If sliders and crunchy fries with a soft center dipped in white queso sounds like your thing, slide into the week with Smalls Sliders, the newest eatery to open around the University area on Nicholson by Tigerland.
The eatery, centered around the concept of sliders with a drive-thru and quality customer service, is the result of a partnership between E.J. Ourso College of Business MBA graduate Jacob Dugas, E.J. Ourso College of Business instructor James Scott Fargason, Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar co-founder Brandon Landry and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
After a year in development and mock nights preceding the grand opening that included free food for guests to ensure the quality of both the food and the service, Small Sliders served its first official slider on Sept. 13. The official grand opening was originally scheduled for September 12 at 3 p.m. but management decided staff needed one more day to prepare.
“We’re really trying to make our own unique culture, and Small's is so simple,” Dugas said. “I mean, we’re not trying to re-invent the wheel, but we’re trying to do one thing and do it better than anybody, and that’s these sliders. They’re very cravable, we patty our patties daily in the restaurant, and we cook to order. We try to get everything out in the fastest, highest quality way possible.”
The small but flavor-packed menu of the restaurant is simple. A #1 includes one slider, fries and a drink, a #2 includes two sliders and so on. The slightly sweet, soft buns are made in Lafayette, then delivered to Baton Rouge, where they sweat the buns or steam them to make it soft enough to melt in the mouth. Patties are 80 percent chuck and ground meat and 20 percent fat and cooked to order.
The skin-on fries are cooked to be crispy with a soft center and then sprinkled with sea salt. Each slider is served with quarter-inch pickle slices. In addition to the sliders, queso and vanilla and chocolate shakes in the menu, there is a secret menu that includes a grilled cheese sandwich. Guests are encouraged to come in and inquire about the secret menu and how to best order items.
“We want to create these craving fans for our product,” Dugas said. “I mean, a few of the underground items that you can get is a double meat, double cheese slider, and you can come to the restaurant, and we’ll tell you how to order. And then you can get a grilled cheese option, which is really good. But again, we don’t want to stray too far away.”
Dugas says the string lights in the patio and shipping containers make the restaurant aesthetically different form other eateries in the area. Sitting is all outdoors and fur babies are welcome. Ordering can be done through the drive thru or walk up area. The restaurant is open until 3 a.m. on weekends, making it an ideal spot for a post-Tigerland meal.