While I've been to White Castle a few times as well as a Krystal outlet in the past, I've been curious of trying out some of the local independently run burger businesses in the Detroit area after coming across a slideshow tour on Serious Eats of Motown's Sliders. Further reading a few posts on my friend Kaszeta's great Offbeat Eats blog sealed the deal that these would be a personal must-try if I'm ever back in the city.
does an excellent job of explaining what a true slider is and some
history of Detroit's taking of White Castle's model on his posts on Telway and Bates.
Both recommended reads if any are interested in the subject, but
the gist is that the delectable, somewhat greasy smaller burgers are far
from the oversimplified description of various popular miniaturized burgers you see on menus of trendy restaurants these days. Was also surprised to find the current wikipedia page of the term doing a very poor job as well.
are indeed small in size but more so identified by a specific method of
cooking to be properly categorized. It starts first with a rather
conservative amount of ground beef smashed flat on the griddle along with a generous amount of onions for some initial char, then left to steam by the cooking onions that also parts flavor to the entire thing all together with the squishy buns.
Further with melted American cheese and few slices of pickle coins, the
result is a soft, steamy and moderately greasy gem of casual
snackage that locals often purchase by the sackful to-go. In similar
vein to street tacos here or hot dogs, there is not a whole lot fancy or
gourmet about a slider, prices of a single cheeseburger usually
hovering well below the $2 range. Now having had a chance to taste a few
of the city's fine examples, I'm officially a fan.
First up, Greene's Hamburgers
was easy to pick off as it was only 15-mins from my hotel, in fact it's
the only place that I was able to visit multiple times as they are open
24/7, also having a separate breakfast menu during the morning hours.
I've learned Greene's used to have three locations but currently only
the one off of Orchard Lake Rd in Farmington is in operation which
happens to be the oldest, in business since 1957.
first visit was well past midnight (partially due to some jet lag) and
there was something unexpectedly dreamlike about the view of a glowing white pill-box
diner on the corner of a darker, calm stretch of road (at least at
night). I had ordered a single patty cheeseburger ($1.85) with side of
onion rings ($2.75).
isn't a burger for a person hung up on seeing some pink in the middle
of the patty -- the principle I generally agree for larger pattied
burgers, but the fact is that there are many types of burgers and as for
a (true) slider, it's all about the cohesive oneness of steamy aromatic
and sweetness of onions webbed into the sliver of moist beef with
additional flavors of some nice char (which I consider a type of
seasoning) and in this case oozy American cheese. The simple bun also infused with some 'slider essence' cradling it all together.
While visually may remind of something from McD's, I can guarantee it's nothing like. How I might describe the experience to at least my
Asian friends would be perhaps imagining a deconstructed cheeseburger
version of the Nikuman,
though that would still be quite a bit of a stretch. After a few tries I
found I liked best with couple pickle coins and only a small squirt of
yellow mustard, sans ketchup.
The onion rings although fast food style was far superior to most large chains. Made to order, came out crispy hot and the batter had a nice flavoring.
second visit I had a double cheeseburger ($2.65) which had much better
meat ratio, but I somehow still could see myself having two singles
instead. I think it's that marriage of strands of griddled onions to the
beef that gets me hooked.
♥ Greene's Hamburgers and I ♥ Detroit sliders and the small businesses
that still bother to produce them right. Looking forward in sharing a
Greene's Hamburgers, 24155 Orchard Lake Rd, Farmington, MI 48336