Hall of Fame

What do a paperboy, a pinup girl tattoo and a marathon runner have in common? Nothing. Besides our Hall of Fame.

We’ve had 7,645 people try for the Hall since 2001. But only 170 have been inducted. Read the unbelievable stories that got them in.

2002 Inductees

Jim Babjak and Bob Banta

(182 Cravers Agree)

Jim Babjak and Bob Banta

Fort Collins, CO

My best friend Jim Babjak and I wrote a song called “White Castle Blues” in 1977. As luck would have it, Jim went on to become the lead guitarist for the rock group the Smithereens. In 1986, the song appeared on the band’s first album, “Especially for You.” The album sold more than 500,000 copies and I am the proud owner of a gold record for my contribution to White Castle lore.

As if that weren’t enough, Jim and I (along with Jim’s wife Betty and my brother Mike) traveled cross-country in 1980 and stopped by the White Castle headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. Since our visit was unannounced, the receptionist called Bob Goldberg in the marketing department, who proceeded to give us a grand tour of the facility and treat us to lunch at the White Castle cafeteria at HQ. An article about our visit appeared in the White Castle newsletter and Bob Goldberg was good enough to send us copies. We saw Bob two years later at “White Castle Days” in Fountain Hills, Arizona, and shared our joyful memories of that visit.

Based on “White Castle Blues” and our golden memories of HQ, I not only nominate myself for the CHOF, but also my good buddy Jim Babjak.

John A. Cather

(10 Cravers Agree)

John A. Cather

Glen Ellyn, IL

When I was a kid – I’m 73 now – I lived three blocks away from a White Castle in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago. We used to walk over there and buy a sack for a nickel apiece. The Chicago Tribune would sometimes have coupons for special offers and we always took advantage of that. This was during the Depression and a meal of White Castle hamburgers saved us from starvation frequently.

I never lost my appetite for White Castle hamburgers. As an adult, I was fortunate enough to frequent a White Castle near my workplace in Berwyn/Cicero, Illinois. When I changed jobs, I felt bad because there was no White Castle near our home in Glen Ellyn. But before long, I was pleasantly surprised when a White Castle was built not too far away in Lombard.

After starting my new job, I would stop occasionally and buy 30-50 White Castle hamburgers for a White Castle party at work. At one of these events, I was able to consume 11 White Castle hamburgers in one sitting (not bad for a skinny guy). I developed quite a reputation for being a White Castle aficionado, which was all right because the company president was one too.

When I retired in 1993, my fellow employees gave me a memory album with a White Castle theme, as well as other White Castle mementos and gift certificates. What a reputation I had! And still have!

To this day, I crave White Castle hamburgers. I received $25 in White Castle gift certificates for Christmas this year from my son. I can identify 16 White Castles that I have been to in the Chicago area and one in St. Louis. I frequent the Lombard restaurant most often. But at least twice a month I travel 45 miles round trip to Hoffman Estates to eat White Castle hamburgers with a fellow retiree. We each usually have five and a beverage. No cheese; I’m a purist. No mustard or ketchup either, those would hide the unique flavor. I do have extra pickles, though, because I remember them being loaded with pickles back at 79th and Essex when I was a kid. That’s where it all started. And they haven’t changed.

Gabrielle and Stefan Farrenkopf

(10 Cravers Agree)

Gabrielle and Stefan Farrenkopf

Gahanna, OH

My husband Stefan and I dated through college – each living at home with our parents and working full-time to pay for tuition and save up money. We always joked about how our idea of a big night out on the town was going to White Castle.

Just after my Stefan graduated and began his teaching career (we were both still living with our parents), he called me and said to get dressed up for a special night out.

He showed up in a limo, dressed in his best suit. Much to my surprise, the driver took us straight to White Castle. Stefan escorted me into the restaurant, spread out a linen table cloth, pulled out a vase of flowers and went up to order.

When he returned to the table, he passed out the food, leaving one burger box in the middle of the table. After we ate, he handed the box to me. I found an engagement ring inside.

Of course, I said yes and the whole restaurant, including the employees, went wild! We’ve been married for more than 11 years – and we still love White Castle burgers.

Steven Luch and Nips the Pig

(242 Cravers Agree)

Steven Luch and Nips the Pig

Detroit, MI

It is a pleasure for me to pass on to you a story of total dedication straight from Detroit. I am sure that you guys have heard all types of stories of true supporters, but you must hear mine.

First, I have a White Castle tattoo on my left arm. This is no drawn-on or fake tattoo; I will wear this tattoo proudly for the rest of my life. Sometimes the tattoo even brings me a free burger or two when I eat at White Castle – sometimes that’s five days a week!

Also, recently I have started throwing get-togethers in the Detroit area where we place orders for 500 White Castle hamburgers to accommodate the partygoers. For one of the get-togethers, I had the White Castle logo printed on the sleeves of more than 300 T-shirts!

