. A fountain soda is an extra option to enhance the whole experience for a small fee of $2.69. 

The strawberry shake, with a generous portion, was a perfect fruity treat. (Luca Roy)

 The Habit also boasts a large variety of expensive frozen treats. Their strawberry shake   is sweet and creamy but is topped with a frustratingly small amount of whipped cream. Overall it isn’t worth a whopping $5.19. However, the gossip overheard from the next table over, enhanced by the gentle acoustics ringing through the building, rounded out the all-around excellence of The Habit Burger Grill. 

The low prices and higher-than-average food quality earned The Habit a 4.5/5 rating from us. If the food was just a little bit hotter, and the onion rings had a side of sauce, it would exceed that score. Regardless, The Habit Burger Grill is definitely worth a visit.