Hall of Fame
What does 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)
My Craver story began about 30 years ago in Arizona. When I first moved to the Phoenix area from Utah, I had never heard of White Castle and had no idea what a Slider was.
Once a year, there used to be a festival held in Fountain hills, which is a community just east of Phoenix. Its claim to fame is having a man-made fountain which shoots water higher than any other fountain in the world. Part of the festival offered the option of purchasing White Castle hamburgers which had been trucked in from the Midwest. Anyone could purchase the burgers right out of the back of these semi-trailers. There were many mid-western transplants in Arizona, so lots of people here knew about Sliders and the demand for them was enormous. This was before the hamburgers were available in the frozen food section at the grocery store. For many people, this was the only way they could satisfy their crave.
Never having has a White Castle burger before, I couldn’t figure out what the big deal was or why they were so popular that they would be trucked all the way to Arizona. To satisfy my curiosity, I had to try one. Then two, then three, and so on (I won’t divulge how many I’ve eaten at one sitting). I was hooked. I looked forward to the festival every year to get my fix. The trucking in of burgers only lasted for a couple more years after that. To my knowledge, the frozen ones were still not in the stores yet. I resigned myself that my craving would go unfulfilled until I could travel somewhere I could get them.
A few years later, I became employed with an airline that included free flights anywhere the airline flew. The airline serves many cities in the Midwest and the east coast. Being a Chicago Cubs fan, I took my first trip to Chicago to watch a game in August of 1988. I looked up Chicago White Castle locations in the phone book and discovered there was one right on the subway (L-train) line from the airport to Wrigley Field (via downtown Chicago). My craving had been reborn!
Even thought I can get frozen Sliders from the grocery store just up the street where I live in Arizona, there is nothing better than going to a White Castle restaurant and getting them hot and fresh right off the grill. So for the past twenty years, I’ve done just that. Three of four times a year, whenever the raving hits, I just get on a flight to Chicago, take the subway from O’Hare airport to the White Castle, eat some Sliders, get back on the subway, go back to the airport and fly home to Phoenix, all in the same day. Of course I usually end up bringing home a Crave Case so the enjoyment lasts a few days longer.
Some people think I am crazy to spend an entire day flying just to get a hamburger. I guess they don’t understand what satisfying a craving is about. I’ve displayed the empty hamburger containers around my cubicle at work as, well, a monument. I can’t believe the number of comments I receive. Some people who know about White Castle think that one has opened here in Arizona and they are disappointed when I tell them that I’ve traveled over 2,800 miles to get these Sliders. I have one co-worker who craves White Castles so much that she comes by just to smell the empty boxes!
(60 Cravers Agree)
Chad Hall, Jeff Wenzel, and Mike Flynn
Our story begins with an invitation to a friend’s birthday party. The party was in Astoria, NY, which is about 1.5 hours north of where we live (just outside of Philadelphia in New Jersey). Jeff and Mike were already planning to go, but I had work that needed to be done that night. However, the thought of getting White Castle after the party was enough to sway me to go (there are no White Castle within an hour of us). So, after the party we hit the White Castle in Astoria, and then decided that one White Castle visit was not enough, and drove down the Jersey coast and visited the Tom’s River location. There, the plan was born: visit and eat at every White Castle in the state of New Jersey in the same day.
A quick check on Whitecastle.com told us that there are 26 different White Castle locations in New Jersey. After a few weeks of planning, armed with a road atlas, 26 pages of directions and a massive craving, we set off on March 1, 2008. Each of us began the journey with a personal goal. Jeff wanted to eat at least one Slider at each of the 26 NJ locations and eat at least 30 combined for the day. Mike wanted to do the same, but with chicken ring sandwiches with cheese. For myself, I wanted to eat two of every menu sandwich and side orders. In order to accomplish my goal, we had to set out early as breakfast is only served during limited hours.
