Ann Arbor – Frequently, when you ask someone who went to U of M where you can get a good burger in Ann Arbor, they will tell you you have to try Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger. It has been an Ann Arbor institution since the 50s, and many would say you are not a true U of M grad if you haven’t indulged in one of their deliciously greasy burgers. As you might imagine, a place like Krazy Jim’s has a lot of history.
It started back in 1953 by a man named Jim. He was originally working at a burger joint in Jackson, Michigan when someone poached him to help them open their own burger spot in Ann Arbor. He helped the man set up his shop and business was picking up when Jim learned his boss intended to fire him, so Jim quit and opened up his own place. He started off in a very small shop and offered a full breakfast for $0.49 to help raise capital. This was such a low price for food that the bar owner next door called him “Crazy Jim” and Krazy Jim’s was born.
Over the years the restaurant has moved, and it now calls 304 Sout Ashley Street home. Jim has long since retired, but Rich Magner and his wife Christine have lovingly taken it over. The couple actually met while working at Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger in the 70s. Rich, a former art student at U of M, found his own creative outlet in the restaurant. Not only does he find cooking fun and creative, but he has been using his artistic skills to design the menu and promotions. He even created the logo for Krazy Jim’s when he designed a T-shirt for the restaurant back when he was working there during college.
Now that you know a bit more about the history of Krazy Jim’s, I bet you are wondering about the food. Well, the menu is both very simple, and very complex. They just serve burgers, fries, onion rings, and deep-fried veggies; however, the burger is in a create-your-own style and has literally billions of different possibilities. Their burgers feature thin patties, each weighing 1/10 of a pound, that you can stack up and top with whatever you’d like.
How you order your food is also unique, and if you are not ready when you are in line, you may get heckled a bit for holding it up. The ordering process works like an assembly line where you order directly from the chef. Everyone in your party must be in line to place their order and the person who is paying should be last so that the others can find a seat while they pay. If you are eating in, grab a tray, if you are not, just stay in line. First, they will ask you if you want anything from the deep fryer, these are your fries, onion rings or mixed veggies. Next, they will want to know how many patties you want. Typical options are the double (1/5 lb.), triple (1/4 lb.), quad (1/3 lb.), or quint (1/2 lb.), but you can get as many patties as you want. Seriously, their record is in the 40s. Then they will ask you if you want any other grilled items, like grilled onions, bacon or an egg, and they will also ask for your bun choice. After that, comes your choice of condiments and veggies you want on the burger. Right before your burger is finished, they will ask for your choice of cheese. The ordering system is set up this way so you can get exactly what you want as quickly as possible.
My suggestion, if you are going here for your first time, is to look at the menu ahead of time and know what you want. Also, if you don’t want to get snarky comments, come during a slow time. Keep in mind their attitude is supposed to be all a part of the fun and they are just trying to keep the line moving. There are also a million other fun quirks and traditions that are all a part of the Krazy Jim’s experience that you can discover yourself.