The tantalizing Tattler is always amazed at the food fights in Ypsilanti. From medians on Cross Street to festival names in the parks, Ypsilantians love to fight.

As is often the case, in the heat of the battle we sometimes forget our own history.

Most recently is the dust-up over a Burger King at Water Street. While localvores complain they don’t like chains, the company that owns the Ypsi Burger King, Quality Dining Inc., is one of the largest franchise holders in the world.  QDI has 8,000 employees and $150 million in annual revenue operating over 170 restaurants. QDI also gives hundreds of thousands of dollars a year back to the communities where they have restaurants through grants and fund-raising promotions. Most communities would welcome such a company to town rather than tar and feathering them.

Yet the Ypsilanti Burger King has a special place in Internet lore. You see, it is the Ypsilanti Burger King that is home to one of the original Darwin Awards. While the Ypsilanti Burger King story is not technically a Darwin Award, no one died, the story did receive an honorable Darwin Award mention in 1996. For you youngsters out there, that is ancient history in Internet years.

The Ypsilanti tale has grown to an almost mythic stature and it is retold hundreds of times a year in new blogs and email chain letters. Partly because the story is so believable, any one knows you can’t order onion rings on the breakfast menu, and partly because of the unique name of the town, Ypsilanti.

So what exactly is the tale. Well fellow tatts, the story goes like this:

The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 7:50 am, flashed a gun and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn’t open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren’t available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.

The Tattler enjoys the Historic Marker outside of her home on the Water Tower. Perhaps the locals can put down the knives and come up with a similar marker for the Burger King.

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