A restaurant celebrated its grand opening by sliding out free burgers and smiles to UC Berkeley students and community members Saturday.
SliderBar, located near the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Center Street, serves health-conscious miniburgers known as sliders, which are made with organic meat and homemade sauces.
“Berkeley is a great town because it has a good mix of the university and city — it’s a good place to mature our brand,” said Neeraj Dewan, one of the restaurant’s co-owners. “We do things that are more portion-controlled — we use better food, and we’re very conscious. Berkeley is a city that understands (healthy food).”
Dewan and his co-owner, Ashwani Dhwan, originally founded SliderBar in Palo Alto, Calif., with the idea of creating an appealing burger with a healthy twist.
“(Burgers don’t) have to be huge, and they can be hormone- and antibiotic-free,” Dewan said. “We also we wanted to have choices other than beef. We have chicken in our menu, we have mushroom — it’s a real balanced and nutritious meal.”
SliderBar’s Berkeley location is the third in the Bay Area. It joins sister restaurants in Palo Alto and San Francisco and celebrated its grand opening on Saturday, serving its first 1,000 sliders free of charge.
Dewan said the celebration allowed the kitchen to practice cooking large volumes of food and give to the community at the same time.
“(The slider) had a great savory taste,” said Anthony Shultz, who attended the Saturday event. “This was handcrafted, and the burger had a homemade look and taste.”
Nick Englund, a UC Berkeley senior who attended the opening event, enjoyed not only SliderBar’s food but also its location.
“It’s very conveniently located just a block away from campus,” Englund said. “It works for my very hectic lifestyle.”
Phil’s Sliders, a competing restaurant on Shattuck Avenue, is in close proximity with SliderBar. Brian Hopf, a manager of Phil’s, said that he had known that SliderBar was opening in Berkeley.
“We have unbelievable product, great service, and people will ultimately come back to or stay with Phil’s,” Hopf said. “No doubt in my mind. New businesses opening is what keeps this town thriving, and we wish them luck.