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Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger

304 S. Ashley, Ann Arbor, MI - (734) 663-4590
Posted By Michael Stern on October 5, 2014 4:47 AM
The Blimpy's new location is larger than the old one, but you still can expect to wait in line. The line gives you an opportunity to do your homework, which is to figure out exactly how you want your hamburger, plus – and this is crucial – how to order it. The first question you will be asked by a counter staff is if you want something fried. This refers to side-dish vegetables, including broccoli stalks, steak fries, and big, irregular onion rings in self-detaching crust. Next, tell the burger cook how many patties you want. At ten-to-a-pound, two is minimal. Next, name your roll: Kaiser, regular, or onion? Want cheese? Say cheddar, Swiss, provolone, American, bleu, or feta. Fifth question: Any extras on top? These include fried eggs, bacon, salami, grilled onions, banana peppers, and mushrooms. Finally, when everything else is settled, give the assembler a list of condiments you want applied, naming the wet ones first. By this time, you are at the cash register at the end of the line. The fried things have arrived in overflowing cardboard boats and your burger, precisely built to your specifications, is wrapped in wax paper and ready for you to tote to a table.

According to generally accepted rules of griddle frying, Blimpy hamburgers are cooked all wrong. Each glob of freshly-ground chuck, about the size of an ice cream scoop, is squished flat on the hot iron, slapped and flipped, sometimes hit so vigorously that it disintegrates like Iowa loosemeats (but is reintegrated with a deft spatula), finally leaned on hard before getting topped with cheese, et. al. and bunned. Call it burger abuse, but these hamburgers are fatty enough to take it and still come off the griddle oozing juice. No doubt, a single plain Blimpy on a bun would be boring. But no one gets a single, and the only reason to get one plain is if you’ve given up condiments for Lent. A triple, quad or quint, layered with cheese (on each of the patties), piled with onions, bacon, banana peppers or olives (green or black?), festooned with romaine leaves, tomato slices, mustard, mayo and pickles and sandwiched in a superb onion roll, is an enormous feast that transcends greasy-spoon ignominy. A Blimpy costs a bit more than a fast-food dollar meal; but getting it and eating it at Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger is a hamburger epiphany.
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Triple
Pepper Steak Bullet
Quad Burger w/ Cheese
Onion Rings
Quint
Fried Broccoli
Double

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Posted By jack holsombeck on April 18, 2014 5:14 PM
Great news.I just read on M live.com that Krazy Jims has found a new home in Downtown Ann Arbor.They plan on opening by mid July
4 star rating
Overall Rating
Quad Burger w/ Cheese
Triple
Fried Broccoli
Quint
Onion Rings

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Posted By Robert Dudley on August 2, 2013 8:50 PM
Ah sweet Blimpys! Since becoming a member to Roadfood.com (why oh why did I not find you sooner!! Thank you Rick Steves podcast) I have visited this wonderful place a total of six times in five months. Well they are moving at the end of August 2013 as the building they are in has been sold to the U of M and a man does have to do his research! I totally skip the fries and onion rings, I am here for the burgers!

Standing in line as always, you have usually start from outside the building as the crowds are here to enjoy the heavenly burger. You wind you way slowly through the old style chairs and tables working your way to the grill. It is all part of the experience and I do not mind waiting.

I no longer fret about what I order as now I get the same every time: two triples, with grilled onions on a regular bun, cheddar cheese. When you pay for the meal it is then when they add the condiments: tomato, lettuce and ketchup. Anything you want.

How to describe the burger? Unlike any I have ever had, they grind their meat daily and each patty is a small scoop which is put on the grill and instantly flattened. Put into wax paper and given to the cashier who also puts on your condiments. The burger is fresh, juicy and cooked to perfection. The meat is the best I have ever had (my wife once took me to Five Guys Burgers claiming that it beat Blimpys--it did not come close). I am sad once the first burger is downed but heartened that I have another one!

