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Posted on Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 11:04 a.m.

Ann Arbor's Blimpy Burger lands spot on '10 great places for regional fast-food treasures'

By Lizzy Alfs

Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger, the much-loved Ann Arbor burger joint that has been serving customers downtown since 1953, has earned another in a long line of accolades from national media outlets.


Blimpy Burger is located on South Division Street in Ann Arbor. file photo

The popular Ann Arbor eatery — located on South Division Street — landed a spot this week on USA Today’s ’10 great places for regional fast-food treasures’ list.

In the article, "Fast Food Mania" host Jon Hein suggests heading to the Ann Arbor restaurant for great burgers and toppings.


A burger from Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger in Ann Arbor.


“The shack serves tiny burgers, available with extra meat — double, triple, quad, or quint, in the local parlance,” the article says. “Burgers can be topped with everything from a fried egg to grilled banana peppers.”

Other restaurants on the list include Pittsburgh's Primanti Bros., the California-based In-N-Out Burger chain and Wisconsin-based Culver's, which has a new location in Scio Township.

Hein cited Culver's rotating menu of 80 frozen custard flavors as what makes it stand out.

"It keeps you coming back for more," he said.

Travel Channel was at Blimpy Burger in May to film a segment of "Burger Paradise" currently scheduled to air in October. The restaurant was also featured on “Travel Channel’s Man v. Food” in 2010.

Read the full USA Today article here.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 10:23 p.m.

I'm almost tempted to go to Blimpys and see if one of these kids is rude to me. I don't like to be treated rudely. I do confrontation.

shadow wilson

Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.

Umm they are not kids so be prepared to get embarrassed....

Ron Granger

Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 12:46 a.m.

You show that fry cook who's boss! A sure way to provoke a confrontation would be an adult ordering from the children's menu. That'd be perfect for your example.


Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

I do have to add that driving around ann arbor it's easy to see how they can get away with it at this place. Everyone looks so weak and vulnerable and like easy targets for abuse.


Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

Pure deliciousness! One of my favorite places in Ann Arbor, by far. While I have witnessed the staff being rude, all you have to do is "suck it up", order your food and enjoy it! People are soooo "thin-skinned" these days! Bunch of babies.


Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 4:59 a.m.

Squid's correct - there's no "right way" to order. It's the employees' job to assist the customers (you know, the ones who pay the bills and keep the overrated dump afloat) with their orders.


Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

It's not about being thin-skinned, Mac. It's very apparent that common courtesy and politeness are fading in our society, but it's very unnecessary to be outright rude to people over a minor ordering faux-pas that was incidental and does no harm. I deal with people at work everyday who don't do things "the right way," but I'm not so insecure that I feel the need to talk down to these people to make them feel bad while trying to impress others (or myself).


Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 12:16 p.m.

You rock Blimpy -- keep putting Ann Arbor on the map with your burgers. Best wishes to all who make this possible

Robert Coon

Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 6:25 a.m.

It's amazing how the accolades keep rolling in for this classic restaurant! People don't go to this place because it's "rude" - people come for the honest food and atmosphere. Besides, you have to appreciate a place that goes out of its way to serve up the anti-chain burger in a myriad of ways.


Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.

its not rude - its an adventure - dont take it so seriously - its just a fun time


Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 2:22 a.m.

Katz's Deli in NYC, location of the famous "I'll have what she's having" scene from "When Harry Met Sally," also has an inscrutable ordering and seating methodology. And I didn't find the food all that great. Prefer the 2nd Avenue Deli when I'm there.


Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 7:02 p.m.

ok- so we are comparing a $25 sandwitch to a $7 blimpe burger - go ahead and order your katz corned beef and pay $8 for 2 additional pieces of wonder bread - so 2 people can share - I prefer blimpe burger any day


Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 1:41 a.m.

This reminds me of the No Name restaurant in Boston. The wait staff is brusque, at best. The food is quite good and cheap. Sometimes you will see famous people there. Used to include some of the Kennedys, but that was in a different era.


