., _ _ _ __
16B - TIichigan Daily Weekei*Magazine - Thursday, Nc nber 7, 1996
___________ ____1 t*
1 MILLION WAYS TO DRESS YOUR
BURGER AT BLIMPY'S
By Patricia Duque
For the Daily
Krazy Jim's Bumpy Burger is the
place to go for all the meat-eating and,
more important, meat-enjoying inhabi-
tants of Ann
Sti'f in its origi- Krazy u n
nal location at the
corner of South
Division and V Where: 551 S. I
Packard, Blimpy When 11 a.m.
Burger claims to through Saturday.
be Ann Arbor's ~ Phone: 663-459+
stand. When original owner James
Shafer opened Blimpy Burger in 1953,
the menu consisted of three items -
hamburgers, cheeseburgers and potato
chips. Now Blimpy's boasts more than
15 toppings for burgers, sandwiches,
fried, vegetables, desserts and more.
There are options for vegetarians,
including a deep-fried veggie burger for
those who ask for it. But "Blimpy's is
actually one of the only burgers that a
lot of vegetarians break their vows for,"
said Rich Magner, proprietor of Blimpy
Burger. The possibilities for a burger
are endless - there are more than
1,245,760 possible Blimpy's combina-
tions! "There are no two Blimpy
Burgers that are the same - ever,"
s Blimpy working at Blimpy
Burger in 1969 and
9 .: continued until
vision St. 1974. In 1971,
1.0 p.m. Monday Magner designed
. T-shirt with the
teddy bear mascot.
Magner does most of the artwork for
Blimpy's and his brainchild was the
Blimpy bear. The owner, Jim Shafer,
commissioned Magner to draw a T-shirt
with some sort of cow mascot.
"I don't do cows, so I did the bear,'
Magner said. He is promoting the bear
image by including the bears in ads and
by sculpting the families of snow bears
that have been perched under Blimpy's
awning in the winter time since 1992.
The bear figures, made with just fresh-
ly fallen snow, can last from a couple
days to a month if it stays consistently
snowy and cold.
After other endeavors in the restaurant
business, Rich came back to Blimpy's,
reopening it in March 1992 as the pro-
prietor, taking over for Shafer. Shafer
molded Blimpy's into what it is today,
and Magner continues the tradition.
Blimpy Burger is unique in its own right.
"We grind the beef ourselves, so it's
never more than a day old," Magner
said. The beef is never frozen, and all
the products are made in the establish-
ment, except for the fries and the buns.
Blimpy's cooks its burgers in a partic-
ular way - the hamburger meat, which
yields 10 patties to the pound, is rolled
up into small balls when raw, placed on
the grill and smashed flat. All the patties
are the same size, so they take the same
amount of time to cook. "Ten patties
takes the same amount of time to cook as
two patties," Magner said.
So no matter how big the burger, the
wait for an order will never be very
long. The burgers range in size from a
double to a quint, which equals a half-
pound of beef on one bun. The menu
Krazy Jim's Buimpy Burger offers a lot more than just burgers.
stops at the quint burger, "but people
can get as many patties as they want,"
Magner said. So far, the biggest burger
anyone has eaten included 37 patties.
Roderic Collins, 27, of Ann Arbor,
broke his own record of 32 patties in 70
minutes this past July. Collins came into
Blimpy's and ordered a 40-pattie burg-
er, with cheese on all of them and a few
sides, and managed to eat 37 of the pat-
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ties. He ate almost four pounds of beef
in about an hour and a half. Magner
rewarded Collins with a custom-
designed T-shirt. "But I don't like to
encourage that kind of eating all the
time;" Magner said.
Blimpy's attracts students and town-
ies alike. Magner said the ratio during
the school year is about 60 percent to 70
percent students, to 30 percent to 40
percent townies. It switches in the sum-
mer, so Blimpy's doesn't experience a
total lull in the summer when students
are gone. The parking is cramped
around Blimpy's, but "the people that
want a Blimpy's somehow find a way to
park and get here,' Magner said.
The busiest days are definitely foot-
ball Saturdays, attracting avid Michigan
football fans of all ages. Since Blimpy's
is small, the lines go out the door. "I've
seen cooks put 75 people through the
line inside an hour;' said cook and long-
time worker Paul Hoplin. "That's like
an order being put through every 45
There is a particular way to place an
order at Blimpy's, enough that if a cus-
tomer comes in for the first time, it is
clearly obvious to the cooks. "There is
See BLIMPY'S, Page 10B
2050 Commerce Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Largest and newest fleet
® 4 can share the fare
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Burger fvrt 6
Ann Arbor's favorite