On the way out of the steps leading down to the sidewalk I nod my head at the others standing in line waiting to get their Blimpy burger, they nod back--they know what I have just eaten and are waiting for the same experience. I have been told that the owner has two sites nearby where he is going to move to. Going to take everything, the chairs, the tables, all the pictures and items that have been here since 1953 when the place opened. I too will follow and hopefully will follow up with a new review when it opens. Until then I do have two weeks until the current spot closes and it is only twenty five minutes away...
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Triple
Onion Rings

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Posted By Dave O'Ball on May 20, 2013 3:52 PM
In my pantheon of great burgers, Krazy Jim's is right there at the top. I'm torn between this place and one in my hometown. They're simply that good. Small meat balls are smashed on a flat top. You order however many you want on your bun (one to five) and then your modifiers like bacon, cheese, or salami. There are bun options as well. In the fryolated arts department, the onion rings are breaded right in front of you before hitting the oil.

Blimpy Burger is a tiny place. Seating is very limited and grabbing a table before getting in line is not permitted. They encourage people to eat and leave. With a line that often snakes out the door they have a pretty regimented ordering system that, while rather "Soup Nazi"-ish, really helps keep the line moving. You can find the info you need on their website, on the wall, or just answer the questions asked and don't jump ahead, lest you be scolded. One last thing: no electronic devices in line. Lest you be scolded.
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Quad Burger w/ Cheese
Onion Rings

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Posted By Dan Schmitzer on January 27, 2008 10:25 PM
Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger is one of maybe five reasons why I can never leave Ann Arbor. The food should in no way be confused with something healthy. If you are a health nut or are planning on visiting Blimpy with a health nut in tow, don't bother. The joy of Blimpy is knowing that you are eating something for the simple joy of eating it.

During the school year, especially during the warmer months, it is not unusual to find a line of hungry, excited people snaking its way through the limited seating area and out the front door. Be ready to wait a while during the lunch hour. If you can't stand for 20 to 30 minutes while waiting to place your order, you may want to visit during off-hours.

In order for people to be served in an efficient manner, it is necessary for the patrons to be paying attention and decisive when ordering. First-timers need to watch the people ahead of them in line, listen to the questions they are being asked by the people behind the counter, and be ready to answer those questions when the time comes.

The number of ordering options at Blimpy will make your head explode. Want 10 burger patties, just ask. If you want a fried egg on your burger, go for it. If you want grilled onions, mushrooms, bacon, go ahead and ask, they have it. Pepper rings, blue cheese, green olives, no problem. I tend to avoid the overwhelming number of options and order one of two no-brainer burgers on the menu: The Pepper Steak Bullet or The Chili Size.

Pepper Steak Bullet: triple with Swiss cheese, grilled onions and banana peppers, with chopped scallions, bacon, and ranch dressing, on an onion bun (I'll normally get an order of onion rings to go with it). Chili Size: triple with American cheese, covered in chili, and topped with chopped onion, tomato, and banana peppers on a kaiser roll. You won't be able to pick it up so they are kind enough to provide a fork (I normally order a side of chili fries with this).

The quirkiness and character of the joint and the people who work there makes it a fun time. It's an experience. If you want a plain old vanilla, personality-free dining experience go to Big Boy or McDonald's. If you want to go to place that will give you a story to tell, go to Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger.
2 star rating
Overall Rating

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Posted By Erika Gasser & Jon Barber on August 12, 2007 10:20 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).
4 star rating
Overall Rating

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Posted By Erik Marlin on May 27, 2003 12:18 PM
Krazy Jim's Blimpyburger is the best hamburger stand in southeast Michigan. The Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce recognizes this establishment and the oldest fast food in town and it has been there for over 50 years. They claim combinations of burgers and toppings in the hundreds of thousands.

The staff are a little odd and would remind you of a certain Seinfeld character. Make sure you grab your tray at the right location and pay attention to the ordering scheme. It is very specific.

I recommend a triple or quad depending on your appetite, because they use small -- golf ball sized -- patties and smash them on the grill as they are cooking. When you get your change, take note. They still use $2 bills and 50 cent pieces to make change.

All of the effort is worth it though after you bite into one of the world's best burgers.
4 star rating
Overall Rating

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