AnnArbor.com and MLive take on the best burgers in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti
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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 AnnArbor.com 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 AnnArbor.com, a part of the MLive Media Group. Reach her at JessicaWebster@annarbor.com. You also can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com'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.