October 9, 2011

"Between the Law School and the Ross School of Business you’ll find Dominick’s... which has been serving students and the area’s aging hippie population ever since the ’60s..."

From a NYT "36 Hours in Ann Arbor" piece. As an aging person who really did frequent Dominick's in the 1960s when I was a young hippie, I'm glad to know it's the first place an outsider dropping in for the essence of Ann Arbor ought to eat.

I haven't been back to Ann Arbor since the 1970s, but I spent an awful lot of time in the geographic zone around Dominick's. I didn't go to the law school, which is right there. I went to the School of Architecture and Design, which used to be right next to the law school, and I lived in East Quad for 2 years. And just over to the left is Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger. I worked there.

It's cool to see that Krazy Jim's is still around:
Now serving the 5th generation of Blimpy Addicts, we grind our own beef fresh from choice Western chuck. Then our friendly, personable staff throws the rounded balls of meat onto the grill, smashes them flat with a spatula and cooks your burger to crumbly perfection.
Ha. I remember when Jim used to grind up a huge vat of meat and we stood around in the walk-in refrigerator using ice cream scoops to transform it into those meatballs. Krazy Jim's didn't make it into the NYT's recommended 36 hours. Who knows why? Some kind of rule against greasy food?


rhhardin said...

You'd think it would be Anne Arbor.

Quaestor said...

So what's the point of rolling the meat in a ball, slapping it onto a grill (or it grille, or gridle?) and then smashing the 'burger into a patty? Does it taste better?

edutcher said...

The Blonde and I drove through Ann Arbor (thanks to a detour) a couple of years ago (about the time Ann was becoming Mrs Meade). Very crowded, tough driving, but it screams, "College town".

Love the expression "serving ... the area’s aging hippie population ever since the ’60s". A lot of those old hippies are Occupying Wherever these days. Some people just can't move on.

rhhardin said...

You'd think it would be Anne Arbor.

Because her name isn't Anne Althouse.

WV "lible" where the rules for slander are sanctified.

Ron said...

As an Ann Arborite since '85....We welcome back Meadehouse if they wish to return.

Blimpy's has gotten a lot more famous since Ann's day....but we can do better.

ndspinelli said...

The Princess of The Walk-in! Nostalgia is quite idiosyncratic.

Quaestor said...

There's a cult horror called The Howling that I recently watched via streamed Netflix. The movie's end credits roll over a close-up of a hamburger frying on a gridle(?) which was being occasionally smashed in a similar manner to the Krazy Jim style. It looked wasteful to me, a least a third of the meat just stuck to the frying surface and turned into greasy carbon. BTW, if you've never seen The Howling you owe yourself a glimpse, even if you're not a horror/fantasy aficionado, it's deliciously over the top in nearly every scene. Dee Wallace morphing into a Yorkshire terrier is worth the price of admission alone.

James said...

I attended Michigan b-school (before it was called Ross) and spent lots of time at Dominick's. I haven't been back for a while but looking at the map in the NYT that portion of the campus has changed significantly.

Quaestor said...

Blimpy's has gotten a lot more famous since Ann's day....but we can do better.

Clarification please, what do you mean by "Blimpy's"? Is that the same as Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger? Or is it Blimpie? I used to work in a franchise Blimpie in my college days. We served some excellent subs, but our beer, on the menu as "Blimpie Brewski", was questionable. We got it by the 15.5 gallon keg from the Miller guy. It was just marked "BEER" in black USA stencil letters. We sold it in 20oz. cups for 99 cents with any sub. Blitzed underclassmen filled that place from open to close. Good sandwich, though.

Ron said...

Yes, Quaestor, Blimpy's is Krazy Jim's as Ann referred to it in her article, not Blimpies the sandwich chain.

Krazy Jim's a nice tradition in the winter. I don't know who does it, but when there's plenty of snow, someone always carves interesting "snow bears" around the place...usually a whole family of them! Pretty neat to see.

Quaestor said...

OK. Here's a shot of the food prep at Blimpy Burger in Anne Arbor. Is that a grill, grille, or gridle?

Every college town has one or more dives or eateries which seem to endure the evolving trends of fashionable food. In Raleigh we had a place we called Red's, its actual name if it had one was generally unknown. It was a tiny place, about fifteen feet by thirty, wedged under the stairwell leading to a upper floor strip club. It was dominated by the bar along the long wall and a few booths. The Grade C sanitation certificate was prominently displayed -- proudly average cleanliness since whenever. The operator was this shriveled old guy with a red toupee perched above his own gray fringe, hence the eatery's moniker. Appalling. But the food was great. He made a deli-style ruben that I would kill for. The best one I've eaten anywhere, including New York, except for the one served by the best deli I've ever known, located in Nova, Florida of all places. A tale for another time.

Red's was also known as "the ruben place" and to the cops as a notorious drug-vending location. So you could go to Reds for a ruben, or go to Ruben's to get some reds.

EDH said...

I lived in East Quad for 2 years. And just over to the left is Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger. I worked there. It's cool to see that Krazy Jim's is still around:

"Now serving the 5th generation of Blimpy Addicts..."

That explains a lot. I always thought there was something incongruous about Althouse's affinity for roadside burger joints.

Now we know. She's Althouse, and she's a "Blimpy Addict."

JorgXMcKie said...

IT is not just the throngs of University of Michigan students dressed in maize and blue singing “Hail to the Victors” that makes Ann Arbor the ultimate college town each fall.

No, it's also the snotty attitude of total moral superiority from so many associated with the school. [Not that I don't have friends there, I do, but you have to live near but outside A-squared to get the true feeling.] ;->=

Chip S. said...