We left the Philly suburbs around 6AM, and our plan was to hit the shore locations first, starting with Tom’s River (1) and working up the coast into the NYC suburbs. We each had a role: Mike was the driver, Jeff was the navigator and I was the stat keeper. Mike and I both sampled White Castle breakfast sandwiches for the first time at Tom’s River and were really impressed by the quality and taste (White Castle is no longer just a late night venture for us anymore). We continued on from Tom’s River to Howell (2) and then to Eatontown (3). Mike decided he wanted to try a White Castle shake, even though it was 8:45 in the morning. Mike couldn’t believe how thick and tasty the White Castle shake was—he said it was almost like drinking soft-serve ice cream, only better. I was intrigued, but it was too early in the day for me and I had to sustain the crave (I had already eaten 14 sandwiches and 3 side items at this point in time).
From Eatontown we headed up to South Amboy (4), and on the way Jeff doubted his crave could last the entire day. Jeff was unaccustomed to eating that much in the morning, but his crave pushed him through, as we visited South Amboy and then up to Metuchen (5). Metuchen became a turning point in my trip. The craving for two of everything was starting to wean, and way too early in the day. I thought I was pushing the crave too hard, too fast, so in what is now called the “Metuchen Moment”, I backed down to one of each menu sandwich and side item, and had a renewed spirit. The crave had fully returned and we were ready to continue.
Over the next hour we visited the two Castles around Rutgers’ campus: New Brunswick (6) and South Plainfield (7) and then we visited one of the two nicest Castles we saw that day: Green Brook (8). Wonderfully laid out, clean as a whistle and with a very friendly staff, Green Brook really stood out as the model for what all White Castles should be. We got lost going from Green Brook to Plainfield (9) and the 13 minute drive turned into 40 minutes. However, the crave was sustaining us and we enjoyed the food at the Plainfield, Union (10), Elizabeth (11), Linden (12), Newark (13) and Irvington (14) locations.
As we reached East Orange (15), the trip changed for Mike. We pulled into the East Orange location, and Mike told us that after 15 chicken ring sandwiches with cheese, a breakfast sandwich, mozzarella sticks, a shake, 14 Castle locations and 10 hours on the road, his crave had been satisfied—he would no longer be eating at every location with us. Almost as if in acknowledgement of Mike’s decision, it started to snow. Jeff’s and my own crave was still strong, so we continued on from East Orange to Orange (116) to the other Newark location (17).
Our next stop was Jersey City (18) where a pleasant surprise awaited us. Earlier in the trip, Jeff had mentioned that he had hoped we saw some different menu items at the different locations, in hopes to find things that we normally wouldn’t be able to get. His wish became reality at the Jersey City location, where White Castle was testing a new pulled pork sandwich. I had to try one, and it was fantastic. The pork was tender, and the sauce was sweet, but not too sweet. A new crave had entered my system, and the crave started to swell in Mike again as he saw the sandwich. Mike decided that if we saw the sandwich again, he was getting one. He didn’t have to wait long as after visiting Union City (19) and North Bergen (20), we found the sandwich again at Little Ferry (21). The crave was back for Mike, as he and I both enjoyed a pulled pork sandwich. The pulled pork sandwich definitely needs to become a permanent menu item at White Castle.
Spirits were high leaving Little Ferry and our craves were strong as ever. After Hasbrouck Heights (22) and Clifton (23), we reached what would become the greatest test of our crave. As we pulled into the Paterson (24) location, we had no idea that we would not see another White Castle for over 1.5 hours. The location was undergoing some remodeling, but it wasn’t White Castle that was the problem. Leaving Paterson, we couldn’t find the street we needed to get onto I-80 and wound up going back and forth around Paterson for 20 minutes. When we finally did get onto I-80, a massive car accident had the road moving at a slow crawl. A 30 minutes drive turned into 90 minutes and although the end of our journey was near, spirits were low.
The crave kept us going, and arriving at Ledgewood (25) was a very happy moment. We traveled on to the final White Castle in New Jersey: Hackettstown (26) and finished off with smiles and good food all around. Jeff had satisfied his crave with the last of the 30 Sliders he ate for the day. I finished with cheese fries (my last side item) and a shake, completing at least one of every menu sandwich and side items. Mike also finished with cheese fries and a shake (his second of the day).
