Your Guide to Authentic Regional Eats
Sign In | Register for Free!
Restaurants Recipes Forums Eating Tours Merchandise FAQ Maps Insider

Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger

304 S. Ashley, Ann Arbor, MI - (734) 663-4590
Posted By Erika Gasser & Jon Barber on 8/12/2007 10:20:00 AM
Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger has been an Ann Arbor institution since 1953, and has a winning motto: cheaper than food. That may not be quite as much the case as it was in the beginning, but you can still get a great lunch for around $5, and the quality of the ingredients are part of what makes Blimpy Burger so special. The meat is fresh and hand-ground, and the golf ball sized patties are pounded into submission on a grill with a lovely, well-seasoned surface. That grill has seen a lot of burgers, but also onions, mushrooms, bacon, eggs, and crispy cheese bits that ooze off the sides of the patties.

Blimpy Burger meets several of the qualifications for a Roadfood establishment. Blimpy’s has been in business for a long time, doing one thing particularly well, and has maintained a loyal customer base despite (or because of) the cantankerous and quirky service. The small building's interior resembles a diner, with walls covered with "Best of" awards and photographs of the manager’s amazing snow sculptures of burger-loving polar bears that grace the storefront every winter. Another important characteristic of a Roadfood place is the predominance of a SYSTEM. Blimpy Burger's is posted on signs that make more sense after you've gone there a few times. You must approach the line in an orderly fashion, take a tray whether you're ordering a meal of your own or not, turn off your cell phone, and answer only the questions put to you.

First, do you want anything from the fryer? We heartily recommend that you say yes. The fries are of the steak variety, just moments out of the oil and generously heaped into a paper container. Lots of people love the breaded and fried vegetables, which include mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini and onions. Depending on your onion ring loyalties, you may find these among the best ever. They are just how I like mine: thin and crispy with a lacy coating that bears no resemblance to the thick, one-bite-and-the-onion-falls-out variety.

Next, do you want a double, triple, quad or quint (I’ve heard that each burger ball weighs about a tenth of a pound)? Regular bun, onion, or kaiser (we like the regular, which doesn't overwhelm the beef)? Accompanied by onions, mushrooms, fried egg or bacon? Salami?? We like to get doubles with cheddar and onions (I once heard a guy order a quad with bacon, but I was not so bold). The beauty of Blimpy is that the burger appears well-balanced at both the low- and high-octane versions. After the grill cook slings your patties around for a while, you are asked about cheese; Swiss and cheddar appear to be popular choices, but we also saw someone receive a healthy pile of feta on theirs.

If all goes well, you can manage to avoid the scorn of the proprietor and the line cooks--but don't count on it. The system is venerated more than communicated, and you are bound to mess it up. But trust us, the derision you risk if you ask for things out of order (condiments, by the way, are dead last) is nothing compared to the joys of the meal that awaits you. The patties are flavorful, with crisp edges that contrast pleasantly with the juicy, greasy, beefiness. The condiments, which are assembled at your request, are fresh and skillfully arranged. The fried items are so hot that you risk injury unless you restrain yourself. We recommend that you enjoy your tray of food on the small but leafy outdoor deck, which is often crowded with a mix of University of Michigan undergraduates, local workmen, and be-suited professionals in search of a meal that is friendly to the stomach (if daunting to the heart).

12 out of 13 people found the review helpful. Was it helpful to you?

No Yes

Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Rate this place

Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

A quint: five patties (about a half pound of beef).
"A quint: five patties (about a half pound of beef)."
Michael Stern





Addictive onion rings. They're a greasy-fingered mess, and an ideal companion to a multi-patty Blimpy.
"Addictive onion rings. They're a greasy-fingered mess, and an ideal companion to a multi-patty Blimpy."
Michael Stern


While these are good and are battered and fried right in front of you, I prefer the puffier, beer batter type of ring. Good is good though and these certainly are.
"While these are good and are battered and fried right in front of you, I prefer the puffier, beer batter type of ring. Good is good though and these certainly are."
Dave O'Ball


One of America's great burger griddles. As you go through the line, watching Blimpies made is hypnotic entertainment. Note how each patty starts nearly spherical, but winds up pancake-flat.
"One of America's great burger griddles. As you go through the line, watching Blimpies made is hypnotic entertainment. Note how each patty starts nearly spherical, but winds up pancake-flat."
Michael Stern


This is where the magic happens. Nothing like flat top burgers.
"This is where the magic happens. Nothing like flat top burgers."
Dave O'Ball


The Pepper Steak Bullet comes sandwiched in a superb onion roll. It is three patties topped with provolone, ranch dressing, scallions, bacon, roasted peppers, grilled onions and cracked pepper.
"The Pepper Steak Bullet comes sandwiched in a superb onion roll. It is three patties topped with provolone, ranch dressing, scallions, bacon, roasted peppers, grilled onions and cracked pepper."
Michael Stern


The onion rings are a greasy, tangled, delicious mess!
"The onion rings are a greasy, tangled, delicious mess!"
Cliff Strutz


A double with blue cheese and a slice of tomato
"A double with blue cheese and a slice of tomato"
Michael Stern


The quadruple burger, here with bacon and cheese, isn't as physically imposing as it sounds.  Still, one of these, along with a side of fries or rings, should satisfy most healthy appetites.
"The quadruple burger, here with bacon and cheese, isn't as physically imposing as it sounds. Still, one of these, along with a side of fries or rings, should satisfy most healthy appetites."
Cliff Strutz


This is not something I plan on eating often, but as a novelty item, the deep fried broccoli proved to be quite tasty.
"This is not something I plan on eating often, but as a novelty item, the deep fried broccoli proved to be quite tasty."
Cliff Strutz


Just about right, IMO: a Blimpy triple with cheese, ketchup, mustard, and pickles.
"Just about right, IMO: a Blimpy triple with cheese, ketchup, mustard, and pickles."
Michael Stern


A double with cheddar and onions, with hot fries.
"A double with cheddar and onions, with hot fries."
Erika Gasser & Jon Barber


This is a top two burger for me. I'm not sure it's my favorite but it's no less than second best. It's quite simple and that's just the way it oughta be. Absolutely fabulous. A quad seems to be just the right amount of meat. The onion bun is a nice option.
"This is a top two burger for me. I'm not sure it's my favorite but it's no less than second best. It's quite simple and that's just the way it oughta be. Absolutely fabulous. A quad seems to be just the right amount of meat. The onion bun is a nice option."
Dave O'Ball


Blimpy's menu, with so many possible combinations!
"Blimpy's menu, with so many possible combinations!"
Erika Gasser & Jon Barber


The
"The "Cheaper Than Food" certainly qualifies as an unusual motto, but just adds to Krazy Jim's quirkiness."
Cliff Strutz


In 1953 when the Blimpy opened, far fewer people ate out than do today. Feeding a family on fifteen-cent hamburgers indeed was cheaper than cooking whole meals at home. Hence the house motto.
"In 1953 when the Blimpy opened, far fewer people ate out than do today. Feeding a family on fifteen-cent hamburgers indeed was cheaper than cooking whole meals at home. Hence the house motto."
Michael Stern



What is Roadfood?  |   Submit Content  |   Privacy Policy  |   Contact Roadfood.com   Copyright - Roadfood.com