The Habit

A young girl walks past the soon-to-open Habit Burger Grill at the Town Center in La Canada Flintridge. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / November 28, 2012)

Starting Wednesday, there's a new char burger in town.

The Habit Burger Grill will open in the La Cañada Flintridge Town Center, and before its official launch it will host three events for local nonprofits.

Mike Mirkil, representative for the Santa Barbara-based chain, said that with locations doing well in neighboring Pasadena and Glendale, the company is confident that Habit char burgers will be in demand at the corner of Angeles Crest Highway and Foothill Boulevard in La Cañada.

“We're excited about this one,” he said. “We're looking forward to a strong opening.”

Though the formal launch is Wednesday, the Habit will offer its full menu from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, with all proceeds to benefit the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation. Sales from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday will benefit the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge.

On Monday, from noon to 2 p.m., the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA is the beneficiary.

“We like to do [fundraisers] because we want to be a good neighbor,” Mirkil said. “We try to focus on charities that will benefit people, families, children … we'll just do a little bit of diligence about which are the ones in the community that people are involved with.”

The store aims to raise around $1,000 for each organization, Mirkil said.

The soft openings also offer a chance to train many of the 30 to 35 employees who will staff the new store, he added.

Deb Jordan, executive director of the community center, said it is common for businesses to offer 10 or 20% of their proceeds to charity, but to turn over everything from a special event is “unusual.”

“I've never heard of that, so we jumped at the chance,” she said. “It came up rather quickly, so it's an unexpected surprise for our budget.”

With the Habit open, the Town Center's occupancy rate is now 94%, and owner IDS Real Estate is in negotiations with possible tenants to fill the final few spaces remaining, said IDS Marketing Director Rob Fuelling.

IDS is still working on plans, announced in July, to build a water fountain and seating in the main courtyard and smaller water elements in the center's other courtyards.

The original plan was to do the face-lift this year.

“We're still working with the city to get … a variety of approvals from the Design Commission on the landscaping and signage,” he said. “It's been a long process getting everything we need from the city.”

Fuelling said that IDS had aimed to get the remodel done by November, but now expects to start work next year to avoid disruptions during the holidays.

Earlier this year it appeared the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce would move the Saturday farmers market from its current location near Memorial Park to Olberz Park, which is adjacent to the Town Center.

Those plans have been shelved.

“Too many of the business complained about the potential disruption for parking,” said Chamber President Pat Anderson.

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