We left Hackettstown with our craves being satisfied and arrive home at 12:38AM on March 2, 2008. In all, we traveled 416.8 miles to all 26 New Jersey location. The trip took 18 hours, 41 minutes; including 6 hours and 12 minutes at the White Castle locations themselves. 82 sandwiches (including breakfast), 12 side items, Danish and 15 beverages were consumed in our journey (almost 21,000 calories). Throughout the entire trip, the rest of the world disappeared and the only thing that we thought and talked about was White Castle—thoughts and opinions on the White Castle location we had just visited, discussions of our crave status, and how to get to the next White Castle location. We could not have made the trip without our massive crave for White Castle.
(3 Cravers Agree)
New Melle, MO
Long ago (around the 1960’s) in a land far away (St. Petersburg, Florida) my mother and I used to go to a little local hamburger place after my piano lesson every Saturday afternoon. It looked like the White Castle restaurant I now know and love today, but it wasn’t, because there are no Florida White Castles, sad to say. Nevertheless, the burgers back then were small and tasty and it was the only time I had ever eaten burgers, since we never ate them at home. My mother was first-generation German and cooked mostly German recipes like Sauerbraten, Wiener schnitzel, Rouladen, etc…not American delicacies like cheese fries or chicken rings.
Fast forward to St. Louis, Missouri during the mid 1970’s when I was attending college on Carbondale, Illinois and was invited to spend a weekend with a friend in St. Louis. He stopped at a White Castle (most curiously, it looked like the hamburger chain from my childhood) and I experienced a sense of deja vu coming over me. I walked in, ordered a couple of burgers and SHAZAM!—I was taken back to the 1960’s with my dear, sweet mother (who is sadly no longer with me now) sharing burgers and happy times, but with one exception. These were so much better! Oh my gosh! (I thought to myself.) These were amazing burgers! I thought back to one of my favorite authors, Thomas Wolfe and his book ‘You Can’t Go Home Again.’ In this instance I had to disagree. I felt transported back home and then some. I was in heaven and I am not even what one would consider a sandwich or hamburger person. With the exception of those Florida burgers, I never ate sandwiches until I was 18 years old. And I never really was much of a lunch person and I don’t much care for bread. Who knew?
But I deviate from my story…From then on I would frequently go to St. Louis during my Southern Illinois University College days to get my “fix” of two Sliders. Well, I ended up settling down in St. Louis, having married that St. Louis friend, and White Castle Sliders quickly became a staple in my weekly menu-planning. However, it goes so much deeper and further than just that.
I was so delighted that this remarkable taste of my childhood had returned to my life that I began having White Castle parties! Naturally, having two little ones, there were some kiddy birthday party celebrations. Once, I even gave a wedding shower there. It had all the trimmings, including decorations and a cake. A little later on, I also had a baby shower there (no kidding). Over the years I have hosted lots of gatherings at White Castle: a party for my friend’s 40th birthday—complete with balloons, paper tablecloths, party hats, favors, presents, cake and ice cream. A group of my closest friends once celebrated another important event at W.C. together. It was a progressive party; we visited five or six places by limousine. I believe we stopped at a country and western dance place that is gone now, the Casa Loma Ballroom, a few places on the St. Louis Riverfront called the Landing, a sleazy place in East St. Louis that I cannot even describe because there might be children reading this, and a kids fun place for their dreamy birthday cake (even thought we were a group of all middle-aged women). However, the party just couldn’t get started without the first stop being White Castle to get the social ball rolling. A real Craver has to start with a bit of the W.C. fare for energy to keep the party going.
One of my best friends and I always ate at the Castle-never anywhere else. Whether it was breakfast, lunch, dinner or in-between-meal snacks, we always met at W.C. Even after she moved far away to California, when she returned for visits, we continued our Castle times together. Of course we included my two boys for some of our “catch-ups”; we knew they would be jealous if they couldn’t share in the special event. Even now I am not sure which was more important, the company or the friendly visit.
