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.
(3 Cravers Agree)
Carmine Anthonio Daniele
Anyone who is reading about my very long-standing craving of White Castle quite possibly was not born when it began.
My Crave first began in 1933 when I was eight years old. I remember the White Castle located at the corner of Sixth and Broadway in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. The old Fenwick Health Club was a half block from this White Castle. The Fenwick would allow young boys to swim two evenings a week. We did not have much money so my friends and I welcomed the opportunity to swim for free.
After swimming, my young friends and I would put together the few nickels we had and walk to the White Castle. At that time, hamburgers were five cents or six for a quarter with a coupon. This weekly ritual continued for many years until the beginning of World War II on December 7, 1941, which happened to be my sixteenth birthday.
At age 17, I joined the U.S. Navy. After my training I was assigned to the USS Starlight A. P. 175 and fought in many battles in the South Pacific. After two years overseas, I was sent back to the U.S. and I got a thirty-day leave.
Upon my arrival back in Cincinnati, I remember clearly taking a cab home. The first place I stopped, to fulfill my two-year craving, was that very same White Castle at the corner of Sixth and Broadway that I had enjoyed as a boy. My craving continues to this day. I am retired from the AAA of Cincinnati now and I eat lunch out almost every weekday. Usually, twice a week it is at White Castle.
(6 Cravers Agree)
Alta Loma, CA
Although I have lived in California since 1978, I was born in Chicago in 1944. I grew up near the White Castle on 111th and State Street in a section called Roseland. When my family would “go out for dinner,” it was always to the White Castle.
Whenever I had some money, I would ride my Schwinn Hornet® to White Castle for Sliders® and a Coke®. Sometimes I would get a coupon for ten burgers for only $1.00 and I’d eat them all. That White Castle is no longer there, but to this day I can tell you where virtually every White Castle is on the south side of Chicago and the South suburbs.
I have the good fortune of traveling to Chicago on business several times a year and always stop at the White Castle near O’Hare Airport on Manheim Road in Schiller Park. My mom still lives near a White Castle in Tinley Park and my sister lives near a White Castle in Oak Forest. I always look forward to visiting them – my mom, sister and White Castle (sometimes not necessarily in that order).
Everyone at the company I work for (which is headquartered in Chicago) knows I love White Castles. Last summer, at a company sales meeting luncheon, I was honored with a White Castle buffet. One of the Chicago employees actually went to the closest White Castle and bought 150 hamburgers for our company lunch. They know I am a purist – NO CHEESEBURGERS PLEASE!
I remember when they tore down my old Chicago White Castle. Must have been about 1980. It was one of the old-style buildings with stained glass “White Castle” windows. I’ve always collected antiques and always wanted one of those windows, but how in the world could I ever get one? Then along came eBay®!
About two years ago, there was actually one for sale and there was no way anyone else was going to get that window. It is one of my most prized possessions. I’ve also gotten several original china coffee mugs, a saucer and a plate too. Still looking for a creamer and silverware!
(11 Cravers Agree)
Captain Herbert M. Goetz, CHC, USN (Ret.)
Marines are away from home for long periods of time with little or no reminders of the familiar, short of those precious letters from mom and dad, family members or loved ones and loneliness sets in. The thoughtfulness of others, however, suggests that someone really does care about what the troops are doing for our country.
In Beirut, we had just finished a long and grueling establishment of the perimeter, which included digging “fox holes,” running barbed wire and getting the gun placements in position, when the word was passed, “The Castles are here!”
Here they were, box after box of White Castle hamburgers. There must have been thousands (at least 15 for each of the 300 Marines) taken to the USS Nashville LPD 13, our support ship docked off shore, and then flown to the “beach.” Sure enough, the White Castles were brought frozen from the states, defrosted and heated in the many microwave ovens aboard ship and then transported by helicopter to the awaiting hungry Marines. What a day!
It was “chow-call.” Every Marine and Sailor stopped what he was doing and joined the rapidly growing line for his share of an American touch of home. What would have been just another day of anxiousness and tension in a foreign land became a special day for these guys serving our country and being remembered by just a small act of kindness covered with onions, mustard and a pickle. I was there and had my share!
(4 Cravers Agree)
Ray and Sandy Hart
I was eight months pregnant with my second child and it was 1:00 a.m. Ray used to sense that I was awake, especially when he started worrying about me going into labor. He also suffered sympathy pains with me, calling from work and asking me about a sudden pain to compare.
Anyway, I had an unbearable craving for White Castle hamburgers. He rolled over and asked me what was wrong and I told him. The next thing I know, he’s up pulling his clothes on to go. I protested, but he kissed me, insisted that if I had a craving, he would take care of it. He drove off to get the burgers.
We had an old car that did not show the gas level and he ran out of gas. He got out walking, not in the direction of home, but toward White Castle. A policeman stopped to ask what was wrong and he started to explain the situation with, “My wife is eight months pregnant and wants White Castles and…” The officer never let him finish. He let him know he understood and took him to White Castle and then to the gas station, then back to the car.