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 11:27 p.m.

Sure, the burgers may be good, but it doesn't excuse the pathetic behavior of some of the workers. Last time my family went there, I tried to help my then 6 year old daughter place an order. Of course, I was chastised for such an unbelievable action. I agree with LAEL's earlier post that I deal with enough rude idiots already; I certainly do not feel the need to give my business to a place that celebrates treating the customers so poorly.


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 10:39 p.m.

I love Blimpy! Much better value than the Zing-place.


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

I was there a few months ago, and observed a man who brought his wife and kids for the first time. He was very excited. Then the wife grabbed a table and "reserved" it while her family waited in line. She was asked, then told, to wait in line like everybody else, and to stop holding a table when others needed somewhere to sit and eat. She went up to her husband, made a very angry face, said something I couldn't hear, and stormed out. The husband sheepishly collected the kids and left, presumably to head to McDonald's.

Linda Peck

Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 6:39 p.m.

I enjoyed it and liked the food very much. Went with my grandchildren and they knew all about it and coached me. I still made mistakes, but was not treated rudely, in fact, it was a blast and we were all laughing about it. People mirror each other. Anyway, thanks Blimpy's. You are always the favorite spot of my grandson.


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 5:47 p.m.

I love the food but I too was treated rudely there as well. I was told- being 7 months pregnant that I could not sit with my then 3 year old son and wait at a spot for my husband to bring me my food. They were telling me that I had stand in line with my toddler and go through the line too. I could not save a spot. Haven't been back since.

shadow wilson

Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 10:09 p.m.

I don't believe this story.

Ron Granger

Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 12:54 a.m.

Did you mention you were pregnant? Because a lot of the patrons, well, some might say they look sort of pregnant. And I'm sure it isn't easy to tell the difference.


Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 9:26 p.m.

Also illegal given the ADA.


Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 11:48 a.m.

@Ron: Yes, heaven forbid they make an exception for a very pregnant woman with a toddler. That would destroy their hard-earned reputation as jerks.

Ron Granger

Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 1:33 a.m.

People often try and save tables before they have their food. That is never fair to the people who have their foot but can't find a spot to sit. Tables are for eating. I'm glad Blimpy's doesn't allow it.

Angry Moderate

Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 6:19 p.m.

That is awful. Being rude isn't as funny as they seem to think.


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 5:22 p.m.

I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

we're not talking popeye harry.

Ron Granger

Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 4:59 p.m.

There is a process for ordering at Blimpy's. In recent years they have even posted a sign that explains the process in detail. It is simple, but some people can't even order a burger. They think they are at mcdonalds or something. Some people, for example, don't want to take a tray. Each order must have a tray. It is how orders are tracked. And then they get irate that the process won't be changed to accomodate them. Or, they wait in line and when it is finally time to order, they still don't know what they want. It is especially funny when it is someone stoned out of their mind. They're so hungry but they cannot articulate or decide what they want. It is great comedy.


Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 4:54 a.m.

Ron - Are you kidding? The customer - even the one who makes an honest mistake - is always right. Places that actually care - for example, Zingerman's - pride themselves on customer service and would fire employees who treat customers this way.


Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 9:24 p.m.

Yeah, my disabled friend who was on the receiving end of their "fun" wasn't so amused. Not only is he physically disabled, but is cognitively slow and humiliated during his visit to Ann Arbor as a result of what he felt was abuse at Blimpy's. I should have done a better job explaining the process up front but thought he'd follow my lead .....


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

And here I thought the comedy was the people willing to jump through their hoops just to get an OK-to-overrated burger.


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 5:23 p.m.

Its the simple things in life.


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

If you don't take a tray it means you're getting it to go.


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.

Blimpy's actually earns their reputation, good for them!


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 4:15 p.m.

