Blimpy Burger Stories

Submitted by Michigan Arrogance on July 31st, 2008 at 9:16 PM
Maybe a little off topic, but what the heck:

So I made the annual trek to Blimpies on Wednesday. But I have to preface that story with a couple from antiquity (late 90s). Back in college a friend and I go to Blimpy. As you probably know, the food's a bit greasy so we both grab a pretty tall stack of napkins. We order the food, etc. and when we get up to the register (the owner is working) he says to us, "too many napkins, you get two apiece." He takes the napkins off our trays and reissues us two apiece. Needless to say, we were flabbergasted. Since then, customers aren't allowed to grab their own napkins... they are dispensed by the staff (two apiece).

A couple years later, another friend & I partake in the yearly artery assassination. Again, the owner is working the register. We're up at the register about to pay. Now, I don't like ketchup and my friend comments that he always runs out b/c they only give you one little ounce in those tiny paper cups. So I say, "Heck, I'll get ketchup and just give it to my friend here." So the owner comes back with, "No way, if he wants another ketchup, he can finish the first one, show me the empty cup, and then he can have another ketchup." Again, we're floored but don't say anything for fear of being blacklisted.

Of course, these stories are just two of the many that build the reputation of the place. So back to the present. Wednesday another friend and I go. The owner isn't working & I don't recognize anyone behind the counter. Now, I don't know if this is due to the owner being AWOL or if the place is going down hill, or what.... but we're in line and there's this guy ordering for like 3 other people who aren't in line. This is pretty unremarkable in most food joints and it turns out that the 'other people' were his kids, but at Blimpie's? No way would that have stood 10 years ago. On top of that, they guy never grabbed a lunch tray at the start of the line! Again, in the old days, he'd be singled out and ridiculed by the staff. Today? They give him a tray with a smile. What's happened to the Blimpy Burger we used to know and lover?



July 31st, 2008 at 9:32 PM ^

the last time i went there was 3 years ago. My wife was sitting outside with our baby son. I tried to order for her and they wouldn't allow it--until they found out a baby was involved. Rude Dog (the black lady with dreds) said it was OK because of the baby. also, Rude Dog and I are friends due to my frequent visits during college. My sister was a Blimpy virgin and she made the dreaded mistake of ordering her burger when they asked if she wanted anything from the fryer. she was reprimanded. my all time favorite story from Blimpy is when there was a long line and Rude Dog was getting antsy and a group of Asians (not Asian-Americans) came in and she yelled out, "oh no, not a group of fucking gooks." true story. The owner is an asshole. I liked the guy with the pony tail. he was cool without being a total prick. and of course i like Rude Dog. I wish they still allowed the kid pictures to hang on the walls. "Cheaper than food."

West Texas Blue

July 31st, 2008 at 10:07 PM ^

Yeah I'll never forgot my first time dealing with Rude Dog at Blimpy's. I had to be coached by my friends for several hours on how to order at that place before going there. Crazy stuff and definitely one of the more unique experiences in AA.


July 31st, 2008 at 11:52 PM ^

I live in Ann Arbor and I make the trek about once a month when I am in town (I was born in A2 but i go to college elsewhere in Michigan). So I went with a buddy of mine and his brother last week and we have all been many times so we know the rules. About 5 minutes after we walk in, a guy in a Notre Dame t-shirt with last year on it walks in. The people behind the counter did not stop ribbing into the guy the entire time he was in line and when he got his food, they said he had to eat it outside. All I could think was if you were driving specifically to Ann Arbor just to go to Blimpy's, as this man said he was, why would you wear a ND shirt?


August 1st, 2008 at 2:45 AM ^

Had a friend in undergrad who broke the old Blimpy Burger record of 30 or so patties at once -- he walked in, asked for a quint plus thirty five, and the short order cook immediately said "I'm not making forty patties -- if you really want them, I'll bring you out five at a time." After having prepared for a month prior and starving himself for a day, he pulled it off. Some show on the Food Network I guess actually featured it. On a side note, I never once ate at Blimpy Burger. I'm from Livonia, so as far as greasy burger places go, I'm a Bate's devotee. Sorry guys =(


August 1st, 2008 at 2:56 AM ^

Last time I was in AA was with my sister and her husband, and they wanted to hit Zaftengraf's deli or whatever it's called. I came away disappointed and dejected - not because of the food, but because of the missed opportunity. For the two days I was in Michigan, I planned to consume coney dogs, Vernor's, Shield's pizza, Big Boy and other classics of Michigan dining. The streak ended two meals into the weekend at this sandwich shop. Every damn thing in this store was imported from California and I was living in Palo Alto at the time. I could have gotten the same thing a mile from my apartment. I went to MI to get away from that botique stuff. So nothing against the shop - it was just a slice of my city-of-residence when my loathing of the Bay Area was at an all-time high. At least the customers didn't take Jim Harbaugh's uncorroborated allegation of a deep-throat phone call encouraging him to switch majors as incontrovertible gospel truth.


August 1st, 2008 at 2:57 AM ^

I also notice no one has mentioned that Blimpy was once shut down for serving horse meat (according to my father, UM Class of 1975).


August 1st, 2008 at 9:55 AM ^

What's with this place? Is it like an Ed Debevic's where it's part of the schtick getting treated like shit or is this place more like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld where they're just assholes?