Those were the best White Castles I ever had, because of the romance. You may think that Ray may have had a matching craving because he did (and does) love them, but I know he did it for me by the years that followed! I think it was that walk toward White Castle that cold January night instead of heading home that made the difference.
Ray always joked that he treated me like a queen and took me to White Castle! I have no argument with that. After thirty-seven years of marriage and a lot of romantic moments, that’s still my favorite!
(9 Cravers Agree)
Jerry Kaltenbach, Brian, Vasili Trikoupis
Columbus, OH, Los Angeles, CA,
We woke on a cold morning (18 degrees) and got dressed to go to the airport for our spring break trip to St. Marten in the Caribbean. Since the spring break excitement was running wild, we decided to wear shorts and Hawaiian shirts to the airport, despite the cold, in order to keep our momentum up. But the shirts were merely secondary to our main goal for our travel.
Ever since White Castle introduced the Crave Case and we brought one home for a football game, we all knew we had to do something fun with them. The sturdiness of the case, its looks and especially the little luggage tag logo on them gave us an idea. So over the next month or so (and a few football games later), we collected a Crave Case each and our plan was set: Use the Crave Case as carry-on luggage for our trip.
So the night before we left, we wrote our own names and addresses in the luggage tag area of the Crave Case and loaded them with CD players, sunglasses, magazines and the like before leaving for the airport at 6:00 a.m. The response was immediate. On the shuttle to the airport, not three minutes after our first contact with other people, a lady said, “So what’s with the Crave Case… are there burgers in there?” The response continued from practically everyone we came into contact with.
A group of probably 200 spring-breakers were in line to check in for a charter flight to Cancun when we got there. They were all in jeans and sweatshirts, in stroll the three of us in shorts, Hawaiian shirts, duffel bags…and our Crave Cases. All the spring-breakers started laughing and asking for Sliders®. We tried as hard as possible to use the Crave Case in every situation in order to properly pay tribute. I kept all of our flight information in the case, so when asked by the clerk, I slapped the case on the counter and opened it to produce our tickets. Brian was randomly picked by airport security to have his carry-on luggage inspected. One security officer asked why we didn’t bring some burgers for him; the officer that searched the case had Brian open it and said, “I really just wanted to see what you had in there.”
We garnered a lot of attention because of our Crave Cases. We got a barrage of questions; usually, people wanted to know if we actually had burgers in there. We frequently opened the case for people to reveal our typical carry-on fare and prove that we had eaten the burgers prior to our travel. We had a layover in Philadelphia, where there are no White Castles, and we had a whole new barrage of questions at the Philadelphia airport. “What is White Castle?” “What is a Crave Case?” “I’m from Columbus and haven’t had a Slider® in years. Do they have them here?” “Why are you carrying a cardboard box?” We even had some attractive flight attendants asking about them, so that worked in our favor!
But, the Crave Case is a very effective and sensible carry-on. It easily fits in the overhead bins or under the seat in front of you. It’s sturdy enough to carry all of your needs and it is incredibly priced. Especially since, when you buy a lightweight, sturdy, spacious carry-on attach, you also get 30 steam-grilled burgers as a bonus!
(3 Cravers Agree)
Sitting on a corner only a few blocks from my home was the castle of my dreams, White Castle. The little delicacies cost five cents and we dined there about twice a month. This castle seated six people and many times we ate standing at the window, enjoying the unique taste and watching the traffic.
On the next block was our favorite movie theatre. My friend and I went there each Saturday afternoon. One day, we decided to sneak in some White Castles. We brought a brown bag from home to disguise our lunch.
Well, the big shot took our tickets that day and said, “What’s in the bag girls?” We were only about 10 years old and this frightened us half to death. I immediately lied and said, “We bought some SOS pads to clean the pots and pans when we get home.” The SOS pads were about the size of our bag. Quick thinking on my part! He allowed the lie to stand and motioned us in. WE DID IT! WE SMUGGLED THE LITTLE BURGERS INTO THE THEATRE!
We were so afraid that he would check on us, so we tore off a bite of the burger and dipped our hand into the popcorn box as though that was all we were eating. That way we wouldn’t be suspected of any theatre felony. That was the way we ate our lunch that day, with our hearts beating far too fast for our own comfort.
If we had been apprehended for our misdeed, we may have lost the opportunity to ever come back to see Tarzan and Jane. That was taking a chance, a big chance. Were the White Castles worth the risk? Of course they were. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I am now 60 years old and dine at my favorite Castle once a week.
(8 Cravers Agree)
When I was a boy, about 10 years old, talk was coming up about the 1972 Olympics. Like any young kid growing up in sports-crazy Indiana, I spent most of my free time playing one sport or another. Plus, White Castle had become a pretty important part of my life.
When my kinfolk from Kentucky would come up to visit, they’d order 30-40 White Castle burgers. I loved those times – all the White Castles a little guy could eat! But, being 10 years old, I had to plan a way to get them on my own. So I organized a White Castle Derby.
