Tiny Hamburger Heaven

By: Karen Dybis | May 24, 2019

Photo Courtesy of Green Dot Stables

If there is one topic that Metro Detroiters universally agree upon, it is that this geographic area has some of the most delicious and iconic slider restaurants anywhere in the state or nation.

Loyalties are fierce, and arguments quickly break out in person as well as on social media when people debate which tiny hamburger is best. Truly, every diner or eatery has its own specialty, and they’re all pretty amazing when you’re hungry and looking for a pint-sized, protein-packed meal.

What is a slider? Metro Detroiters typically describe it as a simple hamburger patty, traditionally made with ground beef, with few condiments on a white bun. The size is about a third of a traditional hamburger, making them bite sized for the right person. Otherwise, expect to polish off a slider with two or three bites.

What makes them great is how much flavor is inside their petite portion. In fact, people like Jacques Driscoll, founder of Green Dot Stables in Detroit, notes that sliders actually have the potential to bring more to the table in terms of seasoning, meat choices and variety than their classic larger cousins.

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At Green Dot, you can find every kind of meat and meat substitute on its sliders. There are burgers made of corned beef, quinoa, duck, chicken, bologna, venison and even peanut butter. That means that people who are meat eaters for life as well as vegetarians will find something they like.

Whether you’re looking for a snack, late-night dining or just a place where you can try a variety of flavors, sliders and slider restaurants are an ideal way to get everything within one small plate. Here is just a short list of local favorites to try.

  • Telway: Even Detroit Free Press food critic and hunger expert Mark Kurlyandchik says Telway is the only way when it comes to sliders.
  • Travis Coffee Shop: This St. Clair Shores diner is perfect for every meal, especially breakfast. But its sliders are perfection: Light, not greasy and packed with flavor. Ask for double pickles.
  • Joe’s Hamburgers: Take the drive downriver to Wyandotte and check out this mainstay for its wonderfully little sliders as well as the pinball bar next door.
  • Hunter House: Pretty much everyone agrees that Hunter House has some of the best sliders around. People also rave about its food truck, so that’s worth checking out if it is in your neighborhood.
  • Bray’s: This restaurant on Ford Road and Wayne in Westland not only has great sliders, but we hear from Comcast’s Rob Ponto that the fries are to die for if you like that kind of thing.
  • Motz Burgers: According to Al Poe, Motz is a classic and its “double cheeseburger sliders rule. (I’ve) ate hundreds in my many years.”
  • Red Hots Coney Island: You might think they only know hot dogs and chili at a coney island. But Detroit News columnist Neal Rubin says sliders at this Highland Park legend are amazing.
  • Bates: This Livonia landmark recently celebrated its sixth decade in business. So grab a slider and make sure to pick up a chocolate shake while you’re there.