Today’s Rant – The Term “Slider”

As much as I carp about being served “Kobe” burgers which aren’t Kobe at all, today I am starting to get a little miffed about the liberal use of the word “sliders” on menus, and particularly, bar happy hour menus.

A quick Yelp of Portland restaurants ‘sliders’, for example, finds offerings of beef, lamb, pork, meat loaf, pulled pork, chicken, bulgogi, reuben, mac n cheese, veggie, tongue, muffaletta, loose meat, breakfast, bbq, duck, roast beef, corned beef, bratwurst, steak, and more.

Folks who study etymology (the origin of words) often attribute the word “slider” in this context, to the term US Navy personnel dubbed the hamburger during WW2. The reason was because the patties slid across the griddle as the ships rolled at sea.

But the word in present day culture has been largely popularized by two similar hamburger chains, White Castle in the East and Midwest, and Krystal in the south. These two very similar chains, started at about the same time, both offer a hamburger that has become synonymous with the word “slider” in our recent culture.

To wit: a small, square beef patty cooked on a steaming bed of diced onion. (pictured, a Famous Krystal hamburger, photo from their website).

So dear restaurateurs, please stop calling any old mini sandwich (or worse yet, a big sandwich cut into bite-sized pieces) a “slider.”  When I’m going out for a slider, give me a small, greasy, oniony burger every time!

Unfortunately, the nearest White Castle is 1980 miles; the nearest Krystal, 2049 miles.  While a great meal is always worth a drive – I think I will have to wait awhile before making this trip!

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