Hamburgers, like all the other fine arts, tend to have a historic arc, and we all just assume that they are getting better all the time. And maybe they are; there has surely never been a better time to be a customer with a big appetite, $10 and a good spot in the short line at Smashburger. But you know what? There are some magnificent hamburgers that have been lost to us, consigned to museum dioramas. Are we really that proud of ramen burgers or brioche buns that we have nothing to learn from a century of hamburger cooking? Here are five truly great burgers, now obscure and forgotten, but still waiting in readiness for a revival that must surely come.
1. The Slider
Those little mini burgers you get at Hooters are not sliders: They are mini burgers. They have become wildly popular in the past couple of years, beloved equally by halfhearted dieters and restaurant owners who like to sell four little burgers for twice the price of a single big one. But sliders are thin, and tiny, and soft, and you can truly, as the first great burger chain boasted, “Buy them by the sack.” (And eat them.) Interestingly, the first burger chain to sell them is also one of the last ones: White Castle, the alpha and omega of sliders.
Served at: White Castle; Krystal (a.k.a. “The White Castle of the South”).