The one time I visited Ann Arbor I took what I thought was the "when in Rome" approach to eating and tried some hippie joint that served a "tofu Reuben." The only edible part was the bread.

Great football stadium, though.

wv: upers

WV is taking a gander at you.

JorgXMcKie said...

Let me point out that my wife and I go to Ann Arbor periodically to shop [her -- I could scarcely care, but she loves it] in funky and nice stores, or to eat in some really great restaurants [although for authentic Indian street food you have to be at NeeHee's in Canton, oddly enough] especially Zingerman's which is truly worth the visit.

I have also enjoyed music at The Ark [Doctor John unmiked accompanied by guitar and tuba was great].

And there's lots of stuff there for kids, too.

However, it also has some kind of weird West Coast political vibe that can be off-putting unless you're pretty much on the mindless Left. [A2 makes Madison {which I've visited and mostly enjoyed} seem like an oasis of Midwestern stability and good manners, most of the time.]

Harrington said...

The name in the window, at least in the 1960s, was Krazy Jim's, Home of the Blimpy Burger. At that time there were two of them. The one at E. Quad, that we've been talking about and a second one up by University Hospital. The secret was, of course, the high fat content of the meat and the specific griddle used, (i.e., the type of steel). Blimpy's were great at all times, but best on Sunday mornings when trying to lose a hangover.

Ron said...

Let me put it this way: You want that political bs it isn't hard to find. But I've lived here for a long time and have avoided it pretty well.

It's a fine town in many ways.

Nobody Knows That I Am A Dog!!! said...

Haven't spent much time in AA but did see the original Commander Cody & The Lost Planet Airmen at The Ark about 12 years ago. Great show but some pretentious assholes in the audience.

James said...

I was in A2 from '92 to '95. As one of the few married students I lived off-campus at the Hidden Valley Apts on State St. Chris Webber was my next-door neighbor but I rarely ever saw him.

My first kid was born at Women's Hospital and I imagined that he'd also attend Michigan but he's now a freshman at Madison and a Badger through and through. I couldn't even talk him into making a campus visit to Ann Arbor.

One thing I've noticed is how kids here are steeped in Wisconsin traditions, its quite unlike any other place I've lived. It appears that every child gets an opportunity to visit the state capitol by 5th grade.

David said...

I was a Pretzel Bell guy myself, mainly because I had a musician friend who played in the group there. He was also a law student and later became a well known sports arbitrator. His wife went to law school a few years later at Georgetown. She did rather well--Supreme Court clerk and now a high faulting' law professor. The music and beer were good and P=Bell was a lot of fun.

I was in grad school in history. I had come from a small New England liberal arts college and at first was put off by the size of the Michigan campus. I quickly came to love it. Amazing resources and an outstanding history faculty. The Midwest land grant universities are as good as it gets educationally, as long as you are willing to work at it.

My old New England liberal arts college is still quite highly ranked, but imho it's a mess educationally, socially, politically and financially.

I just read that Williams (which was not my school) had 52% of its freshman class getting financial aid. That means that 48% come from families that can afford over $50k per year for undergraduate education. And they say that diversity is one of their best qualities.

Ann Althouse said...

"She's Althouse, and she's a "Blimpy Addict.""

I don't think I ever went there except to work there. I lived a couple blocks away and I applied for and got a summer job there. I didn't hear much about it from students back then.

Now, Dominick's... we all went to Dominick's.

sane_voter said...


Are you talking about a deli near Nova University? If so, I am looking forward to hearing of this legendary Reuben.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

I love hamburgers. Big, juicy, and dripping with condiments.

Krazy Jim's would be a favorite if I lived there.

We have a place called Grover’s where I live, that was one time Grover Cleveland's hunting lodge. Yes, that Grover Cleveland, the only president to serve two terms not consecutively, former mayor of Buffalo and governor of New York.

JeffM said...

I was an A-squared townie, but only 8-years old in 1970 when Althouse was around. Student hippies were my idols growing up . . . good pedigree Anne. Now we have big government hippies -- how counter to the "movement" can you get? Are the true freaks in the tea party now?

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Quastor said

"He made a deli-style ruben that I would kill for."

I would walk a mile or more for a good reuben. Corned beef, kraut, thousand island dressing, on my favorite thick-cut pumpernickel.

Heaven on a plate.

Sam Hall said...

You want a Reuben?
A Reuben By Any Other Name


Michael said...

I have always thought Dominick's was a bit overrated. It is great for an afternoon drink or three, but not amazing. Blimpy Burger is amazing though.

autothreads said...

Prof. Althouse, what years did you live in East Quad? Were you a member of the East Quad Tripping Society?

HDHouse said...

actually the Brown Jug is the first place you should eat - my dad was one of the early owners - but alas, visited there a couple years back and it might also be the louast place you may ever eat.

Ann Althouse said...

"Prof. Althouse, what years did you live in East Quad? Were you a member of the East Quad Tripping Society?"

Fall 1969 to Spring 1971.

Ann Althouse said...

Brown Jug was just pretty much of a conventional diner. Nothing distinctive at all, but right near campus. People went there.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

I always figured they called it Krazy Jim's because they weren't open on Sunday. Business-wise, that was crazy! When I went there, the dorm meal plans didn't serve dinner on Sundays, only lunch; and South Quad and West Quad, two HUGE dorms, were both just a short block from Krazy Jim's. They could've raked in a fortune on Sunday dinners.

Bob said...


Sue didn't go to Georgetown for law school, she is a law professor there now. She went to U-M for law school. Class of 1975