Biz Beat

Modesto will be able to make this burger a Habit

Construction has begun on an expansion at the Briggsmore Square Shopping Center in Modesto.
Construction has begun on an expansion at the Briggsmore Square Shopping Center in Modesto.

Ruby Hansen will be pleased to learn that her tip panned out.

On Sunday, I wrote about what was happening at the shopping center at McHenry and Briggsmore avenues in Modesto. That includes a new building, going up now, that will house the bakery and restaurant Panera, and another site, which hasn’t progressed quite as far, where Starbucks will be moving to a stand-alone spot.

But I didn’t know what was going into the other spots in both buildings until I spoke with Chris Vierra this week. His company, VVH Consulting Engineers, is handling the project. He’s also mayor of Ceres.

Vierra told me a dental office will take up the rest of the Panera building. Going into the building with Starbucks is a Chipotle, as Hansen had heard, and the best hamburger in the country. That’s what Consumer Reports last year rated the Habit Burger Grill, a Santa Barbara-based chain of restaurants.

This will be Habit’s first site in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

I couldn’t reach anyone with Habit to give me any more information about plans for the Modesto site. But I did do some research, contacting my sister-in-law, who went to the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her take on Habit: “They have very good burgers and great fries. ... They taste like nothing’s been frozen.”

She said the chain also offers healthy ways to dress up a burger – including turkey burgers, avocado and sprouts.

Its menu includes a variety of chargrilled burgers; grilled chicken; tri-tip; tuna steak and other sandwiches; Cobb, Caesar and other salads; and sides that range from french fries to tempura green beans.

Thanks again to everyone who wrote in or called to ask what was happening at the site. As I learn more, I’ll keep you posted.

Have an item for Business Beat? Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter @PattyGuerra.

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