23632 El Toro Road #A
Lake Forest, CA 92630
I have been hearing about the Habit for some time now, and decided to give them a try. They have three locations in Orange county, (the others are in Santa Ana, and Fullerton). I love trying new hamburger places. The Habit seems to be in direct competition with In-N-Out, let's see what burger will come out on top.
First a little back-story on The Habit. The Habit started in 1969 in Santa Barbara, and has now grown to 36 locations in California. The business was started by two brothers, who were committed to a quality burger. They hand cut the lettuce and tomato everyday, have their buns custom made by a local bakery, and charbroil their patties over an open flame. Let's see if all of this trouble is rewarded with a great tasting burger.
I am not going to lie, this hamburger looked really good, and these pictures did not even do it justice. This is the Double Charburger with bacon added. The burger usually comes with mayo, lettuce, caramelized onions, pickle, and tomato. I got all but the tomato and pickles on this one. If I had to gripe about this burger, I would say that the bacon was un-noticeable. The burger itself had the right amount of mayo, and the meat tasted really good. The lettuce did taste fresh, and the cheese was melted to the right texture. Very solid burger.
To complete my meal at the Habit, I got some fries. These fries were also very good, and came out piping hot. I must confess that I am not a big fan of In-N-Out fries, and these are not their fries. These were crisp without being greasy. Also, to top it off, they have ranch dressing, which In-N-Out does not have.
My buddy Richard got a Tri-Tip Sandwich. This comes with mayo, tomato, lettuce, onion, and either teriyaki or barbeque sauce. Richard opted for the barbeque sauce on this one. He could not be happier with this sandwich. You also have the option of getting this on a French roll, or toasted sourdough. Definitely go with the sourdough. I got this same sandwich at the Habit in Santa Ana, and it came out looking like this...
The sandwich tasted good, but it did not fill up the bun. Not sure if this is normal when you get a French roll, but it made me not want to order it again. After seeing Richard's sandwich I would consider giving this sandwich another shot.
Richard also got Onion Rings to go along with his sandwich. These were good also, without any grease. They also come with ranch, without even asking for it, a very nice touch.
Carissa could not contain her excitement for this Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad. She exclaimed that, "this is the best caesar salad I have ever had from a fast food restaurant!". I did not try this, but there was a whole chicken breast on this salad, and the lettuce did seem very fresh. They asked her if she wanted teriyaki sauce on the side of this, which I thought was pretty odd, I have never had a caesar salad with teriyaki, maybe it is a Santa Barbara thing.
For dessert I got a Chocolate Malt. I can not remember the last time I ordered a malt, but this one was good. This had just a hint of malt flavor. I think next time I would just get a shake. The malt really filled me up.
So, what to make of the Habit? I think it is a good burger place, and in case you are with someone that is not in a burger mood, they have other options as well. The prices are very competitive also. The double cheeseburger goes for under four dollars. The steak sandwich also goes for an un-heard of $5.95, a steal. The service was very good, and they got the food out quick, for as busy as they were. It was controlled chaos. I think that the Habit will not dent In-N-Out's profits too much, because people are very loyal to them, but at least you do not have to know about any secret menus here.
Out of five Katy Perry's, (she, like this restaurant is from Santa Barbara), five being best to zero being worst, The Habit gets 3 solid Katy Perry's.
For more information on The Habit click here: http://www.habitburger.com/