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Posted on Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 3:27 p.m.

Two-hour wait for a Blimpy Burger? See and share photos from Ann Arbor icon's last days

By Ben Freed

The average wait was about two hours during lunch hour at Blimpy Burger on Tuesday, but that did not stop many dedicated Ann Arborites from getting a last taste.

Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger will close Wednesday at 8 p.m., owner Rich Magner said. The iconic burger joint known for its greasy food and gruff staff was forced to look for a new location after the University of Michigan purchased the building and surrounding properties to make way for a new graduate student dormitory.

Magner told that he is in the early stages of negotiating a lease for a new location for the restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor but that there will be a hiatus that could last several months before a reopening.

The history of the institution weighed heavily on many customer’s minds. One family brought three generations for a Blimpy experience that capped over half a century of burgers and fries:

You’ve heard what the people waiting have to say, and we’d like to see what your Blimpy experience has been. Whether your photographs of the Blimpy Burgers and Blimpy Bears have been filtered by Instagram or Father Time, we’d love to see them and share them with our readers.

Share your Blimpy Burger photos with the hashtag #blimpyburger on Instagram and Twitter or by uploading it using the form below:

Check back Wednesday to see our gallery of reader-submitted photos of their Blimpy Burger experiences throughout the years.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

So they are closed permanently? Sad to say it, but not surprised at an early retirement. Come to Ypsilanti. A lot of hungry EMU students just waiting to try something new. I also heard there is a brownie shop opening up on Cross as well. So you got cookies, brownies and Blimpies. O MY!!!

Kyle Mattson

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 6:16 p.m.

Here's some more info on the brownie shop that was planning to open on Cross: Unfortunately those plans did not pan out, here's some updated info from Concentrate:

Alan Jackson

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.

Where are all those banks that claim to be Ann Arbor focused? A business as venerated as Blimpys, with as many years of operations and national exposure was asking for kickstarter loans? Go figure.

Jack Gladney

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

That should tell you a little something about the business. Makes you wonder why Blimpy can't get bank financing after 60 years in business. But this is the feel good, be weepy story of the week.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

I thought about that too. They must think Blimpy Burgers are people from the town of Blimpyburg.

Tim Hornton

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 1:52 a.m.

I like my burgers cheap and fast at McDonalds thank you very much!

Chester Drawers

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

Patty, McDonald's (and Burger King, Wendy's, etc) also hire local people. Did you think they import all of those teenagers from out of town?


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 12:53 p.m.

MMMMmmmm..... Pink slime on a bun! Money to a giant corporation, instead of a local owner who hires local people. Yes, indeedy--I see your point!

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 2:09 a.m.

If you get the happy meal they give you a toy!!!


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 12:30 a.m.

it WILL be back


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 12:13 a.m.

Is that a burger with bleu cheese before or after it was eaten? Yuck! Two hours in the rain for this? And I thought I knew how to waste time.

Tim Hornton

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 1:53 a.m.

LOL, Best post thus far.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 12:11 a.m.

I went there today with the intention of one last visit before they close. I saw the line and abandoned my quest. It just wasn't worth that much to me.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

@Nicholas Urfe: Nominee for best comment of the year!

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 2:07 a.m.

You were tested and found wanting. Your life will replay this scene over and over again. Rosebud.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 11:43 p.m.

I never took out of towners to this place because a polite host does not rip off their guests by asking them to pay 9 bucks for 1.50 worth of food.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

Doesn't a polite host pay for his out-of-town guests' lunches?....

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 2:06 a.m.

The 1950's called. They said a soda costs $1.50 in the future and a lousy mcdonalds burger combo is $7.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 11:33 p.m.

Should add up what each person spends for lunch and then deduce an average. I'm guessing Blimpy's raked in about $14 for an average lunch most of the time. It sure as heck wasn't cheaper than most food.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 11:29 p.m.

Keep us posted on the developments with Blimpy and its future location!


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 9:41 p.m.

So this is not a line for cronuts…


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 9:07 p.m.

My 6-year-old daughter and I stood out on the pouring rain for over an hour yesterday to get our last burgers. Everyone was still having a great time, even though by the time we got to the door we all looked like we had fallen into a lake. Well worth the soggy wait though -- I hope everyone in today's sunny line enjoys their last few bites of bliss in a bun! Come back soon Blimpy!


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8:47 p.m.

So I had mentioned before that my father, myself and my son all went to blimpies... I forgot one other thing about that place that I'm going to miss. I had my first date with my wife there. Yeah...lots of memories from that location. I'm sure they'll keep the same great taste, and there will be new memories to have at the new location....but that iconic corner will never be the same...


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 12:33 a.m.

oh but Uni M i'm will give people the thrill of a lifetime with whatever they put there.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8:41 p.m.

I will miss Paul, the cook who has worked at Blimpy Burger since the Reagan era.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 2:02 a.m.

Paul's a cool dude.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 10:27 p.m.

Look for Paul @ Afternoon Delight.

Jessica Webster

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

Me too,but I understand he's working at another downtown restaurant these days.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8:47 p.m.

Played a buncha MTG with him...he's a great guy.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8:12 p.m.

I was sitting in the front window enjoying a burger (triple cheese w/egg on onion) and a car that was parked in one of the spaces almost in front of the restaurant slowly started rolling backward through the intersection with nobody at the wheel. It was turning slightly and really looked like it might go down the hill on Madison but ran into a utility pole and stopped at the top of the hill.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

Great thread! What are the odds that Dennis would still be around and reading Brad's comment? I really enjoyed the story, guys!


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

@Dennis - that's awesome. I do sort of remember you chasing after it now that you mention it. I was eating with a friend and it was one of those things where we looked at each other like "is that really happening?". I'd guess 1972-ish. I thought it was going down the hill for sure.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 2:01 a.m.

