Ann Arbor, Michigan is not lacking for good restaurants. There are plenty of upscale bistros, a good steak house or two, and lots of delicious ethnic eateries. But sometimes you just want a good burger. Here are the three best burger joints in Ann Arbor:
Knight’s Steak House:
Located at 2324 Dexter Avenue, with only a chess “knight” and full parking lot to announce its existence, Knight’s offers a unique blend of great meats and old school ambiance. If you’re looking to save a few dollars or just can’t muster the appetite for twelve ounces of prime rib, burgers are the way to go. They are all priced under seven dollars. Choose from the Patty Melt, All American, Sauté, or Knight burgers, or build your own, choosing either a third pound or half pound patty. The meat is the same great, fresh meat from Knight’s very own market, and every time I’ve indulged, the burger has been cooked perfectly – never dry, always juicy. An added benefit? The bun does not overwhelm the sandwich. Besides, there’s a bread basket worth investigating. I can vouch for the All-American burger’s tastiness – bright flavors, fresh crudités, well-balanced. Fellow diners ooh and ah over the Knight Burger, with its mushrooms and pungent blue cheese, but I’m a burger traditionalist and prefer the classic flavors.
Zingerman’s Road House:
Zingerman’s has built an empire of baked goods, specialty products, cheeses, coffee, cakes – the list goes on and on. Visit Zingerman’s Roadhouse at 2501 Jackson Avenue (just down the road from Knight’s), and you’ll be presented with heartier faire. While macaroni seems to be the restaurant’s signature dish, the burgers can hold their own quite well – and then some. I remember feeling particularly full and sludgy – in a good way! – after eating one of these. The Roadhouse Burger is the traditionalist’s burger, while the Cornman Farms burger offers an upgrade with its grass-fed, dry aged beef-grilled-over-oak prestige. With prices beginning at ten dollars, however, these burgers are not cheap. The Roadhouse Burger might just be the juiciest burger I’ve ever had, but I’d still give Knight’s the nod for flavor and value. Also, good though those Bakehouse onion rolls may be, they are a bit starchy and overwhelming for a burger.
Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger:
Head to downtown Ann Arbor (551 South Division) and try Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger. This place has fun, kitschy décor, an extraordinarily streamlined short order cooking system – it’s like a choreographed routine in there – and some of Ann Arbor’s best burgers. Be prepared to wait, as this is not the sit-down-and-be-served style of the other two burger establishments. Burgers can be ordered starting with a double (two patties) all the way up to a quint (eight ounces of meat!) for just under six dollars. Toppings range from the basic all the way up to unique offerings such as fried eggs, bacon, green olives, and, oh yes, extra patties for those who feel that five won’t cut it. While Knight’s and Zingerman’s offer substantial patties, Krazy Jim’s are thinner and haphazardly slapped atop a bun. It feels more like fast food in style and appearance, but the taste of the fresh-ground meat and poppy seed bun certifies that McDonald’s this is not.