And for the fried chicken-waffle slider — syrup, of course

There's the mac'n'cheese, Philly cheesesteak, lumpia, and musubi slider

Mac'n'cheese, Spicy Philly, and Chicken and Waffles sliders
  • Mac'n'cheese, Spicy Philly, and Chicken and Waffles sliders

They say White Castle invented the slider back in 1921, selling each tiny burger patty on each tiny bun with grilled onions and pickle slice for a nickel. These days, sliders are usually sold three at a time, or in pairs — which is great if you're getting an order to share. But if you're ordering for yourself, I see little reason to eat three mini hamburgers rather than a single, regular sized one.

San Diego Sliders Company

534 Broadway, Chula Vista

San Diego Sliders Company in Chula Vista offers a number of good reasons to go slider. In addition to the classic burger slider, its menu offers more than a dozen slider variants, replacing beef patties with the likes of chipotle salmon, buffalo chicken, and pulled pork (served on a Hawaiian sweet bun).

Somewhere between fast food and fast casual

Somewhere between fast food and fast casual

You may order a pair of each individual slider for six to eight bucks, but the real fun starts when you go for what the counter service restaurant calls the Tour de Sliders: pick any three for $11.99.

San Diego Sliders Company is still working out a permanent sign

San Diego Sliders Company is still working out a permanent sign

After much deliberation, I started with the fried chicken on waffles slider and the spicy Philly — a mini cheesesteak with thinly sliced ribeye, grilled onions, peppers, mushrooms, jalapenos, and melted provolone. Of course the third choice proved the toughest. I thought about trying the classic cheeseburger to get a baseline reading, but then realized I could get more bang for my buck with the mac'n'cheese slider, which takes the cheeseburger and adds bacon, barbecue sauce, and a puck of deep fried mac'n'cheese.

Served on waffles instead of bun, the fried chicken slider didn't have any sauce on it, but when a server brought my order to the table, he left me with a bottle of pancake syrup. The griddle-cooked Philly went down too quickly, and left me wanting more. Fortunately, the mac'n'cheese slider, the largest of the bunch, had enough going on that I forgot all about the others.

Sliders Company sits in the former shopping center site of a place called Center Cuts Steak House, and hasn't entirely worked out its signage and décor. While it resembles a fast food set-up, it's really more fast casual, and really more causal at that, as cooking three distinct sliders can take a few minutes.

All three executed the slider concept fairly well, though I'd say variety is the best reason to visit. On special this day was a Cubano slider, and another featuring lobster. Along with french fries, you may pick up some lumpia and even musubi — the Hawaiian snack of spam tied to a wad of sushi rice with a strip of nori. With so many options, returning to try the whole of the Slider Company's menu remains a distinct possibility.

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This is GREAT food. I eat there four times a week, run between 1-72 miles a week, and have completed 14 marathons on "fuel" supplied by the San Diego Sliders. Usually, I eat six of seven sliders just before the starting gun is fired then sprint a couple hundred yards and vomit. I win every time...every...time...so...eat IT!

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