A new burger place set to open in mid-July is bringing fresh California dining at a great value to the Ahwatukee Foothills area.

Habit Burger Grill will open its second location in Arizona July 20 at the southwest corner of Ray Road and 54th Street. It will be one of 45 locations, 42 of which are in California. A location in Tempe at McClintock Drive and Guadalupe Road just opened in June.

"It's a cool concept," said Steve Standlea, marketing partner for Habit Restaurants who is spearheading the growth in Arizona. "That's what attracted me to it. It's differentiating. It's in the burger sector, which is really hot and has been doing really well for a long time, but it's a different approach. It's really value with quality food in a really nice ambiance."

Standlea says Habit Burger is unique because it is fresh. The restaurant offers burgers, sandwiches with chicken, tuna and tri tip, salads, onion rings, sweet potato fries and French fries. The only thing that is frozen is the French fries. The Albacore tuna is flown in fresh from Fiji three times a week and Habit Burger cooks all its meat on a char broiler to avoid excess grease.

"The ambience is sort of the Santa Barbara resort beachy feel," Standlea said. "They all have nice patios and big windows. It's very open. It's comfortable and casual but also nice like a resort feeling inside. It's an interesting blend of both worlds."

Standlea says the ambiance inside a Habit Burger is much nicer than a Five Guys or Smash Burger, but their prices are lower. A Charburger, fries and a drink costs $5.95 at Habit Burger.

The company is still privately owned so none of the locations are franchises. They've been around since 1969, starting in Santa Barbara. A new location is coming soon to Glendale and another in central Phoenix.

The location in Chandler was chosen because of a good amount of traffic and a good mix between businesses and residences. Standlea says the new building is the largest they've ever had.

Habit Burger will have a few fundraisers before its official opening to give employees a chance to perfect their skills. On Sunday, July 17 the location will open for lunch and dinner with its full menu. All proceeds will be donated to Boys and Girls Club of the East Valley and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Standlea expects to be open from about 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7:30 p.m., but more details will be released as the opening gets closer.

"That's just kind of a fun practice," Standlea said. "It's a full menu and full price, but we donate every penny to the local charities we're supporting."

Habit will officially open for business on Wednesday, July 20.

The restaurant has been hiring cooks and cashiers for the new location all week but they may have a few more spots open. Those looking for a job can stop by the restaurant in person between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday or Saturday to inquire.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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