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Habit Burger, a Famed California Hamburger Chain Moving East, its First DC-Area Outlet in Ashburn


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Habit Burger is my favorite chain burger in the country. I'm apparently not alone in this assessment. It will soon be in Ashburn, and I predict it will expand all over our metropolitan area.

 

I love Habit Burger. I've eaten there often, all over Southern California, and I would choose it 9 times out of 10 over In-N-Out Burger. This is great news, indeed.

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Interesting. With all the burger chains we have now, I'll be curious what will separate these guys from the pack.

For me, it has been a combination of the quality of the burger and the variety of the menu. I can go in and order my double-char with sweet potato fries and a lemonade for under $10, and somebody else with me can get a pretty decent salad or a chicken sandwich or an incredible tri-tip sandwich with a real shake. You can't get all of that at In-N-Out or Five Guys....

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More random press on Habit Burger....my only hope is that they don't fall victim to over-expansion, because this is a darned good hamburger chain.

"A Rapidly Expanding West Coast Burger Chain Is Becoming Shake Shack's Biggest Threat" by Ashley Lutz on businessinsider.com

I hate to be the one who pisses on the party, and this will probably end up as "the messenger being shot," but I've never seen one single example of a massive expansion being successful, and that includes In-n-Out, Shake Shack, Chipotle Grill, Five Guys, and Chick-fil-A, although both In-n-Out and Chick-fil-A haven't completely tanked yet. Will Habit Burger be the very first to pull it off successfully? Of course not - it's just a matter of time, so enjoy it when it first opens.

That said, Bruce, I've ranked them #1 in chain hamburger joints because of the child-like enthusiasm in your post.

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I hate to be the one who pisses on the party, and this will probably end up as "the messenger being shot," but I've never seen one single example of a massive expansion being successful, and that includes In-n-Out, Shake Shack, Chipotle Grill, Five Guys, and Chick-fil-A, although both In-n-Out and Chick-fil-A haven't completely tanked yet. Will Habit Burger be the very first to pull it off successfully? Of course not - it's just a matter of time, so enjoy it when it first opens.

Trust me, Don, there will be no bigger Debbie Downer than me if I bite into the Ashburn version and my head doesn't explode with pleasure the way it does when I bite into a Valencia, CA version....and I always thought it would be difficult for them to come to this area because of the nice outdoor seating in the Los Angeles area, which our weather can't match.

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Trust me, Don, there will be no bigger Debbie Downer than me if I bite into the Ashburn version and my head doesn't explode with pleasure the way it does when I bite into a Valencia, CA version....and I always thought it would be difficult for them to come to this area because of the nice outdoor seating in the Los Angeles area, which our weather can't match.

This place might surprise you at first, you know? They'll move their A-1 Opening Team into Ashburn for the first few weeks or months while the press circles it like sharks; then, things will dissipate, and they'll move on to the next infested waters in order to make their soup.

I'm really pulling for this place, because I like you so much that I want you to at least have a glimpse into times past, even if it may only be transient; I suspect nobody would be harder on them than you, should it ever go downhill. I've never tried it before! There's a very big difference between you and another enthusiastic member: You're not blinded by fond memories (and I'm not saying being blinded is the worst thing in the world - hell, I often wish I was; I'm just so damned cynical that I can't be, and I don't like that about myself, as it makes life a *lot* less fun).

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A list you didn't include Freddy's on, by the way. <_<

Freddy's is in Fairfax - are they planning on opening more?

(I admit I'm being lazy not doing Habit Burger in two steps (it should technically be listed only in Ashburn until they open a second location), but man this gets old, and then I have to do it again when a chain slowly closes down.)

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They keep *saying* the Fairfax location isn't the only one they have planned for the area, but I haven't seen any news or indication another one is forthcoming anywhere.

Well, Freddy's is being done the right way (it's in the Virginia Dining Guide); Habit Burger is the one I took a shortcut on. I'm going to move that into the Virginia Dining Guide now just to be consistent.

