The Roadside slider, left, and the Sweet & Lowdown slider at Easy Slider in Deep Ellum.Photographed on Thursday, April 20, 2017.


(Rex C. Curry/Special Contributor)

The Roadside slider, left, and the Sweet & Lowdown slider at Easy Slider in Deep Ellum.Photographed on Thursday, April 20, 2017. (Rex C. Curry/Special Contributor)

Special Contributor

Sitting on the patio at Easy Slider on one of Deep Ellum's busiest blocks, Caroline Perini and Miley Holmes reminisce about starting a food truck business that became a Dallas darling.

"We quit [our jobs] on the same day, didn't tell our families and pulled all of our savings to put a down payment on a truck we found in Grand Prairie," Perini says of Easy Slider's beginnings in 2011.

Easy Slider

"Looking back, it was pretty ballsy."

Six years later, the two reached the ultimate goal for many food truck owners: a real restaurant.

Perini and Holmes are more than business partners; they're friends who met 10 years ago while working at the House of Blues. Perini says they came up with the idea for Easy Slider after falling in love with the food trucks in Austin and noticing that trucks like Jack's Chowhound and Nammi were rolling around in Dallas.

They decided against selling hot dogs. They'd sell adorable, handheld sliders piled with interesting ingredients. Take the Sweet & Lowdown: a burger topped with bacon, goat cheese and ... strawberry jam?

Then came the name. "I will never forget that day," Perini says. "We were at my house. Miley stood up and started acting like she was riding a motorcycle. I asked her what she was doing and she said, 'I got it! Easy Slider! Get it, Easy Rider/Easy Slider?'"

Easy Slider, the restaurant, is located in Deep Ellum. The business also has three food trucks.

Easy Slider, the restaurant, is located in Deep Ellum. The business also has three food trucks.

Rex C. Curry/Special Contributor

Inspired by what Perini calls "bite nights" at her house, many of their unique slider recipes were discovered by experimenting with meat, cheeses, fruit and jams. And for Perini, two ingredients were non-negotiable: They would use never-frozen beef and build their sliders on fresh-baked bread.

Despite shaky hands and nerves, their first shift at the Double Wide in Deep Ellum started strong. The two worked elbow to elbow, saying "yes" to every shift and working multiple lunch, dinner and late-night gigs.

"Those first couple of months were the hardest we've ever worked in our entire lives," Perini says.

The two learned every job necessary: They were chefs, mechanics, marketers, managers, dishwashers and accountants. Holmes says they hustled, working 80 to 100 hours a week with smiles on their faces, in order to get in front of people and grow their business.

A year in, they hired their first employee (aside from friends who worked from time to time) and purchased a second food truck to be able to be in two places at once.

"It was really important to us that it wasn't just another food truck," Perini says. "If you came to the truck for a second time, I wanted to make sure we remembered your name and developed a relationship."

Finally able to look up from the grill, the owners added a third truck to their Easy Slider fleet. They started wondering what was next -- truck No. 4 or a bigger space? A restaurant just felt right, they said.

Perini and Holmes found a location in Deep Ellum in May of 2015 and spent the next year and a half converting the 100-year old space into a modern restaurant with a full menu and bar. The expansive building features personal touches like neon signs similar to those on their trucks. (All three of which still operate daily.)

Easy Slider's loyal customers have already found them in Deep Ellum.

"The first week we were open, I saw one of our regulars from the food truck sitting at the bar, drinking a beer and eating the sliders he's eaten twice a week for the last few years, Holmes says, "and tears welled up in my eyes. I knew this was what we wanted to create."

2701 Main Street, Dallas. Details here.

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