Food trucks have become a huge trend these days, but I’m not one to fight lines and hunt them down around town. I’d much rather go to a fixed location and order something whenever I want, which is why I had to take a trip to Slidin’ Thru HQ to see if the sliders in their restaurant are any better than the ones on their truck. Simple answer: nope.
The HQ is located near the airport in an odd office park. There’s a bar next door to it that’s very easy to find because of all the signage, but the HQ has nothing but a sticker in the window so my friend and I drove by it twice. Maybe they don’t want to be found even by those trying to look for them? The interior of the place is something out of a comic book, insane colors, loud music, and comic book style art spray painted all over the walls. It wasn’t too bad, but the seating choices were quite limited. I think there were two booths that could seat about six, a round table with a few chairs, and a long high top table with maybe another 8 chairs or so. Not sure what they do when there’s a rush, although based on the location maybe there never is.
For the sake of variety and hoping I would hit the jackpot with at least one decent slider, I ordered three different kinds from a selection of six Angus sliders, a pulled pork slider, an eggplant option, and a ‘mystery’ selection. They also offer four different kinds of Super Fries with all sorts of insane toppings, as well as regular and sweet potato.
The first one up was the Barby, which has melted cheddar, caramelized jalapenos, crispy fried onion strips, bacon and bbq sauce. Quite a lot of toppings for a little slider so I expected much flavor, but what I got was A LOT of dryness. The word ‘dry’ is going to become a common theme here I should mention. The bun on this slider was extremely dry and a bit hard, but the meat was beyond dry. Luckily(?) the onions and bbq sauce completely consumed all flavor of this concoction, so I was a bit distracted from the dryness by the taste of a bad version of KC Masterpiece sauce. Strike one.
The next one up was the Captain’s Order, complete with roma tomatoes, arugula, bacon, feta cheese, sautéed onions and a balsamic reduction. Once again the bun and meat were beyond dry, but lucky for me this time the balsamic commanded all flavor. The bacon had decent flavor, but was totally overcooked and, you got it, dry. Not much else to say about this one, just underwhelmed again. Strike two.
My final attempt at decency came from the Pep Pep, which the guy behind the register described as an ‘In-N-Out clone’. This one has lettuce, tomato, pickles, bacon, sautéed onions, cheddar and super sauce. There are few burgers out there that are even close to being as good as the Almighty, but I must say that this one was good. I only wished that I had ordered three of them. Upon my very first bite I exclaimed that it actually tasted like a burger. The pickles were good, the bacon was ok, and the meat somehow retained some moisture this time. The meat on its own had ok flavor, and I was happy I ended on this one and not the others.
As for the fries, I went with the Barby Fries which are a play on the Barby slider. That was a bit of a mistake, if you’re getting a few different kinds of sliders here, try to get one of the fries based on a burger you’re not getting for some more variety. Or, if you’re not looking to order a giant bucket of fries for $5 that are more than enough for 3-4 people, try the regular or sweet potato choices. The fries are not too bad on their own, but layered with melted cheddar, bacon, caramelized jalapenos and bbq sauce they become something totally different. They get soggy very quickly, and the sauce overpowers all flavors once again. The onions taste good, very reminiscent of a Bloomin’ Onion if you’ve ever dared to order one. The bacon bits were overcooked and had a burnt grease flavor, the jalapeños tasted good but were buried in the rest of the flavors.
Maybe the most acceptable part of this meal is the price for three sliders: $7. I think it’s very reasonable if you could get three that aren’t dry that you might actually like, but once you combine that with $5 for the insane Super Fries and a drink, it quickly becomes a $15+ meal which is a bit steep for this. The fries are more than enough to share with a few people so you could split the cost with a few other folks, otherwise I would stick to the regular fries for a much more reasonable $2.
Overall I fail to see what all the hype is about. Sure the food truck thing is cool, but unless you can actually deliver a good product like some other folks I don’t know what to tell you. The interior of their HQ is probably cool if you’re in high school, but if you’re looking for a decent place to sit down and get something slightly better than fast food you should probably skip the HQ.