Friday, February 22, 2013

A New Slater's 50/50 Opens In OC - CLOSED

Slater's 50/50
24356 Swartz Dr.
Lake Forest, CA 92630

My love for Slater's is of course known to almost everyone that knows me, or reads this blog. I mean you only have to look at our Restaurant Roll Call section, along the right hand side of this blog to see that we have done three stories on Slater's 50/50. Well make that four because Slater's has now opened up another restaurant, and this time it is dangerously close to where I live. I might be in trouble.

Yes it is true. Slater's has now opened up their third OC location, and fifth restaurant overall. In case any of you are still not sure what the big deal about Slater's 50/50 is, here's the big deal. Slater's has come up with a fifty percent ground beef burger, along with a fifty percent ground bacon burger, put it all in one patty, and made bacon lovers across Southern California very happy in the process.

What's that you say? You don't get the big fuss about bacon. Okay, they have other things for weird people that do not enjoy bacon. They have some great appetizers, massive chicken sandwiches, all beef burgers, turkey burgers, veggie burgers, and some outrageous desserts and milkshakes. Between the regular menu, the design your own burger selections, and the burgers of the month that they feature, I have never gotten the same thing twice here. No surprise, but this trip I was also going to get a burger I have never had here before.

This Slater's 50/50 is located in the old Hooter's location that you can see going up the 5 Freeway at El Toro Road. Some say this shopping center is cursed. I think it is just hard to get in and out of. There is a patio store, a Tommy's Burgers, and a dance studio in this center. This shopping center kind of fits the mold of other centers where Slater's is operating. Out of the way shopping centers where you expect them to fail, but they end up driving people into these out of the way shopping centers. They have definitely brought the people into this shopping center on their first Friday night. People were standing outside waiting for a table, the bar was packed and the food was flying out of the kitchen. Let's see what we got on this visit.

Since it was just Katie and I having dinner on this night, we did without our usual order of Vampire Dip, which is a great appetizer, but more geared towards more than two people. Slater's offers a pick your own appetizer option, which we took full advantage of. On this jaunt to Slater's we tried the Fried Dill Pickle Chips, the Beer Battered Jalapenos, and the Fried Bacon Mac N' Cheese Balls ($6.95). My favorite of this trio was the fried jalapenos. These breaded jalapeno rings were paired nicely with the cilantro-lime sour cream. The jalapeno had a little heat to them, but was cooled down a bit by the sour cream. These were addicting. The fried mac n' cheese balls went away quickly as soon as this plate hit the table. The bacon was not as prevalent as I would have thought, but the macaroni was cooked well, and the Tapatio ranch went hand in hand with these. Fried pickles are not usually my thing, but Katie really enjoyed these fried pickle chips. These were supposed to go with the mustard sauce, but we used the Tapatio ranch on these instead.

Katie wanted to prove to the world that you do not have to have a burger when you come to Slater's. She had a Side Salad ($4.95) and the Buffalo Chicken Mac N' Cheese ($7.95). She really liked the big time flavor of the mac and cheese, but it was very rich. She had enough for lunch the next day. This mac and cheese came with a three cheese Alfredo sauce, buffalo chicken nuggets, blue cheese crumbles, celery, and crumbled up Cheez-Its. Everything that makes buffalo wings great. The side salad was pretty basic. The greens were fresh, and the ranch dressing had a great consistency to it. Not a bad sized salad for under five dollars.

I had decided what I was going to order when I was at work during the day. Of course once I sat down, I had second thoughts, but I stuck with my initial choice of the Big Daddy Patty Melt ($11.95). This is not your Grandparents patty melt. This two-thirds of a pound ground beef patty melt included melted cheddar and Swiss cheeses, grilled onions, and a horseradish aioli on large slices of rye bread. I did make one modification to this big burger by adding bacon to it. It is Slater's 50/50 after all. I am usually a big eater, but even I had a little trouble finishing this patty melt. I would have liked the bread to have been toasted a little more, but the insides of this patty melt were very good. The cheeses went well with the big burger patty, the onions added a sweetness to the burger, and the horseradish sauce was subtle, but I did get some tanginess from it. Very good and filling dinner.

