Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Slidin' Thru - the Slider Truck

We hear again & again that small businesses are the cornerstone of our economy. True or not, my own culinary aesthetic also follows this view. I try to avoid the chain restaurants, the Olive Gardens & Outback Steakhouses, mainly because, for the price, I can usually find better food & service at a local place.

Slidin' Thru, the Slider Truck, is exactly what I'm talking about. Ricardo Guerrero, proprietor of this burger joint on wheels, has taken the tried-and-true concept of the food truck and put his own indelible stamp on it -- by offering a small menu of excellent fare at a very reasonable price.

I've made several visits to the Slidin' Thru Slider Truck in various locations throughout Las Vegas, and Guerrero's food has been consistently delicious. This local entrepreneur's business model is still evolving. His menu has varied, and, in 3 of my 4 visits, his prices have changed. But the quality of his particular brand of burger is truly wonderful.

Despite the busy & colorful decor of the truck, what you'll find if you visit the Slidin' Thru Slider Truck is simplicity itself: burgers, drinks, chips & cookies. I am a fan of the well-made burger, and these sliders are quickly becoming a personal favorite.

The burgers are generally cooked medium, with just the right amount of flavorful pink in center, and they are perfectly-sized, so that you can be satisfied with just 2, which allows you to try a variety of flavors without overdoing your lunch. (I am such a pig that I always get 3 sliders and a drink.)

(This meal cost me $9, including the drink, and was SO worth it!)

There's the Pep Pep, which is basically a bacon cheeseburger seasoned with a dollop of thousand-island dressing. It's a stalwart stand-by, and I usually order one to anchor my lunch basket.

And there's the Captain's Order, which features feta cheese, sauteed onions, bacon and a balsamic reduction. This is a nice, exotic twist on the burger concept.

The Eggplant Caprese is really flavorful, with a big slice of mozzarella accompanied by a piece of cooked eggplant topped with fresh basil and a slice or two of tomato drizzled with balsamic reduction.

When the Kalbi Rib slider is being offered, I always get one. These are made with a generous helping of boneless Korean BBQ short rib on a bun, accompanied by some grilled cabbage and green onion. Guerrero marinates and cooks his Kalbi ribs so well that, on a couple of my visits, he had sold out of these scrumptious creations.

Other offerings include the Barbie and the Pulled Porkie, and I expect the menu to continue to evolve as the Slidin' Thru Slider truck masters its market.

Besides the excellent food, Ricardo Guerrero has also mastered the "Business 2.0" concept, establishing a web-site and using social media like Twitter to inform his customers of his activities. This is especially important for a business that has no fixed address, but it also allows the Slidin' Thru Slider Truck to go where the market leads him, giving him the opportunity to directly answer his customers' requests. (My last visit was in the office complex that houses Zappos, and its employees were crowded around, enjoying the weather as well as a nice lunch.) Since following him myself on Twitter, I've gotten a couple of "free slider" coupons in my in-box.

Having said that, Guerrero hasn't forgotten the "Business 1.0" concepts of quality and personal service, as well. He is always brightly cheerful & personable as he plies his wares, keeping up a steady patois of friendly banter as he moves from one end of his truck to the other, taking orders and handing out the finished product. He always seems to remember his repeat customers, greeting them warmly and usually by name.

Great service & delicious food at good prices. Talk about a recipe for economic success. This is one local business I hope you'll patronize. And, if you ask nicely, the Slidin' Thru Slider Truck might even come to you.

Slidin' Thru Slider Truck
rolling through the Las Vegas Valley

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