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Big Boy Goes Gourmet in Michigan

By • Jul 16th, 2010 • Category: Burger Blog

The state of Michigan looks to continue its claim as the Cheeseburger State this month when a new gourmet burger bar hits Ann Arbor.  And this one isn’t just another Johnny-come-lately hamburger hut; it’s the brainchild of one of the burger biz’s big boys.  Make that THE Big Boy:

The burgermeisters behind Big Boy Restaurants, based in Warren, MI will be opening the first @burger in nearby Ann Arbor, with hopes of taking the concept nationwide.  Erica Hobbs from snapped a pic of the soon-to-be storefront on E. Liberty Street:

Unlike the sit-down service provided by Big Boy locations in over 100 Michigan cities, @burger patrons will order at the counter and have their food brought to them in what CEO Keith Sirois promises will be a “high-quality, comfortable environment where adults can eat and socialize,” complete with TVs showing sporting events and an outdoor dining area.  Sirois says the chain is launching the “quick, casual concept” because “5,000- to 8,000-square-foot restaurants [like traditional Big Boys] just aren’t practical anymore… We looked at all the fast-casual concepts that are doing well, from Panera Bread to Pei Wei and I guess you can say @burger will be a bit of a mashup of all those.

In fact, @burger patrons will see no visible connection whatsoever to the Big Boy brand, meaning no creepy fat kid standing out front in his goofy checkerboard overalls.  (And if you think just one of the statues is unsettling, check out a whole flock of fatboys- in a photo entitled “Big Boy Bop,” taken by artist John Baeder in 1985.)

According to BurgerBusiness, @burger’s kitchen will run open-flame grills, with over 200 different 7-ounce burger creations cycling on and off the menu.  Among the options will reportedly be a BBQ Bacon Velveeta Burger, a Caprese Burger topped with tomatoes and mozzarella, and a Trashcan Burger, which Sirois describes as being loaded down “with just about anything you can think of thrown on there.”

A burger, chips, and soft drink will supposedly be priced at under $10.  Plans are also in the works to serve beer and wine, with the restaurant looking to highlight local microbrews.  Smooth move, Big Boy.  I predict @burger will be a hit @University of Michigan, with a student body of 40,000 strong lining up nightly for Trashcan Burgers and ice-cold brewskis.

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