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Posted on Thu, Jun 13, 2013 : 11:05 a.m. and MLive take on the best burgers in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti

By Jessica Webster

Related story: Sampling the best burgers in Washtenaw County

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. MLive statewide entertainment reporter John Gonzalez hit the road this week in his search for Michigan's Best Burger, and Wednesday the road brought him to three Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti burger favorites: Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger, Sidetrack Bar & Grill and The Wurst Bar.

Blimpy Burger was our first stop, where Gonzo and his crew got a crash course in the proper ordering etiquette from owner Rich Magner before grabbing trays and placing their orders.

Magner also gave Gonzo a brief history of the Ann Arbor institution and explained that the restaurant's popularity is at least partially due to the fact that the meat is ground fresh daily and each burger is highly customizable.

Our next stop was readers' number one choice: Sidetrack Bar & Grill. We were exuberantly greeted by Linda and Jessica French, the mother and daughter powerhouses behind the popular Ypsilanti restaurant.

Along with a parade of tasty burgers, we were introduced to a crowd of Sidetrack cooks and staffers. It immediately became clear the most important secret of Sidetrack's success is the people who work there. From the French family to grill master Noe Reyes to the ever-present wait staff, everyone was friendly, capable and passionate about food and service.

Jessica Webster leads the Food & Grocery section for, a part of the MLive Media Group. Reach her at You also can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.

After a thoroughly enjoyable Sidetrack experience, we kind of rolled ourselves up Cross St. to the Wurst Bar, where owner Jesse Kranyak served up some seriously delicious artisan burgers.

Like Blimpy Burger, The Wurst Bar grinds their meat — sourced from Ann Arbor's Sparrow Market — on-site daily. After much experimenting with cuts and blends, Kranyak settled on brisket, which makes for a very moist, perfectly-textured burger.

The Wurst Bar is known for inventive and sometimes off-the-wall burger creations. We tried the fabled Mr. Peanut Burger, a ridiculously good Southerner burger with pimento cheese, fried green tomato, and a ground flank steak burger that was topped with braised carnitas, roasted salsa verde chilaquiles, cilantro and other unbearably delicious toppings.

We parted company with Gonzo and his crew after The Wurst Bar, as they went on to sample the best burgers in metro Detroit this evening. I honestly cannot imagine how they'll manage their itinerary of 33 restaurants in six days, but I can't wait to read about the results.


Elizabeth Hermes

Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 2:56 a.m.

We have yet to witness the extreme goodness of Jessie's Wutstbar. However, from the amazing and one of a kind product he puts out here on Kelleys Island... Yes, the Great Lakes and in the Buckeye State, we are closing down our Luxury Inn for a day to drive to MI for a taste of the amazing Jesse world of tasty. He kicks ass. Go Jesse"

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Jun 13, 2013 : 8:52 p.m.

The two dude employees in the photos exercise the greatest care and expertise in the perfection of my burgers and onion rings, and have been doing so for many years. They are Burger Masters. I thank them.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Jun 13, 2013 : 8:15 p.m.

"How can you gage the best when you get different types at each place?" Gestalt.


Thu, Jun 13, 2013 : 7:26 p.m.

No one looks very happy in that first photo of Blimpy customers.

Kyle Mattson

Thu, Jun 13, 2013 : 7:48 p.m.

That's the look of hunger. The line was out the door while we were there due the lunch rush. I'm sure those faces were much more satisfied after biting into a burger and side of onion rings.


Thu, Jun 13, 2013 : 4:50 p.m.

Since it is summer, lets have the next food poll be who has the best potato salad or chicken salad sandwich. I


Thu, Jun 13, 2013 : 5:17 p.m.

How about no more food polls? I'll vote for that.


Thu, Jun 13, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

How can you gage the best when you get different types at each place?.. if you ordered the same at all then you could decide which was the best.

Jessica Webster

Thu, Jun 13, 2013 : 3:31 p.m.

You ask a good question. Here's how Gonzo has expressed his judging criteria: "We're looking for quality of ingredients/toppings, creativity, flavor, quality of the beef/burger, bun and those intangibles that make you want to return the next day!"