Big Boy to debut @burger restaurant concept on Liberty Street in downtown Ann Arbor
Erica Hobbs | AnnArbor.com
A new burger joint offering gourmet burgers at a fast food pace will be the newest addition to the McKinley Towne Centre building at 505 E. Liberty St. in downtown Ann Arbor.
@burger, owned by Big Boy Restaurants, will be the first of what Big Boy CEO Keith Sirois said could eventually become a national chain. The restaurant plans to open in mid-to-late July.
A second location, he said, could open as early as next year, possibly in Ann Arbor. He said Ann Arbor is a great location to start a business.
“It has a fabulous demographic mix,” he said. “You have folks from all over the country, from all over the state and all over the world. It’s just a terrific place to test the concept.”
That concept is a modern yet comfortable atmosphere for people who appreciate good food, he said.
Unlike Big Boy, which Sirois described as more of a family restaurant, @burger will not offer sit-down service. Instead, patrons will order at the counter and have the food brought to them in the restaurant’s dining room, which Sirois described as contemporary and comfortable. He said the dining room will include several TVs for sports programming as well as outdoor seating in the alley next door.
“It’s kind of a quick, casual concept,” he said.
The menu, Sirois said, will offer a “limited” selection of burgers, chicken sandwiches and salads. Burgers will be available in 7 ounce and 4 ounce sizes, with meat provided by Detroit-based meat packer Wolverine Packing Co.
“It’s a little larger burger with fresh baked buns made in the restaurant,” Sirois said. “It’s a proprietary blend of meat.”
Though the restaurant owns the recipes of more than 150 burger possibilities, Sirois said @burger’s menu will feature a steady selection of five to six burgers plus the option to build your own burger. He said the restaurant will “freshen” the menu now and then with rotating choices.
When it comes to vegetarian options, Sirois said @burger will offer several salads and is looking into offering vegetarians sandwiches as well.
“Particularly in Ann Arbor, we think that’s something folks would like to see,” he said. “We want to make sure it’s high quality.”
Price-wise, Sirois said a 7 ounce burger, chips and soft drink will run under $10, but said fixed prices have not yet been set.
@burger is also in the process of trying to obtain a liquor license to offer beer and wine, which Sirois said will complement the food.
“We want to offer some microbrews and local favorites,” he said. “We do know that folks love to have a glass of beer with their burger.”
“I think it’s a nice mix of tenants in there that help each other out,” McKinley's regional leasing director Dan Pasick said. “There’s both a national and local presence.”
He said Big Boy has solid credentials as a restaurant and McKinley liked the idea.
“We like that its going to be their first concept,” he said. “I think they had a unique product that would do good there.”
Erica Hobbs is a reporter for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at 734 623-2537 or via e-mail at email@example.com.