Legendary mash-ups of cheap eats often have late-night cult followings. In Rochester, New York, locals go nuts for the humbly named Garbage Plate, a pile of potatoes, baked beans, and hot dogs (or a cheeseburger) doused in sauce. In Cincinnati, Ohio, restaurants specialize in the city’s namesake chili-over-spaghetti. Establishments in St. Louis, Missouri, are just as greasy in their approach to midnight munchies, but no less grand. St. Louisans know their signature Franken-feast as “The Slinger,” a hodgepodge of hash browns, over-easy eggs, and sausage patties topped with a ladle of chili, American cheese, and a smattering of raw onions. The decadent meal is typically served with a side of toast.
Where the combination first began is lost to history, though a few local joints claim to have made the original version. Regardless, the hulking portion of potato, meat, chili, egg, cheese, and bread is now an integral part of St. Louis culture. Breakfast joints and 24-hour greasy spoons around the city get creative with the dish, slinging upscale, modern, and classic renditions. Restaurants allow patrons to customize their eggs and choice of meat, and some offer increasingly decadent upgrades to the standard order (think French toast or biscuits instead of regular toast). One cook at a 24-hour diner in Chicago also whips up Slingers, an average of about 75 to 80 per night, by his estimation. Rather than feature sausage, he uses two cheeseburger patties. When asked if he eats the dish, the short-order cook responded, “Oh no, I’m not crazy.”
Where to Try It
Eat-Rite Diner622 Chouteau Ave, St. Louis, Missouri, 63102, United States
This diner has been serving the same Slinger for decades: whole hog sausage, over-easy eggs, and hash browns covered with chili, American cheese, and raw yellow onions.
Despite being outside St. Louis, this 24-hour eatery is well-known for serving a double cheeseburger patty Slinger. Finishing one earns you a certificate.