Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Habit Burger Grill Could Catch On

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Habit Burger Grill Could Catch On

Article excerpt

Despite all of North Jersey's burger largess -- high- and lowbrow, Kobe and grass-fed and wild boar, towering Bobby Flay creations and tiny sliders, one Shake Shack and another on the way - - we have been missing out on America's Best Fast Food Burger.

Until last week, when The Habit Burger Grill opened in Fair Lawn. It's the first East Coast location for the California-based fast- food chain, which is known for its Double Charburger with two patties grilled over an open flame. Who decided this was America's Best Burger? The magazine many of us use to buy a washing machine.

Consumer Reports asked its readers to rate their favorite fast- food burgers, and the results -- released this summer -- were surprising. Habit had beaten out everyone, including popular local chains Five Guys and Smashburger, as well as my personal obsession, the West Coast cult favorite In-N-Out. (Poor McDonald's sank to the bottom.)

So from the moment Habit Burger Grill opened at the Fair Lawn Promenade on Monday, it was besieged by customers -- me among them. Here's what I took away:

* Habit makes a superior fast-food burger -- but it's not the most memorable burger I've ever eaten. Think of the Charburger as a better version of what you'd get at Burger King, Wendy's or McDonald's. Don't compare it to higher-end places such as Bobby's Burger Palace in Paramus or even Smashburger -- those serve bigger patties on better-quality buns, and have much higher prices.

A single Charburger ($3.25) and Double Charburger ($4.25) are available with fries and a drink for $6.95 and $7.95, respectively, which is closer to what it would cost you to buy the burger on its own at Smashburger. American cheese is 55 cents extra.

Gary Keurajian, a Mahwah resident who is Habit's market partner for North Jersey, said that its fresh (not frozen) beef patties are a little over three ounces each (that's smaller than Shake Shack's four-ounce patties but bigger than In-N-Out's two-ounce patties). Mine was heavily seasoned -- with salt, pepper and garlic salt, says Keurajian -- and came on a toasted and seeded but otherwise rather generic bun with caramelized onions, a slice of tomato, pickles, heaps of shredded iceberg and romaine lettuce and a big gob of mayonnaise that made the burger very sloppy. …

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