August 1st, 2008 at 11:23 AM ^

They also had a grease fire a few years back and were closed for about a year. If you wet in a lot before the fire and go back now, you will notice that almost all of their pictures are gone. There was only one picture to make it and its still up there, with noticable damage. You can also see the scorch marks behind the new grill.


August 1st, 2008 at 11:23 AM ^

They also had a grease fire a few years back and were closed for about a year. If you wet in a lot before the fire and go back now, you will notice that almost all of their pictures are gone. There was only one picture to make it and its still up there, with noticable damage. You can also see the scorch marks behind the new grill.


August 1st, 2008 at 12:07 PM ^

I used to teach high school in AA and a few of my students worked there. As long as one of them was working the register the food was always gratis. Anyway, heaven is a quad with a fried egg and blue cheese.


August 1st, 2008 at 2:14 PM ^

Haha, weird coincidence:

Like I said below, I never went to Blimpy Burger while I was at Ann Arbor, so I'd never met anybody that worked there or anything.  While I was a student, though, I was the student manager at the Halfass in East Quad, and after watching that video, I realized the lady with the dreads was one of the ASCME I saw working in East Quad everyday.  She was cool as hell; I miss her.


August 1st, 2008 at 11:36 PM ^

Yeah -- I actually never got to see the Halfass in pre-whitewash form.

The EQ dining hall management actually consoliidated with the Halfass management about two years ago, and tried to stamp out any reference to "the Halfass" (since it was, in the words of one, Sue Davis, "A reference to [our] work ethic.") -- and then when they had the Residential College reunion this past year and there were signs referencing the "Halfass," they completely gave up and embraced the name.


August 1st, 2008 at 5:50 PM ^

Come to think of it, Halfass staff "etiquette" is generally on par with what goes on at Blimpy.

During my last year there, I donated an old stereo system I had (read: much louder and more obnoxious than the old one they had) to the Halfass.  I can recall many a day being asked to turn down the music by a customer, only to move over to the receiver and turn the volume up as I was saying "What?  I can't hear you."

I also never referred to the music as "music."  It was "customer repellant."


August 1st, 2008 at 5:46 PM ^

The management crew responsible for the Halfass during my first year there was actually responsible for nuking the Spanjo from the menu and making it identical to Markley's menu.

During my last year there, we convinced the new staff to let us bring it back.  Sweet victory!

Oh, so yeah, I worked from 05-07.


August 1st, 2008 at 7:52 PM ^

I still make 'em at home, just without a plate of tots.  My freshman year I was lucky enough to meet some of the folks who originated a lot of the items from the original menu.  






Anyway, it's great to see that Halfass spirit alive on Mgoblog.

chitownblue (not verified)

August 1st, 2008 at 12:15 PM ^

It reminds me of the Weiner Circle in Chicago. Break an (unwritten) rule (there are several), and you get verbally lambasted, and threatened with loogies on your hotdog unless you put a dollar in the tip jar.


August 1st, 2008 at 12:41 PM ^

I have had multiple run ins at the Weiner Circle.

Aside from the Chocolate Shakes I have witnessed (horrifying), i won't even get into that.

I once handed over a 5 dollar bill for a chicago char dog w/ everything (costs a couple bucks on the menu) and recieved my dog and no change.  "Oh, i guess they are just taking that as my tip, whatever" i thought.  NAY, i get lambasted on my way out the door for "not tipping muthfucka!" and had to turn around and use a few choice words of my own.

But alas, nothing hits the spot like Weiner Circle so I keep going back, and in comparison I thought Blimpy was pretty tame (level of agression is tame, not the burgers - which are exceptional with fried shrooms and onions) during my years in the deuce.


August 2nd, 2008 at 11:15 PM ^

I went to Weiner Circle with a couple of my friends when I was in Chicago for the Northwestern game last year. When one of my friends paid for her hot dog they put the change in the tip jar instead of giving it to her, and she actually stuck her hand in the tip jar to get it back... not so smart. I think they almost killed her (not really, but they definitely tried to take away her food until she took her hand out of the jar...).

chitownblue (not verified)

August 1st, 2008 at 12:51 PM ^

Yeah, I meant it was more similar with the unwritten rules. I wouldn't be surprised if the employees at the Weiner Circle were packing.

Glen Masons Hot Wife

August 2nd, 2008 at 5:26 PM ^

First, what is halfass? Nickname for E-Quad's Cafeteria? I always felt miserable when i stopped at that place, on account of all the ugly, socially retarded art-ish student freaks. Call it a lack of ambience. They had good food? That's a new one on me. Second, I will take to the grave, the regret of never stopping in Blimpy my entire U-M career. It sounds like I missed out on an amazing experience.


August 2nd, 2008 at 7:07 PM ^

No, the Halfass is the actual name of snack bar in the basement of East Quad, which Residential Dining Services would like you to believe is called "The Halfway Inn."

What were you doing in East Quad at all if you were so repulsed by the "ugly, socially retarded art-ish student freaks"?  I'm pretty sure if you look at a map of campus, it actually says "Hippies Live Here" where East Quad is.

chitownblue (not verified)

August 2nd, 2008 at 7:20 PM ^

I think glenn mason's hot wife was too busy banging cheerleaders and slamming brewskis with his brah's to pay too much attention to who was there.

turbo cool

August 3rd, 2008 at 5:22 PM ^

places like blimpy make ann arbor the town it is. i miss a2 after having grown up and gone to school there. completely homer comment i know, but a2 is one of kind.