Slater’s 50/50 has a spicy burger — surrounded by bacon, salsa, guacamole and cheddar cheese — that’s stuffed inside a flour tortilla and deep fried, doused in a Budweiser-infused cheese sauce, and hit with a scoop of sour cream, a few jalapeños and fried tortilla strips. It’s got the heft and hue of a baby golden retriever.
When this "Nacho Burger" landed, a woman across the bar, eyes wide, asked, “What is that?” in terror. Three Slater’s team members swung by to ask me what I thought of it. I couldn’t help but think of the scene in The Simpsons when Homer forces Bart to wrap bacon around his breakfast sausage and Bart replies:,“But Dad, my heart hurts.” The Budweiser cheese sauce runs down my fingers when I attempt to grab the chimichanga-style burger.
Yes, the chimichanga burger is a thing, and it’s at Lower Greenville’s new California import. Slater’s 50/50, a Southern California-based beer and burger joint, opened June 19. It's got burger deals — like a beer, burger and fries for $15.99 — an exciting on-tap menu (like the much-coveted Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA) and a rooftop patio. The burgers range around $10 to $15.
One of the biggest social contracts in food history is that “everything is better with bacon.” It’s not an absolute truth. It can’t be, right? There are some things that bacon can walk away from peacefully. Right? Many, many things appear with bacon at Slater’s 50/50, including the ketchup, the bloody mary, the buffalo wings and the brownies — and, of course, bacon is blended into the burger patties. The Peanut Butter & Jellousy is an Angus beef patty topped with thick-cut bacon, peanut butter and strawberry jelly. You can order it with a side of ice cream.
I’m sitting at the bar at the recently opened joint in the old Greenville Bar & Grill space. Stairs lead up to a second floor that’s got a miniature version of the bar, which is roof-shingled and signed with three words, “burgers,” “bacon” and “beer,” and the cutout of a flying pig. The hulking Nacho Burger arrives along with fries with bacon-studded ketchup and the original 50/50 burger. That one’s got the signature bacon-beef blend, pepper jack cheese, a very sunny side up egg, chipotle mayo and an avocado mash. It’s easily the better of the two burgers.
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One bite into the Original, and you’ll be slapped by rich, smoky bacon flavor. The egg runneth over. The fat from the ground bacon lightens the color of the patty, and the texture inside is like a coarse-ground medium rare. If you like your burger cooked a bit more, you may find the cross-section feels too rare. The patty’s grilled, however, which gives it char on the outside. It’s good juices and it's a third-pounder; the size lessens the blow of the richness. The fries are the tried-and-true shape and crispy on my visit, and, if you’re all Ron Swanson about bacon, you’re in good hands with the Original.
Slater’s is hitching on to the fact that you already love bacon. It’s essentially required at this place; the very aroma when you enter is sizzling bacon. Watch out for the seasoning on the table — it's bacon salt. I wouldn’t be surprised if the wall’s shingles were just petrified bacon. Bacon’s in the appetizers too: There are fried bacon mac and cheese balls, and the few vegetables served, like Brussels sprouts, are baconafied. You’re left to embrace it or be stuck with a hulking, meaty heart-hurter.
Slater's 50/50, 2817 Greenville Ave.