For a restaurant that has only been open for five days, and dealing with their first Friday night of business, Slater's 50/50 was in complete control. We recognized many of the staff from other Slater's locations. In fact, our great waitress Sarah was from the Huntington Beach restaurant, helping out train the new hires. All of this extra staff really helped  by keeping things moving along. The food came out in a timely manner, it came out hot, and they were quick with refills of our drinks. I would say the night was a complete success. Welcome to the neighborhood Slater's 50/50. I am sure we will run into each other soon and often.

We would like to thank everyone at Slater's 50/50 for the wonderful opportunity to experience their new restaurant. We would also like to express our gratitude to Gabrielle, from Bread and Butter Public Relations for helping us set up this great night.

To find out more information about Slater's 50/50, click here to go to their web site:


  1. After reading your reviews of Slater's 50/50, and having the Lake Forest location so close to home I went over for a late lunch their first week open and found the food lacking. I ordered a 50/50 patty cheeseburger with fries, my test for any new restaurant I try out. (If they can make a decent burger then I have positive hopes the rest of their menu will be good too).

    First off I'd recommend if you're used to a half-pound burger that you order the one-third size patty at Slater's 50/50 since they measure the patty weight after cooking. At 6'3" and 300 lbs. I have a good size appetite but couldn't finish their two-thirds pound burger.

    The 50/50 patty, 50% ground beef and 50% bacon, had no taste of bacon at all. It was dry tasting and had no flavor, usually signifying a low fat content. The bun was better than most places but not up to level of bun at The Counter in Irvine. My gold star rating for hamburger buns was the made-from-scratch buns that Fuddrucker's used to use many years ago and were so good you could throw away the meat and trimmings and still enjoy the freshest made buns ever. Nowadays I made due with ordering a hamburger at Outback and substituting their (rather bland) standard bun with either a Rudy Roll or Focaccia bread. The Outback at Foothill Ranch has unofficially nicknamed it 'Robert's Burger'.

    Back to my review of Slater's 50/50 - one thing I like to see on a cheese burger is the cheese nicely melted, not the case with my burger. The fries were good, but like too many restaurants lately, including Outback, they preseason their fries with tons of salt (other places too much pepper too). I wish restaurants would let their customers decided how much salt they want on their fries. The same goes for restaurants that over season their burgers too.

    Overall I have to say I wasn't as impressed with Slater's as the blog's writer has been. I'll give them one more chance in case I caught them at a bad time.

    I will say that their staff was attentive and friendly.

    My top picks for the best burger in OC, #1 The Counter in Irvine followed in no particular order, Ruby's Beach Burger (how good it turns out depends on the location), the Outback bacon/cheese burger, and the bacon/cheese burger at Fuddrucker's (in Lake Forest) even with their poorer made buns.

  2. Robert - Thanks so much for the in depth comment on Slater's 50/50. I am surprised that you did not get any bacon flavor in the fifty/fifty patty. Sometimes it becomes just too much for me. They have a very good regular patty here too, and if you like heat, the Fire Patty is a good one to try.

    As far as buns go, my favorite of all time was the buns at Flaky Jake's. There was one on Katella, near Disneyland. They had the best buns from what I remember. You are dead on about the buns at Fuddrucker's. They used to be so much better. I still love the burger though, but it just doesn't make my top three.

    My top three burger spots right now are G Burger in La Habra, Burger Parlor in Fullerton, and Slater's is third.

    Give Slater's another shot. Hopefully it was just a bad night for them, and let me know what you think. I am also trying Rider's Club in San Clemente this week, so keep an eye out for that review. I have heard good things about their burgers.

    Thanks for taking the time to write, and I look forward to hearing from you again.

  3. I love the Vampire Dip too! A lot of the dishes at 50/50 though seem high in calories and can be made at home for the same great flavor and more healthy. Here's my recipe for the Dark Shadow's Burger, made with veggie patty, a lot of garlic, and sweet relish.

  4. Jesse - Yes, Slater's is definitely not for the health conscious. I try to limit my visits, but they are always coming out with new things to try. Thanks for providing us with a healthier recipe, and for reading the blog.