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Saturday October 25, 2014
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Burger Throwdown on Plymouth

 

continued

As burgers go, this is slow food. "At Wendy's you can get a burger in a minute," says Famous manager Mike Haidar. "Here it takes eight, ten, twelve minutes to cook your burger." The family-run chain's other stores are in Dearborn, Allen Park, and Los Angeles--but it got its start in, of all places, Beirut.

Mike says his Lebanese-born grandfather, Hussein Hider (same name, different transliteration), grew up in this country eating White Castles. In the late 1960s he returned to Beirut to open the Middle East's first burger joint, which became Famous Hamburger.

Fleeing Lebanon's civil war, the family returned to the United States in the mid-1970s. Hussein Hider died a few years ago, but Famous continues under the leadership of Mike's uncle, Feisal "Phil" Hider.

It was Mike who wanted to open an Ann Arbor branch. "I went to school here fifteen years ago and have always loved Ann Arbor," he says. He majored in biology at the U-M and planned to go to med school, but his father's illness forced him to take over another family business: a bunch of Detroit-area service stations. Now he's finally back in town with Famous.

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