When I was a pre-teen and in Chicago visiting my grandparents, my grandfather (PopPop) announced that he was picking up hamburgers for dinner. “How many would you like?” he asked. “Two!” I replied. He frowned: “Only two?” “Two will do it,” I confirmed. His frown grew deeper: “Only two?” “How many are you going to have, PopPop?” I asked. “Eight,” he replied. “Eight!!!” I yelped.
He was, in part, goofing me since he was heading to White Castle, the world’s first fast-food hamburger chain, where they slung sliders, these tiny hamburgers sprinkled with fried onions. I love them and seek them out whenever I travel to the midwest. Krystal is the southern interpretation (although White Castle is better). So when it comes to sliders, I judge them against the original.
Chef’d up sliders have been a bit of a thing in Austin for a while, but I’ve yet to meet and eat one that brought me back for more. So I was excited to hear that Fat City, the brainchild of Eric Silverstein, he of the Peached Tortilla, would be serving up sliders only a few blocks away from our house at Yard Bar.
Born of The Plague’s impact on the restaurant business, Silverstein created Fat City as a pop-up delivery-only concept operating out of Peached’s space. The idea went over so well that he teamed up with the Yard Bar’s Kristen Heaney to share the Yard Bar space to provide a forever home for Fat City.
Similar to Yard Bar, the dining space is outdoors. Fat City has added a lean-to shade structure and misters to cool things down. In a nod to the old putt-putt golf joint that used to grace the place, there are now fours holes with an additional gaming space for the kids and drunks to play. Service is counter-style fast casual. You order at the window, get a numbered flag, find a table, and wait for your order. Be prepared to wait a bit longer than you might expect since everything is made fresh.
Fat City refers to its slider as stacks. You can mix and match or get a sack of stacks. There are four stacks to choose from: the Single (smashed beef slider with onions and pickles; $2.25), (2) the Single with American cheese ($2.5), the Double w/cheese stack ($3), and the Fried Chicken (togarashi ranch, shredded lettuce, and pickles; $4). The Fried Chicken Stack is “equal” to two Single stacks (a chicken tender stretched across two mini-buns). The sacks include three of the beef sliders or two of the chickens with either tater tots or crinkle fries, the latter two you can get on the side if you mix and match.
The Bride and I spent a bit of time debating the bun-to-protein ratio of Fat City’s stacks. I thought the ratio was good for the chicken stacks with the thick-and-juicy tender and sauce sparkling through the gluton, but she disagreed, finding hers overbreaded. I definitely thought the beef singles had too much endospermed wheat for the beef, which itself was on the thin side. I went back with some friends and ordered doubles, and found them far superior to the singles, so dupe up! The crinkle fries and tots are heavensent, crisped to perfection with soft warm interiors. Everyone comments on them with justifiable amazement.
Yard Bar still operates their full bar, so if you want something stronger than iced tea to help slide your sliders down, ask, and they will send someone out to your table with a drink menu. And given that Fat City is leashed so closely to the Yard Bar, Fido and friends are welcome. You can even order from the pooch menu which includes chicken meatballs and peanut butter and Greek yogurt ice cream.
I wrote this review for the Allandale Neighbor.
web&where: interwebs; 6700 Burnet Road; (512) 555-2464
what’s the deal? chicken and beef sliders (fast casual with outdoor seating)
overall: ** (food**; drink**; atmosphere**; service**; instagrammability**)
– meh [think twice]
* OK [it’ll get the job done]
** good [solid neighborhood joint]
*** damn good [we’ll definitely be back]
**** yippity-yikes that was amazeballs [fantastic; one of the best]
***** holy sh!t [transcendental; best of the best] each $ = $10; cost is based on a typical dinner entrée and appetizer (no drinks)
each $ = $10; cost is based on a typical dinner entrée and appetizer (no drinks)