Olive burger to be honored with festival

Big Micfables Olive Burger from 4Lads at Speak EZ Lounge. Courtesy photo

The olive burger is back in the spotlight.

A group known as Lansing Foodies have announced an olive burger festival that will take place in June. Closer to home, Speak EZ Lounge is offering up its rendition of the Grand Rapids classic this week only, March 6-10.

“We’re thrilled to be hosting the Olive Burger Festival at Jackson Field (505 E Michigan Ave., Lansing) this year,” said Lansing Foodies event coordinator, Erin Brains. “This is a great opportunity for people to come together and celebrate one of Michigan’s most beloved foods. We have an exciting lineup of vendors and activities planned, and we can’t wait to see everyone there.”

The festival will feature a number of olive burger creations that attendees will be able to try and vote on to determine the favorite. Activities will include live music, bounce houses and face painting, all in celebration of the iconic Michigan burger that has been a regional favorite for nearly a century.

While there is some debate about where the “fabled” burger originated, its inception has been widely attributed to one of the founders of Grand Rapids burger chain Mr. Fables. 

According to John Boyles, his father (Gerald Boyles) started putting olives on burgers back when his South Division Ave. restaurant was still a “Kewpee” (burger chain founded in Flint in 1923). John Boyles and his cousin, Dick Faber, purchased Gerald’s Kewpee business in 1929 and renamed it by combining their two last names: Faber + Boyles = Mr. Fables.

According to another longstanding Michigan restaurant’s menu, Schuler’s Restaurant and Pub in Marshall, which serves a Mr. Fables Burger: 

“Some credit the Olympic Broil in Lansing with the creation of the first olive burger in the 1960s, but others say it was made much earlier at an original Kewpee Hotel Hamburgs location in Grand Rapids.” 

While it may not have been invented in Lansing, the Lansing Foodies are convinced the olive burger was perfected there and are collecting signatures to encourage Governor Gretchen Whitmer to designate Lansing as “The Olive Burger Capital of the World.”  Sign the petition here

The Olive Burger Festival will take place on Saturday June 24, 2023, noon – 7 p.m. Potential Olive Burger Festival vendors, sponsors and volunteers are encouraged to email lansingfoodies@gmail.com.

If you can’t wait until June for your next olive burger fix, 4Lads pop-up kitchen at Speak EZ Lounge is featuring a “behemoth” olive burger this week called the “Big Micfables,” served with a side of Kettle Chips and extra napkins. The Big Micfables comes with Big Mac sauce, Mr. Fables green olive sauce, smash patties, lettuce, homemade pickles, cheddar, swiss, bacon and jalapeno on a sesame seed bun.

Try it at their early St. Paddy’s Day Party w/ Selkie and The Conklin Ceili Band at SpeakEZ Lounge, 600 Monroe Ave. NW on Wednesday, March 8, 7:30 p.m.

For a YouTube tutorial on how to make your own olive burger, click here


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