For last New Year’s, we had another 500-burger get-together. After the party, my potbellied pig – Nips the Pig – enjoyed scavenging for any half-eaten or full burgers left. Nips the Pig has also been eating White Castle for her entire life. She’s always “giving paw” or “shaking” for a White Castle clam strip.

Anyway, I could babble on and on about how many White Castles I have purchased and how much advertising I have helped with. But if you are looking for a good marketing idea, remember Nips the Potbellied Pig and Steve from Detroit with the White Castle tattoo!

I am down with the WC ‘til I’m in the ground!

Craig Prudian

(21 Cravers Agree)

Craig Prudian

Willowbrook, IL

Working in the railroad supply industry, we often have a need to do field tests across our country’s rails. While testing in Indiana one morning, one of our engineers was assigned to bring the donuts for the day. Well, he got the Crave and brought his own brand of delicacies – Sliders® by the sack!

This went over so well that we took up a collection the next year to honor this momentous event. When all the Sliders were bought and eaten, we found that we had an embarrassing amount of money left over. We donated that amount to a local charity and so was born our annual Slider Charity Breakfast Boo-Fay.

For 14 years, we’ve reenacted this event at work and this year we purchased 2,500 Sliders from our local White Castle in Countryside, IL. Of course, they were hot and ready for our 7:00 a.m. festivities!

This time, the extra money we collected totaled almost $6,000, which went to a needy charity in our area.

Over the years, we’ve consumed more than 20,000 Sliders and have collected about $40,000 for donation to charities!

The Clifton Adult Delinquent Society

(37 Cravers Agree)

The Clifton Adult Delinquent Society

Clifton, NJ

We are a group of eight men who make up the CADS! The Clifton Adult Delinquent Society.

On the corner of Main Street and Piaget Avenue in Clifton, New Jersey, resides OUR White Castle. Since the late 1950s, it has been our Mecca. Even though we now live on Long Island, in Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland and New Jersey, the Castle is a beacon that still calls to us with its siren song. We are Class of 1962 graduates of Clifton High School and the following are examples of our loyalty, our devotion and therefore the reasons we should be inducted – as a group – into the Craver’s Hall of Fame.

1. We have stationery (for internal use only, of course). It bears the Clifton High School colors (maroon and gray), but with homage to the White Castle tower.

2. Some years ago, Our Castle was torn down and rebuilt. We each own and keep a piece of the original foundation under glass.

3. A few years ago the CADS made a pilgrimage to Milwaukee and Chicago to see baseball played at Brewer’s Field and Wrigley Field. As we approached Wrigley, there on our left was a White Castle! We ordered our bus driver to pull in.

4. Five of the CADS and three CADETTES (our wives) play golf. Those eight, plus all other senior CAD personnel, possess logoed hats, shirts, golf towels, etc.

5. Today, there are 18 CADLINGS (kids) and it is not like the old days. They all use the “new math” – dollars and cents. In our day, we would turn to Huey and ask, “How much money do you have?” He would empty his pockets, stare at the change in his hand and say, “Six White Castles!”

6. On Friday the 13th, July 2001, the four most flagrant CADS golf addicts engaged in a trip down our personal dining memory lane. Without boring you, the main course of our progressive hometown dining experience was two dozen Castles with extra onions and four large orange sodas at our White Castle at Main and Piaget. We each closed our eyes and, for a moment, it was 1962 all over again.

7. Two of our crew (Coot and Huey) were members of the Clifton Cross-Country team. Practice consisted of two laps of the course (approximately 1 1/4 miles each), passing the White Castle each time. Many were the days when our two finest would drop off during lap one, scarf up a half dozen and finish lap two with the team!

We could go on, and we probably will, but right at this moment, we are laughing too hard at these memories…

OK, it’s later now and so we continue. Each summer we gather to renew old memories and make some new ones. Nearly always is White Castle in the midst of this annual reunion.

We know this entreaty is a bit long, but as you can see, we adopted you long before the Hall of Fame was created. We have always craved you! Won’t you please crave the CADS for induction and elevate our group to this highest level of culinary membership?

Continually Craving,

The Clifton Adult Delinquent Society:
Richard “Coot” Cattani, Sr. Executive, Culinary Affairs
Kenneth “Mick” Donnelly, Art Direction/Historian
Dr. Jeffrey “Grotmo” Grotsky, Chairman, Education Committee
Robert “Fax-man” Havasy, Director of Communications
Thomas “Emmett” Jordan, Hospitality & Accommodations Manager
Bill “Lips” Lemke, Music Director
Michael “Long Putts” Libin, Golf & Recreation Director
Thomas “Huey” Menegus, Manager, Lost & Found
ED. Miedema, Chief, Visual Arts
Dennis “Eel” Podolack, Director, Adult Entertainment Activities

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