It all started, as so many brilliant food ideas do, when California restauranteur Scott Slater was hung over, at a tailgate.
He wanted bacon but only had a grill at his disposal.
And now, after turning his moment of genius into six locations spread across Southern California, Dallas will reap the benefits next, when Slater’s 50/50 opens on Lower Greenville Monday.
The restaurant takes its name from a modified version of his half-soused creation that fateful day, when he ground up a slab of pork belly and made grillable patties of 100 percent bacon.
“Try doing that on a Friday night in a restaurant kitchen, and you’ll set the whole place on fire,” Slater said at Thursday’s media preview dinner.
So, the Original 50/50 burger that made it on his menu and became his restaurant’s namesake off the griddle top is just half ground bacon, combined with Black Canyon Angus beef to make up what is actually one of the more tame burgers on the menu, even with the fried egg and avocado mash.
And that’s saying something. There’s a Nacho Burger that takes a ground carne asada patty, wrapped in a tortilla instead of a bun, which is then deep fried and covered in queso, sour cream and fresh jalapeños. Then there’s something called the Peanut Butter and Jellousy, a burger topped with bacon, which seems ordinary enough, until the peanut butter and jelly kick in. It comes a la mode, and, yes, spooning a dollop of soft-serve ice cream onto a bite of your burger actually works somehow.
You might feel a little uncomfortable doing it in public, but the atmosphere at the three-level burger bar is disarming enough to make just about any form of gluttony Slater can dream up seem right as rain. You don’t mind a gimmick when it tastes this good.
The first-floor bar features 50 beers on tap, 40 of which will rotate on a yet-to-be-determined schedule. For an inkling into how serious these folks are about their beer, IPA fans will take note that Slater’s will be one of the few spots around town to have Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA on tap.
The third level of the space that was formerly Greenville Bar & Grill is the only part that still has a little work left to be done at this point. Slater’s 50/50 already has its very necessary patio shade canopy in place, but the bar and the mini bocce ball court still need to be installed. Because even if bocce ball fans aren’t necessarily underserved in the DFW market, we can all agree that cornhole players are overserved.
For events like Dallas’ St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Texas OU weekend, for which the space had already been booked, by the way, the three-patioed block monster that’s taking shape between Terrelli’s, Slater’s and Dodie’s Reef will make for a scenic afternoon or evening destination along Lower Greenville.
But back to the food, because stuffing your face is going to be par for the course at Slater’s 50/50. The burgers are bigger than your head and the bacon that adorns them is cut thicker than a skinny person’s wrist, but don’t forget about the wings, which are better than some chicken-centric concepts around town. Slater said their Dr. Pepper wings weren’t a big seller in California, but we’ve got a 23-flavored inkling that they’ll catch on in Dallas.
The desserts also demand attention, and that last little pocket of space at the top of your stomach, even if you are currently using it for drawing what is likely a short breath after your meal. Don’t let the Guiness and mint shake sit too long, or your Andes mints will sink to the bottom of the glass filled with the beer that makes us all Irish and lined with chocolate syrup. The bacon brownie is also worth a go, even though it’s one of those enders that even a party of four would be hard-pressed to finish off before it finishes them off.
Slater’s 50/50 is just unique enough to warrant a drive through all the traffic and into the city we sometimes roll our eyes at. If you’re anywhere close to as bacon-obsessed as Slater or noted fictitious American Ron Swanson, you may have just been introduced to your new hangout away from home.