Every time I leave town and come back home, my family tradition is that our very first stop has t be the Castle. We just don’t feel like we’re really home without that special routine. Of course, with the way the airlines have cut out their meals, a White Castle meal is the dinner now when we return home.
I have always made it a point to try as many different White Castle locations as possible. I have never kept track, but I am sure I have been to at least twenty different locations and I al always game to try a new one. During my many years of teaching elementary school, the faculty frequently gathered for monthly breakfasts before the day began. Everyone took turns bringing various early morning noshes, from biscuits and gravy, to egg casseroles and cinnamon rolls, to breakfast burritos to quiche. Still, the teachers were always the most excited when they would see me enter with my sacks full of Sliders for 50 or so people. The school was an hour away from the nearest White Castle restaurant but I commuted from St. Louis to New Melle, Missouri, with the precious cargo. This was in the days before the Crave Case too, so you can imagine there were countless sacks. Whatever wasn’t eaten for breakfast was reheated for lunch.
It may be a little known fact to people who do not frequent White Castle as much as my family but many St. Louis White Castle restaurants doll up their lobbies to create a romantic Valentine’s Day scene. I began taking my two young sons, Michael and Kevin, there with me after my husband and I split. Since my kids already loved White Castle, having eaten many a meal there, I was elated when White Castle started their Romantic Valentine’s Day Dinners. Then, I didn’t feel so weird bringing my “young dates” and not having some tall dark handsome fellow to wine and dine me. It could have been just a little odd taking my kids to any other candlelit venue but the friendly workers at W.C. always made my children and me feel like family and I hope that we brightened up their Valentine’s Day shift with our enthusiasm.
We have been Valentining there practically since it began way back in the 80’s (one place even had White Castle chine; I have no idea where they got it). I particularly enjoy the festive streamers, paper tablecloths; candle light, pretzel appetizers, and waiters and waitresses dressed up in elegant prom clothes, from tuxedos to classy, long dresses. Being served by the W.C. waiters and waitresses in all that unique W.C. elegance and ambiance is quite a treat as well. We always made sure to take many photos of us enjoying the festivities to keep as the perfect souvenir. (I must admit a particular thrill comes from watching the looks on some of the couples as they come in all “dolled up”, especially when it is obvious one of the pair didn’t know where he or she was going to dine and what the were in for!) My valentine extravaganzas have grown a little tamer since my boys have gotten older and now do their own thing with their girlfriends. When I now go on Valentine’s Day it is usually with my older, longtime friends but I remain hopeful that one day my boys will feel inclined to join us again with their dates just for old time’s sake. Also, not only is it exciting to dress up on Valentine’s Day and go to White Castle, but I have been known to frequent W.C. late at night after a wedding or two. It is so much fun going there with an elegant bridesmaid dress and possibly a tuxedoed companion, and getting to observe the surprised people faces.
Just when I thought that my White Castle fulfillment could not exceeded, last October absolutely took the icing on the cake, the hot fudge on the ice cream, or the pickles and onions on the Slider. I had always wanted to enter the White Castle Crave Time Cook Off recipe contest, but somehow I always missed the deadline. Well, last year I was determined to do it. After pursuing the many W.C. cook books I own, I realized that coming up with an original W.C. oriented recipe was going to be no easy task. After close scrutiny, it looked like there were no craver-type pancakes. I knew that Sliders with maple syrup wouldn’t go over very well, but perhaps a different kind of pancake could get the judges’ stomachs growling. And then it hit me: what about a potato pancake? I already knew tat the yummy W.C. fries had tide me over many a day and night. I needed to test out my recipe with some hungry people to see if it had what it takes. Who better to try than hungry college kids in a town where there is no White Castle? Quick like a bunny, I took my recipe with me on the road to Columbia, Missouri where my son Kevin and his friends are students. I put them to work in their kitchen and after cooking and tasting some other minor adjustments, the pancakes were pronounced a craving success! Alas, ‘The Latkes Your Crave’ was born and was devoured instantly by the Mizzou gang. I typed up the recipe and sent it off in June of 2007. I decided that no matter what happened with the contest, we all had a terrific time that day creating the dish.
