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This burger joint can be habit forming

By: Art Garcia, Telegraph Correspondent
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SHOP TALK
What: The Habit Burger
Who: Porfi Banderas, general manager
Where: 1115 E. Bidwell St., Folsom
Hours: Monday-Saturday10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Phone: (916) 983-3028
Online: www.habitburger.com

Business has been sizzling at The Habit Burger Grill since it opened at Blue Ravine and East Bidwell in July 2012, a location selected after a two-year search in the Folsom area.

“Outstanding,” said Kia Mazarei, district manager, in describing the local market’s response. He oversees five of the eight Habit Burgers in the Sacramento region, including the Folsom store.

“We’ve been well accepted by the community. We’re excited about the location we found at the intersection of two busy streets,” he said.
The price of a regular charburger is $2.95 and $3.95 for a double charburger. What separates Habit from other burger joints is that it uses only fresh products, said Mazarei.

“None of our proteins are frozen, only onion rings, French fries and sweet potato fries. We only use fresh meats and fresh vegetables,” he said.

“We cut, slice, dice and marinate our meats in house. All our meats, our burgers and chicken, are charbroiled. They don’t cook in their own grease. They have more of a backyard flavor,” he said.

Porfi Banderas, who lives in Antelope, has been manager of the store since it opened, moving from eight years with the company in Ventura.

The first Habit store opened in 1969 in Goleta, near Santa Barbara, where 16-year-old Brent Reichard started his first job, flipping burgers. Four years later, with the help of loans from the Small Business Administration and his mother, he began buying the Goleta outlet.

By the early 1970s, Reichard and his brother, Bruce, purchased the restaurant. In 1966, they opened another store in Santa Barbara.

In 2007, Reichard sold a majority interest in the restaurant to a private equity firm, Habit Restaurants LLC, which now owns 63 Habit Burger Grills in California, mostly in the southern part of the state, plus four in Arizona. All are company-owned, none are franchises.

Reichard retained ownership of five Habits in the Santa Barbara area.

The company plans to open a ninth Habit Burger Grill in the Sacramento region within the next six months and eight more to supplement the four already operating in the Bay Area.

“We are very much involved in our communities and fund-raising efforts for schools, churches and nonprofit organizations,” Mazarei said.
Hours of the Folsom store at 1115 E. Bidwell St. are 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.