Although Crunchy’s was a mere “Other Worthy Contender” in MLive’s Michigan’s Best Burger search, they’re right about one thing: “The MSU contingency swears by this institution.” I concur – Crunchy’s is definitely my favorite burger in East Lansing.
Like most great burgers, a meal at Crunchy’s is about the whole experience.
It takes most people a little while to figure out how to get into the building their first time. You park out back and have to enter through the alley. You can spot a regular by their confident stride into the dingy alley.
When you enter Crunchy’s, the lights are dim, but you’ll immediately notice graffiti everywhere. Carved or scrawled onto the walls and booths, it provides a testament in a transient college town to those who have gone before us.
The Famous Crunchy Burger is known around town – half a pound of chargrilled meat covered in American cheese. Weekdays from 11 am to 4:30 pm, the Burger Special will get you a Crunchy Burger, French fries, and a pop for a mere $5.49. It’s easy on the tummy and the budget!
As tempting as the Burger Special is, my heart belongs to the Salmon Burger – a perfectly round patty of grilled salmon, covered with a slice of American cheese and paired with a Dijon horseradish sauce – although it’ll never measure up to Grandma’s Good Friday salmon patties. I always dip my finger into the Dijon horseradish sauce to test it out before pouring too much over the cheesy side of my salmon. A heaping serving of French’s yellow mustard graces the underside of the salmon. The lettuce, tomato, and pickle garnishing the burger are removed and eaten separately, not to tarnish the delicate mix of flavors, and the onions are simply disposed of as quickly as possible.
I always get my Salmon Burger on a pretzel bun, and every once in a while, I’ll add one of Crunchy’s nine Signature Toppings. My favorite options for the Salmon Burger are the Bacon & Cheese (bacon, cheddar cheese), the Olive (black or green olives, American cheese), and the Western (bacon, Crunchy’s Stout BBQ sauce, mozzarella cheese). The burger comes with a bag of Better Made Original Potato Chips. Usually I substitute tater tots for the chips, but with Thanksgiving dinner the next day, I didn’t want to spoil my appetite. The Dijon horseradish sauce that comes with the Salmon Burger doubles as a zesty dipping sauce for the tater tots!
The only downside to Crunchy’s is the lack of parking onsite, which means you have to park at a meter and have enough quarters on you to pay for an hour of parking. Or, you park on campus and walk four miles to Crunchy’s, which is typically my solution when the weather permits!