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.

2010 Inductees

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(11 Cravers Agree)

Lester Talcott

Crystal Lake, IL



It was 1940 and I was 16 years old, a friend told me that White Castle was going to be conducting job interviews that upcoming Saturday morning. WOW! Who wouldn’t want to work for White Castle?

That Saturday morning I arrived about 8:30 a.m. and was told to get in line outside but to not block the door. I was about fifth in line which quickly grew to about forty people. We were addressed outside by a Mr. Bill Smith, supervisor. He advised what the job was to be all about, besides cooking hamburgers, neatness, politeness, quickness and cleanliness. There were 8-hour shifts. Mr. Smith conducted one-on-one interviews. When he was done it was just five of us remaining. The supervisor told us to report to a White Castle owned building at 74th Vincense Avenue in Chicago at 8:00 a.m. the following Monday for further instructions.

I was very excited! It was known on the street that it was very difficult to obtain employment at White Castle as they were very choosy about who they hired. Monday morning myself and several other lads reported for instructions. We were taught how to cook Sliders the “White Castle way”, how to make coffee by the urn, how to slice the onions and how to slice the buns. In those days we did it all by hand. As you can imagine we had to take turns on the onions. We were given explicit instructions on the cleanliness of our Castle: when your shift was done for the day you left a clean new urn of coffee for the next shift and a spotless clean Castle.

Our training class continued for one week and we all took home the “mistakes” as in those days there were no freezers. We all graduated and I was assigned to a White Castle location at 104th and Torrence in Chicago. I thoroughly enjoyed my job at White Castle. Incidentally, we were allowed to eat up to a total of one dollar worth of food a day. The hamburgers back then were only five cents a piece and the pecan pies were fifteen cents a piece. I can tell you that very few of us were able to eat a whole dollar’s worth!


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(6 Cravers Agree)

Eric Hambacher

Las Vegas, NV



I’ve been a “craver” from childhood growing up in Northern Jersey. After a tour overseas in the Air Force, I ended up in Las Vegas with the US Air Force Thunderbirds. Each year my fellow technician and I would divide up the trips, and I would always have my White Castle fry bag with the White Castle cities on the back, so I would know which trips would put me close to a White Castle (This was 1988-1990 before store locators).

One time we stayed at a hotel in St. Louis across from a White Castle. My plan was to eat there for lunch and dinner all three days so I would get sick of them, and rid myself of this craving once and for all. I ate there twice a day for three days, and when I returned to Las Vegas, I thought, “man, I could go for a White Castle right now!” Another time we had an air show in Battle Creek, MI, and we were only there for one night. So, late at night I dug through the phone book to find the closest White Castle away from Detroit to Battle Creek (Pre-internet again). I found one in Ann Arbor, and it was a long drive in the middle of the night, but it was worth it!

Now in my post-military days I still live in Las Vegas, and I occasionally plan vacations where there are White Castles. I am currently a mechanic for Southwest Airlines, and recently I (along with some co-workers) sent some money with our pilots on a flight to St. Louis to be handed to our mechanic there. The following day he picked up a Crave Case near the airport, and handed them to the crew of another flight headed back to us (the case rode in the cockpit). I was waiting at the gate to grab the case, and that day in Las Vegas, some craving mechanics ate well!! Cravers Hall of Fame material? I think so.


Alex Weresow
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(12 Cravers Agree)

Alex Weresow

Los Angeles, CA



A life long passion for me has always been White Castle. I can remember going to the White Castle in my hometown of Old Bridge, NJ. I know that I went as a child and I’m not afraid to admit that I was not blown away. It wasn’t until my teenage years that I really started to develop what many experts are calling “cravings.”

I am currently researching a possible connection between puberty / hormonal balance and the increase of White Castle cravings. Naturally, as the years passed, my cravings only increased. White Castle had become a regular part of my daily well balanced diet. Then it was time to be a proper adult. I thought my life would change, that I would no longer need the crutch of White Castle at 5am. I was wrong. The “cravings” only increased. And whoever is the person, who in the future, should have the audacity to decide to make White Castle not a 24 hour, 7 day a week establishment should be stoned in public.   When my career as a television producer finally started to take off, I found myself in beautiful sunny California. Filled with beautiful women and beautiful women and beautiful women, and did I mention the weather – but yet –  something was missing, something very primal was absent in my life.
It was the cravings that could only be satisfied by one thing. (And yes we do have frozen White Castle burgers and cheeseburgers available for purchase at finer grocery stores in California). But what I was really after were those chicken ring with cheese sandwiches with an oh-so subtle heaping helping of honey mustard sauce. Then suddenly it happened, and all my prayers were answered.
I had already been working on the hit primetime, Emmy Nominated CBS television show Undercover Boss. Then the news hit that we had White Castle on board to participate in an episode. My mouth immediately began to salivate. My normal job as supervising producer is to oversee the edit of the show; to take the footage from the field and craft it into an hour of television. How could that possibly satisfy my cravings? Having to look at those burgers steam cooking over a bed of onions but not getting to savor the smell. To hear the first sizzles and see the chicken rings rise to the surface of the fryer. It would be absolute torture. I had to do something. So I offered to go out into the field and direct the episode.
It was a fascinating experience, and along the way I met some incredible people – the people behind the scenes who make each White Castle restaurant the oasis of hope it is for so many of us…and I met some customers, who like myself are pretty devoted to the Castle. One night when we were filming a Russian immigrant who even offered to give me a ride in his limousine at 2 in the morning – a bright yellow stretch, with a giant chicken on top of it – I declined. 
Instead of being kidnapped for a crazy cross country limo tour, I took the road less traveled, and got to have Chicken Rings for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and after resisting the urge to stuff my pockets with extra honey mustard packets, realized this is one food I’ll never tire of…Thank you White Castle.  You truly are what Alex craves.


