A birthday doesn't pass that I don't think about Mr. Wright.
You see when I was a little girl, every New Years Eve (also my bday) my family ate dinner at O'Malley's. The restaurant was located under a spanning bridge on the outskirts of the city and boasted green vinyl chairs with round wooden tables - black and white photographs of local boxers adorned its dark brown walls. An unlikely birthday choice for a little girl, O'Malley's was an establishment with good food, diner sized portions and where they always made us feel like family!
Upon being seated my parents ordered Crab Imperial and a Manhattan from the bar - I remember strategically positioning myself amongst my siblings so I was guaranteed the maraschino cherries from their drinks! (To this day...these beauties below...soaked in whiskey and vermouth elicit fond memories of my childhood!)
For the kids...it was cheeseburgers with a heaping side of chips! Dessert (following the awkward employee rendition of happy birthday) ...was a gooey chocolate brownie with frosty Shirley Temples.
I recall feeling "very adult" while sipping on my birthday fizz...
Mr. Wright was an old man who dined at O'Malley's every-single-night. A widowed war veteran who lived across the street from the restaurant, Mr. Wright would sit at his table slurp clams, drink whiskey and flirt with the wait staff. An acquaintance of my grandparents, Mr. Wright was a fixture who year after year remembered my family and would come over to say hello and wish us well in the coming year.
I remember the New Years Eve we arrived at the restaurant and Mr. Wright's table was all set ...a RESERVED sign on top ...but empty.
That was a sad birthday.
But this year we are not sad.
O'Malley's no longer exists ~ it closed its doors long ago and I haven't been back to the area in years. In the spirit of Mr. Wright and my fond memories of New Years as a child - we decided to forgo the traditional Standing Rib Roast and instead make these delicious 85/15 ground beef sliders all hot and smothered with cheese! A fun, economical treat - the toppings are endless and only limited by your own imagination!
Add this slider recipe to your arsenal and be sure to pull it out the next time -you just gotta have a burger!
Beef Slider Burgers, recipe adapted over time, *yields 20 sliders
2 pounds ground beef, we used 85/15
1/2 small-medium onion, very finely diced or grated (if you do not like onion in your burgers, substitute 1 tablespoon Onion Powder)
2 teaspoons Garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional but gives it just a little extra something)
*Pepperidge Farm small dinner rolls make the perfect slider bun!
*We topped our sliders with either one slice White American Cheese or a bit of Mild Crumbled Blue Cheese...some people chose both!
Mix all ingredients together until just incorporated. Do not over work the mixture. Form into 2 1/2-3 inch round flattened circles and place on a plate. Put prepared slider burgers in the refrigerator to set (ours sat for 4 hours...could be longer or shorter depending on your time).
Preheat oven to 350.
Heat 2 T. butter in a cast iron skillet and cook burgers over medium-high heat about 2-3 minutes per side - or until nicely browned. Transfer burgers to a pan and finish cooking in the oven about 5-6 minutes.
Top with your favorite cheese, turn on broiler and watch until cheese is just melted!
Enjoy with your toppings of choice!