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Posted on Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 10:52 a.m.

Ann Arbor's Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger featured on Travel Channel

By Jessica Webster


Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger, 551 South Division St., Ann Arbor

Jessica Webster |

Ann Arbor Travel Channel fans may have noticed a familiar burger griddle flash across their TV screens recently. Yep, after features on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and Man v. Food, Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger was acknowledged as one of the best burger joints in America on an episode of Hamburger Paradise.

Blimpy Burger owner Rich Magner is sanguine about it all. This kind of attention is expected for a restaurant that is routinely voted best burger in local media. The lines out the door and around the block on home game Saturdays is evidence enough that Blimpy Burger has credibility to spare.

"The biggest difference we've seen since it aired," said Magner, "is just that it reminds townies that we're still here."


The griddle at Blimpy Burger. There are rules about how to place your order, from whether to grab a tray (required if you are dining in) to when to indicate your cheese choice (only when they ask).

Jessica Webster |

The filming for the show took place in the spring. Staff at the restaurant had to cover up the autographed Guy Fieri Diners Drive-Ins and Dives poster that graces the wall behind the counter, as Hamburger Paradise airs on a different channel.

To date, Diners Drive-Ins and Dives has had the biggest impact on Blimpy Burger's business.

"I did actually get some people, a few families, come in after they aired Hamburger Paradise. But Diners Drive-Ins and Dives has had the biggest effect," said Magner. "They aired that one back in 2008, but they just keep re-airing it. It always gets people in. They rerun the show, and then we'll get a flurry of phone calls right after it ends."

And it's not just locals. Magner says the restaurant is a magnet for people passing through town.

"A lot of people from Detroit, a whole lot people from Ohio. Sometimes they're just driving through. Sometimes they're here for the hospital or something."


A Blimpy Burger staff member prepares a "quint 5" for a customer - ten patties, or a full pound of ground beef.

Jessica Webster |

And sometimes, they're just here for the burgers.

"Yeah, we've had people tell us they've come 500 miles or more for our burgers," said Magner, with a smile in his voice. "Five or six hours just specifically to come here."

Blimpy Burger staff has a reputation for being a little, say, impatient with customers who don't follow their strict ordering rules (don't tell them the cheese until they ask you for the cheese, for God's sake!). So when these shows bring in new customers, does Magner instruct his staff to maybe go a little easy on the Blimpy neophytes?

"The rules are there to expedite the line," explained Magner. "Not to be burger Nazis."

Jessica Webster heads up the Food & Grocery section for You can reach her at



Mon, Feb 4, 2013 : 10:46 a.m.

best burger on earth, omg i want one now


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

"The rules are there to expedite the line". Goodness knows that their business would likely fail if a customer's faux pas was responded to with courtesy; it must be necessary to chastise them in front of the others customers.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

It's part of their schtick. If you're easily offended you know to go someplace else where they serve warm fuzzies.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

Each person gets a tray. Don't try to save seat while in line. Don't ask the cooks for anything until spoken to. Be ready to order. Don't ask for a taste of anything, or if their products come from a local or sustainable source - this isn't Zingerman's. Your just reward will be a spectacular, greasy testament to the art of griddled and fried food. They've been getting it right for a long, long time, as exhibited by the line out the door.


Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 2:16 a.m.

Marvin, thanks for the heads up. Jessica, I realize they have their rules (as ridiculous as they may be). However, I would equate that to a pharmacist responding to a customer's request for a recommendation for a cold medicine by saying "I'm busy, go look at the products in the cough & cold aisle." just so the pharmacist can "expedite the line" (fill more prescriptions). I'm willing to bet that most of us deal with more rudeness than we would like to. I just prefer not to give my money to a business that embraces that attitude (yes, I know they couldn't care less).

Marvin Face

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

You've never been to the Weiner's Circle in Chicago have you? It makes Blimpy staff look like Aunt Bea.

Jessica Webster

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

I've noticed that they've gotten much less militant in the past few years. They have a process and they are sticking to it, but they're much more likely to just ignore the parts of customer responses they're not ready for these days than they are to snap at them. Posting the ordering rules on the wall has helped a lot too.

Paprika Z

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

I've lived in the area for 18 years and still haven't gone to Blimpy Burger. Sad. I will make it soon!!


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

Oh I should also mention the malt vinegar french fry rules of balance. You see the more malt vinegar you put on the fries the more salt they'll hold.....and the more salt you put on the fries the more malt vinegar they're hold.... One must find the right balance between a tart mouth and hardened arteries...


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 3:16 p.m.

WATLYAHAVE?!?!?? Oh man my stomach is just rumbling now...


Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

It's changed....I can't fit what I used to in my belly. BUT...for tradition's sake: Quint on Kaiser, "enough blue cheese to kill a horse," all the free stuff, hold the relish, and DOUBLE GREEN OLIVES!!! Heh I might have to do blimpy's with my dad today now...

Jessica Webster

Wed, Oct 24, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

What's your burger when you go?