An Amusement Park of Burgers

You better come hungry to Slater’s 50/50

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 | 1:33 pm

Editor’s Note: As all of you undoubtedly know by now, next week is Cheeseburger Week in Pasadena. (Three shopping days left!) Over the next week, Pasadena Now will be highlighting a dozen of the forty hamburger restaurants involved in the extravaganza, all over our fair city. We begin with Slater’s 50/50.

Think of it as an amusement park of burgers; a cityscape of beef, if you will. Everywhere you look, tables are groaning with burgers of every stripe from the “Old Timey,” a traditional cheeseburger (Which we came for), to the Excessstacy, a towering skyscraper, containing a little bit of everything. But we’ll get to that.

The “Old Timey” cheeseburger is a classic, and then some.

Because it is in fact Cheeseburger week, we came in search of the basic cheeseburger offering.  The happy problem with Slater’s is that you can design and they will build almost every burger you can think of. But there, on the “Designed Burgers” menu is the Old-Timey, a traditional beef burger with cheese and  the ubiquitous bacon slice—in this case, two—served on a fresh brioche. (The buns are delivered fresh, seven days a week.)

Slater’s has carved out its successful niche in the burger market with its “50/50” patty, half ground beef and half bacon, but the “Old Timey” is 100% ground beef, served with lettuce, tomato, thousand island dressing (We asked for 500 Island dressing since were eating a lot, but no go. I digress.), and served with a pickle slice. The beef is flavorful and the cheese is thick. Like all of the burgers at Slater’s, it requires some personal commitment, since the entire affair is a tall tower of Yum.

The Slater’s “Old Timey” Cheeseburger is a little more of everything than most burgers, and therein lies the secret to the restaurant’s appeal—excess. If that’s how you roll, you’re in heaven here.

Though we came to sample the Cheeseburger, we couldn’t resist tackling a few of the other surprising offerings, like the Frito Crunch Burger, a cheeseburger topped with Fritos and chili. That was as good and messy as it sounds.  We also tried the Peanut Butter and Jellousy, which is yes, a burger topped with peanut butter and strawberry jelly. Our verdict? More jelly, please.

The “Excessstacy” is exactly as the name implies.

This led our expedition to the Excessstacy burger—a magnificent high-rise affair consisting of a beef patty, a bacon patty, two small roma tomatoes, a grilled cheese sandwich (with bacon) in the middle of it (!), and a fried egg, on a glazed brioche.

Just attempting to eat it was a task. We eventually sliced it down the middle, and then quartered the two halves. Each quarter was a meal by itself.

If you’re coming to Slater’s, be happy and be hungry. It’s loud, with sports on big TVs everywhere, and a crowded bar. You’ll have to be wheeled out when you leave, but you’ll dream of coming back.

Slater’s 50/50 is at 61 North Raymond Avenue, Pasadena. (626) 765-9700. www.slaters5050.com

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