I may try a distraction just like that to jump ahead in line tomorrow.

Dennis Kirchoff

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 1:59 a.m.

Brad, thank you for recalling this. I will never forget it because it was my car, an old Nash Rambler. I parked it just north of the Krazy Jim's entrance, BUT DID NOT SET THE PARKING BRAKE. There was a slight grade there, so eventually it rolled backward through the intersection of Division and Packard, eventually rolling down Madison where it was stopped by a curb. This happened in the late 60's or very early 70's. I can recall standing at the counter to place my order and noticing consternation up at the front window. When I went up to the window to check out the source of the excitement and saw that it was my car, I ran out like a bat out of hell. Miraculously, there was no damage to the car - it was an unbelievable roll. The car was a piece of junk with one wheel larger than the other three, and a rust hole in the floor pan, BUT I could service in myself (I rebuilt the carb, etc.). P.S. - I took my wife to Krazy Jim's last night for our own "last supper" event, and I told her this story. Given that this episode borders on the fantastic, being able to show her your report is very nice! Thank you.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8:46 p.m.

@apple - no such luck. Not just pre-iPhone but pre-cell phone and probably even pre-Ben Freed :)

Ben Freed

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8:21 p.m.

Wow, good thing it didn't roll much farther, that could have been really dangerous. One of the toughest parts about eating at Blimpy has always been finding the parking. My mom swears my dad has some special Blimpy voodoo luck that allows him to always get a spot very close on Division.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8:13 p.m.

epic - anyone got a video?


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8:11 p.m.

It is getting real old that the owner says he has no money to move - lines 2 hours long average pay over $10 - now a $100 a plate charity function to fund a move. Please - enough is enough - maybe someone else wants to open Blimpie 2.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

Yep, hand out for corporate welfare.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 2 a.m.

I find your claim that it is just all greed hollow. Have you ever operated your own food business? Why do you suppose most have failed, while this one has endured? This is one of the oldest restaurants in the city. Do you have experience that can top that?

Jon Saalberg

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8:11 p.m.

And the caption reads: "Dozens of people wait in line outside of Blimpy Burger on Tuesday, August 13, 2013, the day before the restaurant closes it's doors." Oh,, where are the "its" vs. "it's" usage people when you need them?


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 12:32 a.m.



Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8:08 p.m.

Never did get to watch the episode of Diners, Dives and Drive-ins (on Food Channel, I think) when Krazy Jim's was featured. Anyone know if that's in an archive somewhere?? Whatever, I happened to see the line up at 12:25 PM today as I passed by on errands. Had to go back to my place to get a camera so I'd have pics to send around (email, the new national pastime). Like others, I've tried at various times during the week to get one last order in but the lines have been a constant barrier from opening to closing. I knew I'd become a regular at Krazy Jim's when I (loudly) announced to the grill and deep fry cooks that, "My doctor told me after my triple-by-pass that I'd have to start going only to health food restaurants... SO HERE I AM." Got a lot of cheers and laughs for that one. :-)


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

Or "YouTube," but you get the point.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

Yup, YouTuve has that episode And just the segment, but they cut out the part where she eats the burger

Ben Freed

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8:01 p.m.

Thanks for the story leezee. Please feel free to share other Blimpy stories here in the comments. I know that my family used to go multiple times a month on Tuesday nights because kids would get a free burger when their parents bought one. The best part was the frech fries that we would ask to be left in the fryer an extra few minutes to give them a nice crisp. The cooks might have been a little mean, but it was always with a smile on their faces.


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 2:51 a.m.

"The cooks might have been a little mean..." Hmm, is anyone starting to see a pattern here in these Blimpy discussions? "... but it was always with a smile on their faces." Never saw any smiles myself. Flat-out mean-spirited is all it has been for way too long. The very fact that this "debate" continues is proof of the dysfunctional nature of the business –– can anyone imagine debating whether or not the staff of The Earle, for instance, has a history of abusive behavior? Or if a certain kind of abusive behavior is somehow "cool?" Hey, if you like it, great –– you just might graduate someday to the whip-and-leather video business! For the rest of us, though, the lack of friendly service is a turn-off.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8 p.m.

For years I was a die hard Blimpy fan (formerly Halo Burger in Flint, which are still awesome) till I tried Elevation Burger on Washtenaw when it opened and haven't been back to Blimpy's since. You could say I'm born again cause HALLELUJAH I've seen the light!


Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 12:29 a.m.

You need to stop advertising.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 11:36 p.m.

Evangelists are so seldom appreciated in their own time.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 7:50 p.m.

My favorite line ever was heard while enjoyed a burger at the outside table at Blimpy during a football game where UM was losing pretty badly. People were already leaving the game at the top of the last quarter and a young man walked by on his phone saying, "Man, I got drunk for nothing!"


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 7:38 p.m.

Went there last night with the intention of getting one last Blmpy burger but it was pouring rain and the line was down Division so it wasn't happening. I might brave the line tonight but we shall see, two hours is a bit excessive. Then again it's an icon closing so it might just be worth it

Martha Cojelona Gratis

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 11:01 p.m.

Ugh. Soothslater. I was just thinking the other day I wanted to try Elevation Burger but your comments have completely turned me off from ever stopping in. This article is about celebrating an establishment closing that was clearly close to many hearts.


Tue, Aug 13, 2013 : 8:03 p.m.

It's not. You'll get a better (grass fed, organic) burger (and fries) and the planet will fare better at Elevation Burger on Washtenaw. Be sure to get the Elevation Sauce and cheese with it. EB destroys Blimpy's.