Wednesday, August 3, 2022

5 More Michigan Burgers

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

- The Burgers of Michigan

Today's post is an ode to the burgers of Michigan that features a collection of five different spots that I've visited over the years. Michigan is a great burger state driven by it's strength in old school establishments like most of those featured below. Click HERE to see all my previous Michigan posts.

Don's Drive-In (Traverse City)

I took a trip to the Roadfood rec’d Don's Drive-In last year on a trip to TC. It opened in 1958 making it a real deal 1950’s style drive-in. Car Hop service is still available as is takeout and dine-in. Burgers are made with fresh beef and there's three sizes to choose from. They’re cooked on a hot flattop that must have some great seasoning bc I thought this was a mighty fine drive-in style burger. From the friendly lady taking orders at the register, to Ritchie Valens playing on the speakers and the sound of sizzling burgers with shakes and malts being made in the open kitchen made the whole experience a blast from the past. Try the cherry shake made with real Michigan cherries to fully experience a visit to this Traverse City icon that sits across from the street from the east arm of Grand Traverse Bay.

Cheeseburger at Don's Drive-In

Laura's Little Burger Joint (Decatur)

The Midwest has handfuls of seasonal burger shacks like this one in Van Buren County about 2.5 hours from Chicago. I visited Laura's Little Burger Joint five years ago but it's still going strong. It was once named the best burger in the state on the Michigan News Site MLive. I believe that's what shot it onto my radar. I always loved spots like this and Laura's was no exception. They make a classic Midwest smashed burger as well as the less classic Midwestern style gringo tacos with all the fixin's.

Cheeseburger and Taco at Laura's Little Burger Joint

Zimmy's Tavern (Union)

You'll find Zimmy's Tavern in Cass County which is about two hours from Chicago and right above  the Indiana state line (20 mins south of Elkhart). It's a popular spot for cheeseburgers and booze and has been so since 1946. We visited towards the end of summer one year and sat on their back patio which was overlooking a big field. The beer was cold and the burgers were cheap but they were a bit slippery due to the tight patties they slightly overcooked. I tried the Western Michigan favorite, an olive burger, and it wasn't easy to eat due to a poor structure from the patty plus the olives and mayo that kept causing it to slide off with each bite. Nice bar and a decent burger but not worth a detour.

Cheeseburger and Olive Burger at Zimmy's Tavern

Schlenker's Sandwich Shop (Jackson)

If you're ever driving to Detroit and want to stop for something to eat along the way there's a few iconic restaurants to check out in Jackson which is an hour and a half west of Detroit. My favorite of the bunch is Schlenker's Sandwich Shop which opened in 1927. It's a classic hamburger shack where the burgers are made the old fashioned way as they start out as a ball of beef before being smashed onto a hot flattop. A burger with “everything” includes a special sauce that's made of mustard, onion, relish and a secret seasoning. The concoction was invented by Bertha Schlenker who was one of the original owners. It seems to always be busy so expect a crowd no matter what time of the day it is.

Hamburger with Special Sauce at Schlenker's Sandwich Shop

Travis Hamburgers (St. Clair Shores)

Pictured below is a trio of sliders and a chili cheese fries from a popular diner in St. Clair Shores, a suburb of Detroit. Ask anyone from the area what their favorite hamburger spot is and they’ll likely name an old school spot like this that makes sliders and that’s bc there’s handfuls of places that make these “sliders” which are fresh balls of beef that are lightly smashed and smaller in size than a McDonald's hamburger but bigger than a White Castle slider. They always come loaded with grilled onions and pickles. I did a round up of many a while back that you can find HERE. It's time to start giving Detroit style sliders the same respect as their pizza and Coney dogs. It's a great burger town.

Sliders and Chili Cheese Fries at Travis Coffee Shop

See ya next time @chibbqking

1 comment:

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