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In the meantime, covet. :)

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However, infernal rotational issues aside, I have to say that my first Habit Burger may also be my last: I drove 40 minutes round-trip to get a hamburger (a double-char, no cheese, no mayo) that tasted more like a Burger King Whopper than a Whopper itself does. I am nearly 100% certain that, if anyone had double-blinded me with this sandwich, I would have instantly guessed "Burger King Whopper," as the flavors are identical to me.

I didn't get cheese because they only had American and Swiss, and I didn't get mayo because I wanted to cut calories somewhere, and I know what mayo tastes like. The sweet potato fries were good, and although I ordered a Diet Coke, I broke down and got a strawberry-puree infused limeade, diluted in half by fizz water (they have a "soda water" button on the soda machine).

I don't understand the allure of Habit Burger, I'm sorry to say. I tried! I really did! This should go in the Napa thread since I'm in the valley, and maybe I'll move it later, but for now, it seems more appropriate here since this is where the action is. I can see calling In-N-Out "Quick-Serve," but Habit Burger, despite being cooked to order (although not to temperature - the patties were well-well-done, and quite gray), and despite customers being handed a buzzer that indicates when your order is ready, is fast-food all the way. I know it doesn't *technically* meet the definition of fast food, but there's just no difference on the palate.

I'm sorry, Bruce, I really wanted to like it because I know how much you do, but I just don't see any difference between this and Burger King (*). :(

Places like this and Shake Shack (that would be you, Customer Service Icon Danny Meyer) are in danger of becoming every bit as responsible for destroying our nation's health and contributing to our societal obesity problem as McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Did I really just say that? Well, yes I did. It's incredible the depths to which people are willing to sink for a big, fat slice of the almighty dollar. I believe that if Shake Shack could be as big as McDonald's, it would be. And it's no healthier than McDonald's, either.

(*) Anyone that's gone to Dominic's because of my nostalgic writings feels the same way, I'm sure. There's nothing wrong with guilty-pleasure, childhood-memory food, and I hope I adequately conveyed that Dominic's is that, and nothing more; if anyone ever went based on my posts, and expected good pizza, I should probably reimburse them.

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It has to be better than Burger King, if only for the lack of copious amounts of Liquid Smoke.  Seriously, I call Burger King the "three day burger" because you're still able to taste it with every burp for three days.

You know, this fits in perfectly with what I've been preaching (click on the "primal instincts" link) for ten years. In other words, you might be right.

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You know, this fits in perfectly with what I've been preaching (click on the "primal instincts" link) for ten years. In other words, you might be right.

I think it has more to do with Burger King's exceptionally-low-quality meat that they're desperate to try and mask the substandard flavor of through the use of chemical flavoring.  I have a feeling Burger King would violate the Chemical Weapons Convention if they thought sarin might save them a few bucks.

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I think it has more to do with Burger King's exceptionally-low-quality meat that they're desperate to try and mask the substandard flavor of through the use of chemical flavoring.  I have a feeling Burger King would violate the Chemical Weapons Convention if they thought sarin might save them a few bucks.

Didn't this happen in a Tokyo Subway?

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Visited the Ashburn location of Habit Burger for lunch today - they were giving out free burgers as a soft opening last week and I believe just fully opened over the weekend.

Yes - I went to Habit Burger and didn't order a burger.  Longing for something different, I got the Tuna Sandwch (grilled tuna, not tuna salad) which was billed as line-caught, sushi grade tuna.  It was cooked beyond the medium as ordered, next time I'll know to go medium rare, but fast food tuna is one of those things I wanted to approach with caution...  The tempura green beans were a nice change of pace from regular fries, actually tasted like a green bean, and survived the car ride home still crispy.  Diet coke mix was off but I'm sure they'll get to that in due time.

Corporate training staff was still on site, as one would expect.  Everyone was friendly and on-point, though the number of questions it took to get from "Tuna sandwich please" to handing over my credit card was a bit absurd.

Overall it was pretty good - especially considering how new it is.  I obviously need to try the burger, but I'd go back occasionally for the tuna as a change of pace from the other options around here.

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