Gladly Pay You Tuesday for a Royal Oak Comet Burger Today

Royal Oak Comet Burger is an icon undergoing change

One day soon might be your last chance for a Royal Oak Comet Burger. The iconic burger joint is to undergo significant change in September, right after Labor Day (a.k.a Arts Beats and Eats). At least a change in ownership, maybe keep the name, and then it’s those devilish details.

With the Main Street Theater, another Royal Oak icon, reduced to a big hole in the ground, we still got our resolve up to go park in a high-rise lot. Destination: Comet Burger. We got a surprise.

Hear ye, hear ye! Comet Burger is one of the last standing symbols of recent Royal Oak town life. And a positive symbol it is. Yes, change is good and necessary, but must also be carefully executed. In the aftermath of so many changes – some controversial and not particularly appreciated – now Comet Burger won’t be the same.

Actually, I was there as much for a chocolate malt as a burger. But alas, they had no ice cream. Maybe supply chain issues and/or impending shut down has left the business sputtering. Like other businesses, they went through at least two COVID-related restarts. Update: they had ice cream today.

Comet Burger arrived on the Main Street scene in 1994. Since 2004, the proprietors have been Evarist Vatnikaj and family. This is goodness and tradition, a father-son small-business team, working hard and keeping it together through all kinds of challenges. Royal Oak has seen a lot of eateries come and go in that time. Part of their success comes from having the fryer and grill front-and-center, so you see the cleanliness and freshness of what comes to you; that’s old school quality delivery.

Even if you’re not a meat eater, you might appreciate Comet Burger

Many businesses are now pushed to give way to things more glitzy-profitable-out-of-touch. Note: this photo contains no gastro-intestinal comic implication, nor commentary on the downtown state of affairs.

Opinion: If Royal Oak Comet Burger carries on, it should respect the culture and community of which it has been part. This was downtown’s cheapest decent place to eat, and over time they have shown special consideration for children; it’s been memorable and pleasant to go there. Please don’t dismiss these attributes. The people who have worked there long and hard will be missed. And don’t forget those premium chocolate malts.

If you’re out and about for Arts, Beats, and Eats, consider stopping in at Comet Burger! If you think Royal Oak and area could benefit from additional independent journalism, please let me know.