I'll second that LAEL comment. A place that loves to find that one customer they can treat rudely, and when they get talked back to because of it, they blow up. A real trailer park mentality. The lack of additional stores tells me that, thankfully, only a few buy into the concept.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

They should all be very clean and neat, and smile obsequiously and say, May I please have your order, sir? Then you say, Yeah, gimme a big greasy burger with all the fixins, and they say, May I please request more specifics with regard to your order, sir? Then you say, Bleep you, you twit, and turn to go, and the counter person says, I'm sorry for disappointing you, sir, but please, have a very nice day. THis is a dive. Give it a break.

Ron Granger

Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 4:59 p.m.

Because if it is a chain, that means it must be great food.


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 4:20 p.m.

From their own web site: "There's a "right way" to order and a "wrong way" to order, so be sure to visit the ordering page for proper instructions!!" Sounds like someone is trying to be the "Burger Nazi". So who will actually put up with abuse from burger flippers anyway?


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 4:15 p.m.

Culver's also made the list! They recently opened next to Lowe's on Jackson Rd. I haven't been there yet, but I'll give them a try next time I'm out that way.

Ron Granger

Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 1:34 a.m.

Culvers doesn't even grind their meat fresh.

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

meh, culver's is good, but a CHAIN. krazy jim's is local and tradition


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

May have to compare this to Roy's Squeeze Inn.....

shadow wilson

Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 10:08 p.m.

Roys has an interesting history.Way back in the 80's we would have wonderful bbq pork sandwiches from Roys.My friend now gone from ypsi told us that Roy had a special BBQ sauce recipe learned from the south that he would use.Roy moved from place to place back in the 80's and way before that I believe......I am not sure what the Roys of today is in relation to the old Roys.....also I stopped eating there when another friend commented on the pork looking much like the stuff served at Jackson prison ......


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 5:53 p.m.

Roys gets my vote.

Ron Granger

Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

I prefer the Roy's in Milan. As for best, it depends. These are griddle joints. Kight's broils their burgers. I like both.


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 4:26 p.m.

Roy and Blimpy's are the best "local" burgers in Washtenaw co IMO

Ron Granger

Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 3:59 p.m.

The outstanding burger at Knights, and their amazing onion rings, also belong on any list like this. Though it isn't like Knights needs more business. The place is packed.

Ron Granger

Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 1:33 a.m.

You're right - I was thinking burger list, not fast food.

Angry Moderate

Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

I'm not sure that Knight's belongs on a list of fast food restaurants.

Ron Granger

Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

Love Bimpy's. As my tastes have matured, the Pepper Steak Bullet is increasingly a favorite. I'm not normally a fan of ranch dressing, but it really works in this combination. Their onion rings are different, but excellent. Lighter breading than most. The meat is ground fresh daily. Remember back in the day when they refused to sell soda because they wanted their restaurant to be able to stand solely on the quality of food? Most joints make much of their profit from high margin soda sales.


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 6:27 p.m.

At $2 for a 20oz Pepsi I'd have to say that's where the $$$ is.


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 3:57 p.m.

I used to go there occasionally as a student, but I was treated so rudely last time that I'll never go back. I know many consider the rudeness part of the retaurant's "charm", but there's enough free rudeness out there in society as it is and I'm not going to pay to have someone be rude to me because I accidently do something in the wrong order.

Stan Hyne

Sat, Jul 21, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

I tried the place, and hadn't been in there before. The first server in line told me how to order and advised me what I might like. The food and the experience was very good.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 7:51 p.m.

Great thing about capitalism: if you don't like it, don't buy it. This place has been giving people stomach aches for longer than most readers have been living, and they're still rolling along. I love the place.


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

No soup for you!


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 5:35 p.m.

the place is a dump. Not in my top 10 for burgers around here.


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

Oh please indeed, was the thought I had the last time I was there.

Elijah Shalis

Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 4:04 p.m.

oh please


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

Hats off to Davey and the rest of the crew that makes this a great place to visit!