Slater’s 50/50 Makes a Burger That Is 50 Percent Bacon
Dallas residents’ choice in burgers just got wider with the entrance of Slater’s 50/50 into the market. Slater’s is a fun burger, beer, and — to its own astonishment — cocktail joint that just opened its first Texas location on bustling Greenville Avenue. Slater’s started in Southern California, where there are now six locations. The reason for the leap from the Golden State to Dallas was veteran restaurateur Dave Coussirat, formerly of Brinker International and now a Fish City Grill franchisee, who ran across the chain on a family vacation to San Diego. He approached founder Scott Slater about franchise opportunities. Now, Dallas has the first franchised site of Slater’s. When I saw him at the pre-opening dinner, Slater looked so stressed— the success of this location is that important to Slater’s expansion plans.
Expect a noisy, happy atmosphere centered around the bar near the door. There are also tables around the back and upstairs. The beer selection tops 50 choices, virtually all from Texas. In fact, Slater’s has made local sourcing a big part of its philosophy, from Texas beer to Blue Bell ice cream to Austin Eastciders cider to the Bakery Group’s buns.
The biggest claim to fame is, of course, the burgers. Why go to Slater’s? The 50/50 beef and bacon, a combination that is part hypnotic and part orgasmic. The patty is exceptionally tasty, and the burger is more sturdy than a Shanghai skyscraper. Based on a brioche bun, the signature “Best Damn Bacon Cheeseburger” has a layer of lettuce and tomato, followed by a patty made of Black Canyon Angus beef and thick-cut bacon, topped with grilled onion, American cheese, and an ooze of Thousand Island dressing. It is ceremonially sentenced to death with a steak knife thrust into it from above and then served to the customer. The tasting experience is an orchestra in the mouth.
Regular readers will recall that I am no fan of so-called “American cheese,” considering it an industrial byproduct falsely ennobled with a totally inappropriate name. So why am I so keen on Slater’s, where American cheese runs through the menu? Because they will get rid of it and substitute blue cheese, or smoked Gruyère — just like Twisted Root, who early on realized that an upscale burger deserves upscale cheese.
They also have an ahi tuna burger. It wears the same brioche bun as the cheeseburger, but at that point things differ. It’s topped with ginger napa cabbage slaw, a wonderfully piquant wasabi mayo, honey, and crispy sriracha wonton chips. The heart is a togarashi-spiced ahi tuna. It is good — but not quite as good as my favorite burger in Dallas, the ahi tuna burger at Chop House.
Highly recommended are the sweet potato fries (with a glorious pumpkin sauce) — and do try the Shmanimal Fries, an In-N-Out “Animal Style” counterpart.
Tragedy struck my attempt to report dessert choices: My banana and caramel shake was not possible because the machine was acting up. This being a pre-opening media event (and Chick-fil-A peach milkshakes being less than 10 minutes away), it was not a disaster.
Overall, Slater’s looks like a great place for burgers, beers, and cocktails.