Tribute restaurant feeds gigantic appetites with fresh ingredients
Take a bite outta’ this: When it comes to pop culture icons, sweet memories of summer nights at the drive-in movie, and the heavenly smells of burgers on the grill, perhaps one image beacons us like us no other — “Jaws.”
And now the Jaws restaurant in Farmington Hills combines the best of all three features in a visual and flavorful zenith.
Jaws Jumbo Burgers, originally in Southfield until the restaurant moved in January 2007, is the classic hamburger diner with fresh-made milkshakes that practically stand without a glass. Burgers are made with beef sirloin, and that is just the first indication of the quality, freshness and authenticity that make it “a keeper.”
Designed to be fun for the whole family, the restaurant has movie theater dining, with two 50- inch plasma TVs, a 32-inch plasma, and two 27-inch televisions, all with surround sound.
Of course Jaws is the favorite movie feature — but the theater runs all family-adventure movies. Popular requests include “Spider-Man,” “Superman,” “Fantastic 4,” “Men In Black,” “King Kong,” “Mighty Joe Young,” “Jurassic Park” and “Back to the Future.”
While customers dine in or wait for their carryout order, the scene in the 48-seat dining room features high-top and traditional diner tables, scattered amidst “Jaws” posters, displays of the “Jaws” cast and crew photo and “Jaws” mementoes.
There is also a 185-gallon live aquarium, where 12-inch sharks swim, delight and defy our imagination.
The shark motif persists with plastic sharks on the countertops, campy fishing nets strung on the windows and a huge papier mache hammerhead.
Manager Paul Porter, who has been with Jaws Jumbo Burgers for five years and who also cooks up a mean burger, said, “It’s all about fun. It’s a non-smoking environment, and it’s absolutely kid friendly.”
The classic diner menu boasts single or double-decker burgers, with or without cheese and bacon, topped with fresh sliced tomato, shredded lettuce, pickles, mayo, ketchup and mustard on a buttered, toasted bun. They call it fast casual — made to order with the real stuff.
They are delicious!
Submarine sandwiches include 20 offerings of steak (real rib-eye), burger and chicken — described as “loaded with fine quality meats and fresh lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, mild banana ring peppers, vinegar, oil and oregano.”
For non-meat lovers, there are several great white fish fillets or chicken delight sandwiches — and even an all-veggie sub.
Sides and offerings include fries, coleslaw, wing dings, fish and chips, fresh squeezed lemonade and old fashioned blended ice-cream shakes and malts.
We opted for the classic house favorites: Burger combos.
The hamburger, coleslaw and fresh-squeezed lemonade combo was $7.25. The cheeseburger, fries and strawberry milkshake combo was $8.35.
We arrived with voracious appetites — and we needed carry-out bags.
Just like the name of the establishment suggests, Jaws Jumbo Burgers’ burgers are an enormous invitation to “Open Wide.” And what juicy, fresh, zesty, pickled, crispy, palatable and yummy burgers they are!
And just to add to the fun of the times and the “Jaws” themes — the restaurant staff is going to all lengths to “reel in” a giant entertainer — Jay Leno.
They have named a burger after Leno, and it’s one of the house greats.
It all started when Jay Leno came to Detroit to offer his free concerts and cheer up the unemployed folks here in the metro area. They’ve been inviting him to come and have one on the house ever since.
“We’ve sent hundreds of e-mails, postcards, and even took out an ad in the L.A. Times. We’ve offered to fly him in first class and host him in a top hotel.”
To see a video of Porter hamming it up in a video invitation, visit www.jawsjumboburgers.net.
The Jaws Jumbo Burgers Jay Leno Burger is a double-decker with two, one-third pound sirloin patties, with mushrooms, double bacon and double American-Swiss cheese.
“And it is big!” said Porter. “It’s almost impossible for one person to eat. Customers love to bring in first timers, order the burger for them and watch the newbie’s reaction.”
Porter said he has “relished” the surprises, all in good fun, and especially enjoyed the scene when Japanese businessmen visited recently with an associate who had just landed in the states from Japan, who was brought promptly into the restaurant for a Leno Burger.
“They took photos and really laughed and laughed.”
The “Jaws” concept is toothy.
The restaurant is clean, the French fries are crispy golden brown, and the atmosphere is unsophisticated. Watch them cook and prepare your burger or have a seat and watch the movie.
OK, it’s time for that haunting Jaws music