New Jersey readers of Consumer Reports and many online news aggregators who picked up the story were disappointed to learn that the 2014 Best Tasting Burger in America came from Habit Burger which is a West Coast burger chain (founded in 1969). If they had looked at the locations on HabitBurger.com, though, they would have been pleased to discover that the very first Habit burger to be char-broiled on the East Coast would be in New Jersey. That’s right, the very first Habit Burger Grill opened today in Fair Lawn!
Of course, we were there to check it out for you. The lines weren’t too long and the people waiting with us moved pretty steadily toward the front so even though we started in line outside, we were soon indoors and ready to order.
One more thing we should mention before we get to the actual food is that our iPhone maps couldn’t find the address from the website. It’s an extremely new shopping center so this wasn’t too surprising. We ended up searching for Noodles and Company which is in the same complex and finding it that way. Habit is right across the parking lot from Noodles. Taking 208 North, the Promenade complex is a little bit past the Fair Lawn Ave. exit.
OK, so the burgers. Simply put, Consumer Reports is correct.
The Double Charburger was Consumer Reports’ favorite and you can see why. Oozing with cheese and caramelized onions, the two patties are char-broiled to perfection. Not too juicy so they don’t soak the bun and make a mess but still easy to eat without too many additional condiments. This really is the quintessential burger. Not too salty, not too greasy, lots of toppings but not so much that they take away from the burger’s beefy taste. You can order toppings as you like them but the standard burger comes with mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles and really good caramelized onions on a toasted sesame seed bun. There are also wheat buns without seeds available and some sandwiches come on alternate bread that you could probably ask for with any burger.
My favorite burger had an alternate bread, in fact.
The Santa Barbara burger is a double patty sandwich on toasted sourdough with avocado and all the regular double char toppings like cheese and vegetables. Having lived in Southern California for awhile I grew to love the Sourdough Jack from Jack in the Box and this is a step UP from that delicious burger! The addition of avocado was great. The bread was nice and thick and never got inundated with juice even when I neared the end of the sandwich. Yes, I’ll be coming back for more of this these.
Ed’s favorite (and a close second for me) was the Teriyaki Burger.
This one has a single patty with Kikkoman teriyaki sauce, a slice of grilled pineapple, mayo, pickles, tomato, lettuce and caramelized onions on a toasted bun. The sweetness of the sauce and pineapple went perfectly with the beefy burger and fresh veggie toppings. If you like BBQ sauce on burgers, you will probably like this one, too. The teriyaki brings the standard sweetness of a BBQ sauce burger up a few notches in terms of depth of flavor and sophistication. Can a burger be sophisticated? This one is pretty close.
It’s hard to put this sandwich last because it was just as good as the others but we had to pick something to mention after all the others.
We got the Chicken Club because we wanted to try a chicken sandwich and because we hadn’t gotten anything with bacon on it yet. You can’t get a real feel for a burger place without sampling their bacon, right? Unbelievably, the chicken was just as good as the burgers. It had a lot of charred bits on it so the mild chicken didn’t get lost among all the other flavors. We got this sandwich on their toasted French roll. It was almost too thick but once we realized how many toppings were on there we were actually happy to have a larger bread to keep it all together. The avocado is lightly mashed but still recognizable as itself. I thought there was one large leaf of lettuce too many on this one but it could have easily been picked off if it was a real problem. It wasn’t. The bacon was very very crisp and exactly how I like it. I don’t want a piece of bacon that’s chewy and hard to bite through when I reach it. This bacon broke off easily and each piece was a nice thick slice.
The fries were good but pretty standard. The side of choice here is the Tempura Green Beans.
They tasted like fresh green beans and the tempura wasn’t too thick. I may be wrong but I think we may have finished all the green beans before we finished any of the sandwiches. They were THAT good.
The upscale burger chain is certainly a packed market here in New Jersey but based on our first tastes we think there’s room for Habit Burger. The prices are extremely reasonable—our four sandwiches, two sides and a drink came to only $30. The staff was extremely friendly and we’re still mourning the loss of Bucu Burger in this part of Bergen County so this will help fill that void.
Time to make Habit Burger Grill a growing habit in Fair Lawn!
3101 Promenade Blvd., Fair Lawn
Check out all our pictures from Habit Burger Grill:
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