Soon after, much to my shock, amazement, surprise and joy, I received a phone call from the White Castle corporate office, telling me I was a winner. I just couldn’t believe it. I never expected it. But then…the lovely lady said: “one more thing, not only are you a winner, but you are the grand prize winner!” Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather. Could this really be true or was it my son and his friends playing a trick on me, as one of my dear friend suggested? No. It really, really was true! Well, life for a White Castle craver and life-long lover doesn’t get much sweeter or juicier than this. But then it did…
Radio stations called me and interviewed me. Many newspapers and some websites did stories about me (and my dog Talula, who eats them with me when I have a craving these days). There were press releases from papers across the country singing those latkes praises. Now, when somebody googles my name, there are pages and pages about me and my White Castle recipe. I felt like a newsmaker…something I always secretly desired to be. I have a Craver notebook four inches thick now. As the grand prize winner, I received even more wonderful White Castle merchandise that I didn’t yet own, like cups, mugs, a tee shirt and a cap and a scarf. But if that weren’t enough, the home office gave me their biggest prize: a crave case a week for a whole year! (For those of you counting, that is 1,500 Sliders in 365 days. Oh my! Side note: I live part time in Florida and have yet to use one of my coupons though my children and their friends have enjoyed some already. You might also be surprised to know I still manage to keep my girlish figure in spite of my acknowledged cravings.
Since a local radio personality dubbed me the ‘Queen of the Castle’, my friends and family have followed along and that suits me just fine. One friend even gave me a tiara to wear whenever I feel the urge. These days, I am embarking on a new career. Since I retired from teaching, I am taking classes in Art and healing and do many types of artistic endeavors. And since my big win, I have been expressing myself artistically. I have made drawings, collages, paintings, and mixed media pieces—using the White Castle theme. (Of course, I am doing other themes as well…it may sound this way, but I haven’t completely gone over the moon!)
Could anything be better a White Castle enthusiast than to be crowned Grand Prize Recipe Winner? Well, I didn’t think so…until I heard about the White Castle Cravers Hall of Fame. I believe I heard that only one other recipe winner has been honored with the Hall of Fame too. Maybe I could make it two! Yes? No? I am not sure but it is a road I am merrily marching down with a smile on my face, a kick in my step, a crown on my head, and a Slider in my hand!
(5 Cravers Agree)
Wally Palmer for all Columbus North High School Alumni
Siloam Springs, AR
My nomination for the Cravers Hall of Fame is the entire Columbus North High School Alumni.
North High School is located only one block from the White Castle location on Arcadia Ave. This White Castle location was originally built in 1929 and the school was built five years previous, in 1924. Everyone who ever attended North High School from 1929 to 1979 grew up on White Castle. That number of White Castle Sliders cannot be accurately established for that fifty-year period, however, the Polar Bear Alumni Association sponsors an event on the Fourth of July each year known as “North on the Fourth.” North on the Fourth was established in 1991, and at that time we all agreed that White Castles should be part of the event. In the 17 years that this event has taken place we have consumed 1,000 to 1,200 White Castles each year. If you just count that amount, 17 days’ consumption of Sliders equals over 20,000. I doubt that any other event in the country can claim 20,000 White Castles consumed in 17 days.
These Sliders were all ordered from the Arcadia White Castle location and probably can be verified through them. I do know that as a result of North on the Fourth, July is always their biggest month. Now you know why…
(8 Cravers Agree)
I had my first White Castle Slider when I was about six years old with my uncle in 1949 at a location located at Gratiot and 8 Mile Road in East Point, Michigan. I lived in a different city so only went to the Castle when I visited my uncle. I liked them so much that when I was able to drive, I drove myself, as there wasn’t a location in our town. At one time I even looked into if I could open a store in my town.
I am 65 now and still drive half an hour to get the hamburgers I like best of all. We have a drive thru only location in Port Huron, Michigan but it’s not the same to me as sitting down to eat a sack full in the store.
