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Burgers with a Side of Smoke: Slater's 50/50

I went to Slater’s 50/50 – Burgers by Design in Liberty Station over the weekend, not knowing that it’s a sports bar before I got there. I haven’t been to a sports bar in a long while. I don’t have anything against them, it’s just that it can be hard to find one with good food and good beer. Too many places hang up some team jerseys and a half dozen flat screens, stock up on frozen jalapeno poppers, and call themselves a restaurant.

Slater's 50/50 is a small chain, with additional locations in Anaheim and Huntington Beach.

None

The first thing I noticed was a huge exhaust stack over the place, pumping billows of meat-scented smoke throughout the neighborhood. It hung over the nearby Ace Hardware in a grey cloud.

None

A large bronze burger stands out front, a knife sticks up like a pike. That’s the way all their burgers and sandwiches are served, stabbed through the middle with a giant blade.

There's a big, comfy-looking patio, but we opted to sit inside, partly because it was chilly, mostly to avoid inhaling smoke throughout our meal.

We were seated at a raised table in the bar area. The view was pure electronic overload – I had sixteen screens available by barely turning my head. I could watch the Padres, the Masters, hockey, NBA basketball, auto racing and a couple of other MLB games. The soundtrack was a mix of 70s/80s/90s dancy-music and the chatter of the predominantly twenty-something crowd. Pleasantly loud, like being at a party where everyone’s having fun.

None

The beer selection is better than most sports bars, with several local brews available. During Happy Hour, ten selected beers are half price, as are some appetizers.

None

The appetizer menu was short and heavy on the deep fried side. We skipped over it and ordered the house burger, the 50/50 ($9.95). It’s 50% Sterling Silver Premium ground beef, 50% ground bacon, and comes in 1/3 lb., 2/3 lb. and full pound sizes. Fries are extra at $3.95. Standard garnishes include a sunny side up egg, avocado mash, pepper jack cheese and chipotle aioli, encased in a brioche bun.

None

The whole 50/50 thing sounds a bit gimmicky – it seems as though adding bacon is the lazy chef’s way of garnishing almost everything from calamari to cookies. I’m glad to say that it worked pretty well in this case. I’ve often been disappointed by under seasoned burgers, but the bacon added a good, salty, smoky flavor without overwhelming the beefy taste. Although I wasn’t asked how I wanted it done, it came out medium rare, nice. The runny egg and avocado made it pretty slippery, so it squished and squashed, but the bun held up it’s end of the deal and didn’t fall apart. Messy and good, a three-napkin burger.

None

The fries were pretty good, too. Long, medium cut with plenty of skin. They could have used another 30 seconds in the fryer, but still had decent crispiness. There was a cup of bacon-ketchup for dipping, which didn’t add much, but wasn’t terrible either.

Slater’s 50/50 also serves sandwiches, salads and design your own burgers. A full bar is available in addition to beer and wine. Milkshakes choices include toasted marshmallow, maple bacon and Guinness mint chocolate ($4.95 for vanilla, plus $.50 for each addition).

Slater’s 50/50 – Burgers by Design

2750 Dewey Road

San Diego, CA 92106

619.398.2600

Hours:

Daily - 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.

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I went to Slater’s 50/50 – Burgers by Design in Liberty Station over the weekend, not knowing that it’s a sports bar before I got there. I haven’t been to a sports bar in a long while. I don’t have anything against them, it’s just that it can be hard to find one with good food and good beer. Too many places hang up some team jerseys and a half dozen flat screens, stock up on frozen jalapeno poppers, and call themselves a restaurant.

Slater's 50/50 is a small chain, with additional locations in Anaheim and Huntington Beach.

None

The first thing I noticed was a huge exhaust stack over the place, pumping billows of meat-scented smoke throughout the neighborhood. It hung over the nearby Ace Hardware in a grey cloud.

None

A large bronze burger stands out front, a knife sticks up like a pike. That’s the way all their burgers and sandwiches are served, stabbed through the middle with a giant blade.

There's a big, comfy-looking patio, but we opted to sit inside, partly because it was chilly, mostly to avoid inhaling smoke throughout our meal.

We were seated at a raised table in the bar area. The view was pure electronic overload – I had sixteen screens available by barely turning my head. I could watch the Padres, the Masters, hockey, NBA basketball, auto racing and a couple of other MLB games. The soundtrack was a mix of 70s/80s/90s dancy-music and the chatter of the predominantly twenty-something crowd. Pleasantly loud, like being at a party where everyone’s having fun.

None

The beer selection is better than most sports bars, with several local brews available. During Happy Hour, ten selected beers are half price, as are some appetizers.

None

The appetizer menu was short and heavy on the deep fried side. We skipped over it and ordered the house burger, the 50/50 ($9.95). It’s 50% Sterling Silver Premium ground beef, 50% ground bacon, and comes in 1/3 lb., 2/3 lb. and full pound sizes. Fries are extra at $3.95. Standard garnishes include a sunny side up egg, avocado mash, pepper jack cheese and chipotle aioli, encased in a brioche bun.

None

The whole 50/50 thing sounds a bit gimmicky – it seems as though adding bacon is the lazy chef’s way of garnishing almost everything from calamari to cookies. I’m glad to say that it worked pretty well in this case. I’ve often been disappointed by under seasoned burgers, but the bacon added a good, salty, smoky flavor without overwhelming the beefy taste. Although I wasn’t asked how I wanted it done, it came out medium rare, nice. The runny egg and avocado made it pretty slippery, so it squished and squashed, but the bun held up it’s end of the deal and didn’t fall apart. Messy and good, a three-napkin burger.

None

The fries were pretty good, too. Long, medium cut with plenty of skin. They could have used another 30 seconds in the fryer, but still had decent crispiness. There was a cup of bacon-ketchup for dipping, which didn’t add much, but wasn’t terrible either.

Slater’s 50/50 also serves sandwiches, salads and design your own burgers. A full bar is available in addition to beer and wine. Milkshakes choices include toasted marshmallow, maple bacon and Guinness mint chocolate ($4.95 for vanilla, plus $.50 for each addition).

Slater’s 50/50 – Burgers by Design

2750 Dewey Road

San Diego, CA 92106

619.398.2600

Hours:

Daily - 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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