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Habit Burger starts construction
Habit Burger starts
Ground was being dug this week at the Whitmore Plaza Shopping Center in preparation for the new Habit Burger. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Work has begun on the new Habit Burger at the Whitmore Plaza Shopping Center.

A construction fence was placed around the site and work has commenced on the undergrounding that must take place before the foundation and slab are poured.

Last September the Ceres Planning Commission unanimously approved a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to build the 3,114-square-foot restaurant with a 658-square-foot patio dining area. The building will occupy the vacant pad directly north of Bob’s Coffee Shop and farthest west of the Taco Bell on Whitmore Avenue.

The Habit Burger is a national burger chain that opened in recent years in Modesto and Turlock.

Angel Speed 3 LP approached the city in July 2020 about bringing Habit Burger to Ceres. City staff expressed concerns that the drive-thru wasn’t designed to prevent the queue of vehicles from spilling onto the existing entrance drive of the shopping center. The applicant’s design team reconfigured a plan to accommodate 13 vehicles for minimal impact to the site and the city planning staff signed onto it.

The applicant had to get city approval since the lot has a commercial zoning designation of Community Commercial (CC) which requires approval of a CUP for the review of the architectural design of the building and operation layout.

The 115,396-square-foot Whitmore Plaza Shopping Center, located at 2517-2617 Mitchell Road and 2908-2920 E. Whitmore Avenue, recently was sold by Yosemite Properties to Save Mart Portfolio Owner NLP CA LLC. The acquisition cost $18.4 million. Anchors of the center are the Save Mart grocery store and Planet Fitness 

Habit Burger was founded in Santa Barbara in 1969. The California-based restaurant company is known for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame, signature sandwiches and fresh-cut salads.

The Habit Burger Grill’s open flame sears a distinctive smoky flavor into their Charburgers, fresh marinated chicken, sushi-grade Ahi tuna and USDA choice tri-tip steaks. In addition, it features fresh made-to-order salads and a selection of sides, shakes and malts. The Habit Burger Grill was recently named in Thrillist’s list of “Underrated Burger Chains that need to be in Every State!” The Habit Burger Grill has since grown to over 275 restaurants in 14 states throughout California, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and Washington as well as eight foreign countries.