Legendary | Worth driving from anywhere
Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger | Best of All Sliders | Ann Arbor, MI
Review by: Michael Stern
Do Your Homework
The Blimpy’s new location is larger than the original one, but you still can expect to wait in line. The line gives you an opportunity to do your homework: Figure out exactly how you want your hamburger. Plus – and this is crucial – how to order it. Do it right and you will enjoy what just might be the best of all sliders.
How To Order
The counter staff first will ask if you want something fried. This refers to side-dish vegetables, including broccoli stalks, steak fries, and big, irregular onion rings in self-detaching crust. Next, tell the burger cook how many patties you want. At ten-to-a-pound, two is minimal. Next, name your roll: Kaiser, regular, or onion? Want cheese? Say cheddar, Swiss, provolone, American, bleu, or feta. Fifth question: Any extras on top? These include fried eggs, bacon, salami, grilled onions, banana peppers, and mushrooms. Finally, when everything else is settled, give the assembler a list of condiments you want applied, naming the wet ones first. By this time, you reach the cash register at the end of the line. The fried things have arrived in overflowing cardboard boats. Your burger, precisely built to your specifications, shows up wrapped in wax paper, ready to be eaten.
Cooked All Wrong (Not)
According to generally accepted rules of griddle frying, Blimpy burger chefs cook hamburgers all wrong. They use their spatula to squish each glob of freshly-ground chuck flat on the hot iron. They flip it and sometimes hit it so vigorously that it disintegrates like Iowa loosemeats. But they reintegrate it with a deft spatula. Finally, they lean on it hard before adding cheese, et. al. and putting it in a bun. Call it burger abuse, but these hamburgers pack enough fat to take it and still come off the griddle oozing juice: the best of all sliders.
Nothing Succeeds Like Excess
No doubt, a single plain Blimpy on a bun would bore the heck out of any appetite. But no one gets a single. And only if you’ve given up condiments for Lent do you want one plain. A triple, quad or quint, layered with cheese (on each of the patties) can make this the best of all sliders. Pile it with onions, bacon, banana peppers or olives (green or black?), romaine leaves, tomato slices, mustard, mayo, and pickles and you have created a feast. Sandwich it in a superb onion roll and you might just fall in love with the Blimpy … as generations of Ann Arborites have done. A full-bore Blimpy can cost more than a fast-food burger. But getting it and eating it at Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger is a greasy-spoon epiphany.
Directions & Hours
|Meals Served||Lunch, Dinner|
|Credit Cards Accepted||No|
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Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger | Best of All Sliders | Ann Arbor, MI Recipes
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3 Responses to “Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger | Best of All Sliders | Ann Arbor, MI”
May 20th, 2013
In my pantheon of great burgers, Krazy Jim’s is right there at the top. I’m torn between this place and one in my hometown. They’re simply that good. Small meat balls are smashed on a flat top. You order however many you want on your bun (one to five) and then your modifiers like bacon, cheese, or salami. There are bun options as well. In the fryolated arts department, the onion rings are breaded right in front of you before hitting the oil.
Blimpy Burger is a tiny place. Seating is very limited and grabbing a table before getting in line is not permitted. They encourage people to eat and leave. With a line that often snakes out the door they have a pretty regimented ordering system that, while rather “Soup Nazi”-ish, really helps keep the line moving. You can find the info you need on their website, on the wall, or just answer the questions asked and don’t jump ahead, lest you be scolded. One last thing: no electronic devices in line. Lest you be scolded.
January 27th, 2008
Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger is one of maybe five reasons why I can never leave Ann Arbor. The food should in no way be confused with something healthy. If you are a health nut or are planning on visiting Blimpy with a health nut in tow, don’t bother. The joy of Blimpy is knowing that you are eating something for the simple joy of eating it.
During the school year, especially during the warmer months, it is not unusual to find a line of hungry, excited people snaking its way through the limited seating area and out the front door. Be ready to wait a while during the lunch hour. If you can’t stand for 20 to 30 minutes while waiting to place your order, you may want to visit during off-hours.
In order for people to be served in an efficient manner, it is necessary for the patrons to be paying attention and decisive when ordering. First-timers need to watch the people ahead of them in line, listen to the questions they are being asked by the people behind the counter, and be ready to answer those questions when the time comes.
