Address: 29216 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills, MI
Distance off I-75: 12.5 Miles
Rating: * * * ½
Although this restaurant is a bit far off the highway, if you are in the metro Detroit area and have a huge appetite, Jaws Jumbo Burgers may be the right place to stop for a burger. The store relocated form a location much closer to I-75 and is currently best accessed off I-696. Located in an unassuming strip mall in a busy suburb of Detroit, the exterior of the restaurant is unspectacular and easily overlooked.
The interior is a standard fast-food counter service restaurant modified from a sub sandwich shop. The walls are covered with various movie posters — think family-oriented blockbusters from a decade ago. Think Jaws. For that is where the name of the restaurant is from — the owner’s love of Jaws and other popular action films. Every conceivable wall and corner of the small restaurant is covered with a TV screen showing one of the several movies. It is hard to look anywhere and not see a screen assaulting your eyes. The restaurant is too loud and too small to actually sit and watch a move, so the only purpose these movies serve is multimedia wall art. And who doesn’t want to watch an oversized shark gruesomely ripping apart a screaming swimmer limb from limb as they bite into their juicy burgers? Joking about the TV’s aside, the interior is everything you would want in a fast food restaurant: neat, organized and impeccably clean. On one wall sits a large fish tank filled with small sharks, which provides interesting viewing and is kept very tidy.
They call it Jaw Jumbo Burgers because the burgers are big — at least in diameter. The bun itself is enormous, and much larger than your average hamburger bun. It must be held in two hands or be cut in half to be manageable. What isn’t so large is the amount of meat on the burger — a single patty is smooshed down so far that it becomes paper thin. This is so that the patty can equal the size of the gigantic bun. If you order a single you will taste mostly bun and whatever condiments you put on your burger. In order to full get the taste of the meat, I recommend a double, because you will want to taste this meat — perfectly cooked and so juicy. I’m not sure what seasoning it is that they shake on every hamburger patty, but whatever wonderful secret spice blend they keep in their magical shaker, I want to sleep in a bed filled with it so I can wake up every morning with that amazing taste in my mouth.
Due to the large size of the burger, the price of the burger is also large — a single cheeseburger combo coming in above $7. The price is higher if you want to add bacon or extra burger patties. The combo is standard, coming with fries and a drink. Other menu options include fish sandwiches and a variety of sub sandwiches, including a veggie sub.
The other shining star of Jaws Burger is the homemade lemonade. It is fresh-squeezed in house, perfectly sour, perfectly sweet, and may be the finest lemonade I have ever had. It tastes like the sour tears of angels. And it is kept in one of those school cafeteria-style plastic fountains that sprays the lemonade into the air only to hit the lid and fall back down again to the bottom to keep everything mixed. Everything tastes better from a fountain, right?
The first time I went into Jaws I was greeted with a friendly “Hello, good to see you again Larry!” I immediately was taken back as I a) had never been to Jaws before and b) most certainly was not named Larry. When I informed the employee of her mistake she first thought I was joking with her. After insisting that I was serious, that I was not Larry, she told me in amazement that I look exactly like one of the regular customers, not surprisingly named Larry.
Since that day I have become a regular at Jaws myself, stopping in when I am ready for one of their delicious, unmanageably large burgers. And although I have yet to see Larry there, I hope to one day run into my long-lost twin at Jaws, sit down, and share a burger and lemonade with him.