My house was four or five miles from the nearest White Castle. My friends and I would race our bikes from our neighborhood to White Castle and the winner could order what he liked (usually four or five hamburgers, a shake and some fries). The rest of the field would pick up the tab. We would use the $2 to $3 we got for allowance money or for cutting the grass to pay for the winner’s meal.
The races got so intense, the 12 to 14-year-old boys started to enter the derby. The field was sometimes up to twenty bikes strong. The cooks at White Castle soon knew all about us and the White Castle Derby. The prestige with being the first one through that White Castle door and having the waitress bring you those five White Castles – no, make that four double hamburgers and fries and a shake!
Well, I didn’t mind the bigger boys racing in the derby because they had more money (at least $5, maybe even $6). I still usually won. That great White Castle taste kept my competitive feet turning those pedals.
We raced the White Castle Derby until we were 17 or 18 years old, then I went off to the Air Force. I am now 41 years old, but you better not race me to a White Castle, unless you’re willing to pay!
(2 Cravers Agree)
Some of the best memories I have of being a young boy are the times I spent with my parents in the parking lot of that cute, little, castle-shaped building that was the brightest of white. A place you could see from what seemed like miles away. They called this fantastic place White Castle.
I remember getting so excited when it was bedtime and my sister and I were sullen with the anticipation of sleep when my parents would say “Hey, who wants to go to White Castle?!” Somehow, this simple gesture of getting out of going to bed and being able to go for a ride in the car with our pajamas on, created this kind of surreal, warm, loving and fun-filled adventure that words don’t do justice trying to explain. When I was young, I knew these moments were special; however, not as much as I do now.
Today, I am a 34-year-old male who is in better shape then I have ever been in my life. I work out five to six days a week and I take great caution to watch what kinds of foods I allow to fuel my machine. This is why most people fall out of their chairs when I tell them that the only food I will indulge in (aside from my normal dietary intake) is White Castle.
They cannot believe that of all the food choices I could indulge in, I choose White Castle. I explain to them that I know White Castle uses only the freshest ingredients and that their burgers are actually steamed on a bed of onions, not fried. Briefly, I explain how White Castle makes their own bread and ships it frozen, that the burgers have holes for quick cooking and how the steam from the onions cooks the burger and so on. It should be obvious to everyone that White Castle is not just another run-of-the-mill fast-food joint. To me, it is an experience that has captured my heart and soul and has been passed down in my family from generation to generation.
Even today when I say to my girlfriend, “Let’s make a Castle run,” I still get that giddy, wholesome and warm feeling in my heart. It is extra special to me today because my parents have both passed on. Every Saturday night when my girlfriend and I hit the road for our late-night snack of Castles, I feel that my parents are there with us enjoying the flavor that we all so much loved together.
These adventures are experiences that I still crave today and will for the rest of my life. There is just something special in those two little words, White Castle, that packs a tremendously powerful anticipatory taste punch that only White Castle patrons can understand. I am sure, that for many of us, visiting a White Castle late at night is a deeply moving experience. One that we can’t quite understand, yet makes everyone involved feel good about craving the flavor they savor.
(229 Cravers Agree)
Father John Stavropoulos
When I was the pastor of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Columbus, Ohio, on Easter Sunday night (every year) after having fasted from meat for 40 days, a group of my parishioners and I would leave the resurrection service, which ended at 2:30 a.m. We’d immediately head down the street to White Castle and we would break the 40-day meat fast.
Now, I am not talking about a few people. There were at least 35 to 40 cars in the drive-thru. So close to 200 people would crave Sliders® (normally Greeks eat lamb on that night), but we found that Sliders® were quick, easy, tasty and available. Each year for three years the good word got out that Father John was leading the caravan to White Castle.
(3 Cravers Agree)
Karen Wahlstrom and Paul Nelson
Apple Valley, MN
I work at the Minnesota Zoo and for the last ten years or so, I have always worked on Mother’s Day. Also working on that day is one of our Sunday volunteers named Paul Nelson. Paul has been at the zoo for twenty years (since it opened) and he was just nominated for “Volunteer of the Year.”
A number of years ago, Paul and I were discussing White Castle hamburgers. I found out he was an avid fan and consumer of White Castle Sliders® and actually knew quite a bit about them. Impressed with his knowledge and enthusiasm, I suggested that we celebrate Mother’s Day by eating White Castle burgers.
We have a lot of workers in my area of the zoo that are temporary, some from Wisconsin. Not realizing that White Castles are not found in Wisconsin, we were faced with teaching our fellow employees (cheese-heads) from Wisconsin about White Castle hamburgers. This proved to not be easy, but in the process, we realized that part of our Mother’s Day tradition may include sharing our White Castle Sliders® with other, less fortunate people – non-Cravers!
Over the years, we have discussed your company and even viewed your website. It is impressive! We have kept up our Mother’s Day tradition and this Christmas, Paul even located and gave me as a Christmas gift from the volunteers a White Castle recipe book. I was delighted and felt that it was a supreme find on Paul’s part.