The number of ordering options at Blimpy will make your head explode. Want 10 burger patties, just ask. If you want a fried egg on your burger, go for it. If you want grilled onions, mushrooms, bacon, go ahead and ask, they have it. Pepper rings, blue cheese, green olives, no problem. I tend to avoid the overwhelming number of options and order one of two no-brainer burgers on the menu: The Pepper Steak Bullet or The Chili Size.
Pepper Steak Bullet: triple with Swiss cheese, grilled onions and banana peppers, with chopped scallions, bacon, and ranch dressing, on an onion bun (I’ll normally get an order of onion rings to go with it). Chili Size: triple with American cheese, covered in chili, and topped with chopped onion, tomato, and banana peppers on a kaiser roll. You won’t be able to pick it up so they are kind enough to provide a fork (I normally order a side of chili fries with this).
The quirkiness and character of the joint and the people who work there makes it a fun time. It’s an experience. If you want a plain old vanilla, personality-free dining experience go to Big Boy or McDonald’s. If you want to go to place that will give you a story to tell, go to Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger.
Erika Gasser & Jon Barber
August 12th, 2007
Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger has been an Ann Arbor institution since 1953, and has a winning motto: cheaper than food. That may not be quite as much the case as it was in the beginning, but you can still get a great lunch for around $5, and the quality of the ingredients are part of what makes Blimpy Burger so special. The meat is fresh and hand-ground, and the golf ball sized patties are pounded into submission on a grill with a lovely, well-seasoned surface. That grill has seen a lot of burgers, but also onions, mushrooms, bacon, eggs, and crispy cheese bits that ooze off the sides of the patties.
Blimpy Burger meets several of the qualifications for a Roadfood establishment. Blimpy’s has been in business for a long time, doing one thing particularly well, and has maintained a loyal customer base despite (or because of) the cantankerous and quirky service. The small building’s interior resembles a diner, with walls covered with “Best of” awards and photographs of the manager’s amazing snow sculptures of burger-loving polar bears that grace the storefront every winter. Another important characteristic of a Roadfood place is the predominance of a SYSTEM. Blimpy Burger’s is posted on signs that make more sense after you’ve gone there a few times. You must approach the line in an orderly fashion, take a tray whether you’re ordering a meal of your own or not, turn off your cell phone, and answer only the questions put to you.
First, do you want anything from the fryer? We heartily recommend that you say yes. The fries are of the steak variety, just moments out of the oil and generously heaped into a paper container. Lots of people love the breaded and fried vegetables, which include mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini and onions. Depending on your onion ring loyalties, you may find these among the best ever. They are just how I like mine: thin and crispy with a lacy coating that bears no resemblance to the thick, one-bite-and-the-onion-falls-out variety.
Next, do you want a double, triple, quad or quint (I’ve heard that each burger ball weighs about a tenth of a pound)? Regular bun, onion, or kaiser (we like the regular, which doesn’t overwhelm the beef)? Accompanied by onions, mushrooms, fried egg or bacon? Salami?? We like to get doubles with cheddar and onions (I once heard a guy order a quad with bacon, but I was not so bold). The beauty of Blimpy is that the burger appears well-balanced at both the low- and high-octane versions. After the grill cook slings your patties around for a while, you are asked about cheese; Swiss and cheddar appear to be popular choices, but we also saw someone receive a healthy pile of feta on theirs.
If all goes well, you can manage to avoid the scorn of the proprietor and the line cooks–but don’t count on it. The system is venerated more than communicated, and you are bound to mess it up. But trust us, the derision you risk if you ask for things out of order (condiments, by the way, are dead last) is nothing compared to the joys of the meal that awaits you. The patties are flavorful, with crisp edges that contrast pleasantly with the juicy, greasy, beefiness. The condiments, which are assembled at your request, are fresh and skillfully arranged. The fried items are so hot that you risk injury unless you restrain yourself. We recommend that you enjoy your tray of food on the small but leafy outdoor deck, which is often crowded with a mix of University of Michigan undergraduates, local workmen, and be-suited professionals in search of a meal that is friendly to the stomach (if daunting to the heart).