First Taste

The Habit Burger Grill: "Charburgers" and Beach-Inspired Fare Land in Tempe

One of the advantages of living in Phoenix is the spillover of crazy-good ground beef sandwich stops from California like In-N-Out and Fatburger. Now, burger biters can add The Habit Burger Grill in South Tempe at East Guadalupe Road and McClintock to the rotation.

Established in 1969 and with over 30 locations in California, The Habit Burger Grill is best known for its made-to-order "Charburgers," smoke-flavored patties grilled over an open flame. Its location in Tempe is the first to hit Arizona soil and there are plans to open a second and third location this summer in Chandler and Central Phoenix.

Have Valley residents had it with the growing number of hamburger joint options? Answer: not judging by the line out the door at The Habit Burger Grill, a spot that used to be a so-so Chinese place but now -- Charburger Central.

Outside, the Habit Burger sports a nice patio area with misters and rust-colored umbrellas. Inside, it's a small, welcoming spot with wood table tops, a warm color palette of browns and yellow ochers, a mix of 80's and 90's tunes, and colorful beach scene artwork on the walls.

Burger buffs can order up one of Habit Burger's signature Charburgers -- made-to-order, around three bucks, and packed with caramelized onions, lettuce, mayonnaise, tomatoes and pickles on a toasted bun -- like the flavor-packed Double Charburger with American cheese and avocado, or the Teriyaki Charburger with just enough sauce and a thin slice of pineapple sweetness. Want to add some snap to your sandwich? Get to Habit Burger's pepper bar where you can choose from grilled pepperoncini, chili peppers, or jalapeños.

For non-burger fare, choose from salads like the grilled chicken Caesar (my friendly cashier told me a staff favorite is to top it with teriyaki sauce), the Santa Barbara Cobb, or grilled sandwiches including the chicken club with avocado and bacon, the "Tri-Tip" (hand-cut tri-tip steak), and the fresh albacore tuna sandwich featuring a surprisingly decent charbroiled tuna steak with a teriyaki glaze made more delicious with a zingy homemade tartar sauce.

When it comes to sides, order up a side salad and skip average onion rings and overcooked French and sweet potato fries. Or, just jump to the sweet stuff with a shake, malt, cone, or sundae.

At The Habit Burger Grill, the Charburger lived up to the hype and the service was fast and friendly. If the newest burger joint on the block can solve its overcooked sides, the competition will need to turn up the heat on their collective grills.

The Habit Burger Grill 1817 East Guadalupe Road, Tempe 480-555-1212 Open Monday - Saturday, 10:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld