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Tuesday July 29, 2014
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Burger Throwdown on Plymouth

 

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A block east on Plymouth, in Upland Green, Great Plains Burger Company opened within days of Famous. Not only that, says Great Plains owner-manager Mo Farha, "we signed our leases within five days of each other." While both knew they'd be up against Wendy's, neither of the independently owned businesses had any idea of the other's existence until it was too late to back out. Both are scrupulously polite about the unexpected rivalry, while insisting that their products are so unique that there's really no competition. While Famous has table service and a wide array of choices other than burgers, Great Plains is stripped down to the absolute pure minimum: burger, fries, and shake or Coke, ordered at the counter.

The one-third-pound burger, served on a Zingerman's bun, comes with options like sauteed mushrooms, grilled onions, and five kinds of cheese for $4.50. The vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry shakes are made fresh with antibiotic- and hormone-free dairy products. Behind the counter in the open kitchen is the biggest visual attraction: the hand-operated potato cutting machine. Right before your eyes, a worker turns big Russet Burbank spuds into skinny skin-on fries. They're slightly waxier and meatier than frozen processed product.

If you don't want a burger, Farha says there's a secret menu, which at the moment includes hot dogs and a grilled cheese sandwich. He'll be serving salmon burgers during Lent and is looking into turkey burgers.

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