All of my family knows how much I crave these hamburgers that on my 40th birthday my nephew had to go by that store, so he brought me 40 Sliders!
On my 50th birthday my wife asked where I wanted to go to eat and I said “White Castle of course” and she said “that’s not very special for your 50th birthday.” I insisted, so that is where just our family of four went. What I didn’t know was she had already contacted the store located on 23 mile road in Chesterfield Township, Michigan and had sent invitations to friends and family to meet there. The family had decorated the place and they all hid (including the staff) and jumped out and yelled “Surprise!” The staff made me an employee name tag, loaned me an apron and a White Castle hat to be the special employee of the day.
The event made such an impression on the staff that one year later, almost to the day, we just happened to stop in there again and the one gal who waited on us said "are you the one who had a birthday party last year?
(1 Cravers Agree)
Grand Rapids, MI
I believe my story about craving those delicious little sandwiches is unique. I am a teacher of troubled youth. I also like to travel. I found that with my degree in education and my love of working with troubled youth I could go practically and get a job. One very hot Michigan morning I decided I had had enough of the sweltering heat and packed up and moved to Alaska. I loved the state but found that nobody has heard of White Castle and no frozen product was available in the grocery stores. I was very sad.
About a year into my Alaska adventure I developed a severe tooth problem that resulted in a trip to the dentist. The dentist needed to administer a sedative while he worked on my very sore mouth. As I came out of my medicine induced sleep I noticed the doctor and nurse were laughing. They immediately asked me what a White Castle is. They indicated that all through the surgery (in my sleep) I was asking for White Castles. I promptly explained what they were. After that I have been intensely teased by my dentist. Oddly enough about a year later the dentist told me about his trip to Detroit and his new love for the White Castle burger.
That’s my story and I am sticking to it!
(36 Cravers Agree)
So how far will you go for White Castle Sliders? I never asked myself that question until I moved nearly seven hours away from the nearest location. I spent nearly six years in the Detroit area, gnawing down Sliders whenever I had the chance. But then I moved, got divorced and found myself hundreds of miles away from a White Castle. Needless to say, my life was kind of ruined. But I had a plan.
During one particular crave attack I called my uncle in Belleville and asked him to pick me up a crave case and meet me at the halfway point — four hours away from each one of us. At first he hesitated, but because I’m his favorite nephew he finally buckled (it could have been because I was crying on the other end of the line).
So the run started. I drove four hours to Gaylord from Marquette, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula. My uncle drove the other four. We met in a Big Boy parking lot, choosing not to enter as he carefully pulled the case out of the back of his car and handed it to me. Instantly the smell of the burgers wafted to my nostrils and sent my mouth salivating. I ate one before I even got back to the car, thrusting the money for the burgers and to cover my uncle’s gas consumption into his hand before I jumped in the driver’s seat and tore off.
I had to be at work in five hours and there were 29 more Sliders to eat. Thankfully I had plenty of time and food to make it all work out. Now, I just have to figure out how to convince another family member that they love me enough to put 480 miles on their car to bring me some White Castle Sliders.
(15 Cravers Agree)
Since 1985 Jimmy’s Bar and Lounge has been featuring a free White Castle Sunday brunch. On the side you will find pickles, peppers, tomatoes and occasionally onion chips. Over the past 23 years, we have served over 120,000 free White Castles. We have a standing order of 110 Sliders every Sunday at Castle No. 29, where the staff is always very friendly and give excellent service!
(2 Cravers Agree)
My first experience with White Castle was in 1934 when I was five years old. They sold for 5 cents and sometimes on weekends, with a coupon you could get six for quarter.
I have taken them to Texas for a family get together with my cousin. I have taken them to San Diego when I visit my sister and her family. Six dozen doesn’t go far. The highest was when my first grandchild was born in Germany. My wife, daughter, son and I purchased six dozen to carry on the plan halfway across the Atlantic the children and I was hungry.
Needless to say we opened the box and had some Sliders. Sometimes it’s hard for the children to believe that White Castle served eggs during the war as some days meat was unavailable.