Mike Ichniowski
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(18 Cravers Agree)

Mike Ichniowski

Fort Smith , AR



brothers and I were born in Chicago,
Where the Cubs, Bears and White Sox all made our smiles glow.
And the El-train and Lakefront were sights to behold,
But we treasured one thing more than all that, and gold.

Because wherever we went, was the wonderful sigh,
Of a Castle for burgers, all made of White.
My brothers and I lived in White Castle heaven,
And each time we went there, we had six or seven.

Then one day, some news, turned our blue skies gray,
My dad’s job had transferred us far, far away.
Where they didn’t have Sliders, great shakes and fries,
Life without White Castle brought tears to our eyes.

We’d lie in our beds and cry out in the night,
As each of us dreamed about a castle of white.
We’d buy frozen boxes of Sliders, which helped us a little,
But we longed for some fresh ones, hot off the griddle.

As each of grew up, Chi-town called us home,
The pull of White Castle would not leave us alone.
It wasn’t the money or great jobs we’d embrace,
But the thought of those Sliders stuffed in our face.

Baseball has Cooperstown, and we know Cleveland rocks,
And Canton’s the Hall of Fame for the great football jocks.
But the Hall that I hope for, when they write my bio,
Is the Cravers Hall of Fame in Columbus, Ohio!


Faith Stombaugh and Kristi Carpenter
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(15 Cravers Agree)

Faith Stombaugh and Kristi Carpenter

Belle Plaine, IA



This story I’m sending you is actually about my little sister Faith, who happens to be 11 years old this year. Her story is so cute I thought I would share it. Our town happens to be in the middle of nowhere, a typical quiet rural town, and Faith has not traveled very much. The first Faith heard about White Castles was when she saw the burgers in the freezer section of our local grocery store.

Now my family has always been big fans of White Castle but since we moved to Iowa 15 years ago there wasn’t one in our area. They seemed to be all over in Indiana but nowhere in Iowa. Anyway, Faith had never heard of White Castle so when my dad eagerly bought that fist box of frozen sliders we all waited to see Faith’s reaction to them. She LOVED them! In fact, it became her favorite Sunday night snack.

Last year my parents and Faith took a vacation to Indiana. Knowing she enjoyed White Castle hamburgers so much my dad made sure to stop at a White Castle restaurant. Faith had no idea the restaurant even existed, so when she saw the building she practically screamed with delight! She thought she was at the ‘official’ White Castle museum! She was totally amazed and kept saying “I can’t believe we’re actually here! What a great place to go for vacation! Look! We’re actually here!”

She had just assumed White Castle was only a brand name and not an actual place. My parents couldn’t stop laughing and tried explaining to her that there are many White Castle buildings but Faith was convinced this was part of their vacation sight seeing. She had her camera out and was taking pictures of the ‘museum’ that sold her favorite food! She was so excited about getting to eat at the ‘official’ White Castle she started begging my parents the whole way home if she could have her room decorated like White Castle!

Although I think it has finally sank into her head that other White Castles exist, she had an awesome vacation because of White Castle. She will still tell you that was her favorite part of the vacation and my dad will tell you he wishes every vacation could be that inexpensive! Who needs Six Flags when a simple trip to White Castle will do!

One little girl was made very happy because a place called White Castle really did exist. The pictures of her and her ‘vacation to White Castle’ are taped to her desk now. And by the way… she is still begging mom and dad for her dream room decorated like a White Castle restaurant!


Roy and Mary Holdren
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(16 Cravers Agree)

Roy and Mary Holdren

Bloomington , MN



My wife and I have been spending Valentine’s Day at White Castle since shortly after we married in 1993. It has become a tradition we enjoy very much as the restaurants go out of their way to make it memorable with candlelight, tablecloths, and even waiters. Often we dress in our best outfits and, though I have yet to do it, I intend to rent a limo at some point.

In 2001 I hired a wonderful harp player to serenade us at the Bloomington, MN restaurant while we enjoyed our White Castles. I had to pull a few strings as the harpist had another Valentine’s Day booking that night and could only play early in the evening.

I called the WC manager and moved our reservation up to 5:30, earlier than they were even making reservations. I told my wife it was the only reservation I could get and enjoyed the look on her face when they seated us at the table next to the harpist. As a musician I have to say the acoustics were great! The manager even contacted a local TV station and we ended up on the news that evening. It was an enjoyable and unforgettable night.


Victor Gradowski
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(9 Cravers Agree)

Victor Gradowski

Bronx, NY



Why should I be a White Castle Hall of Famer? Maybe because I have the greatest Slider streak known to man – over 218 straight weeks of White Castle! That’s right, I’ve had White Castle once a week for 218 straight weeks (since June 2004). Maybe it’s a story you want? Well I got one for ya…

I was in Norfolk, Virginia on business two years ago. Normally, I would leave every Sunday and come back every Friday night (just in time for WC night). On a Wednesday, my team received news that there was a big snow storming hitting the east coast (I am from The Bronx). I asked my manager and senior at the time if they wanted to change from flying back to NYC to taking a train from Washington DC (the only destination with normal train schedules). My manager declined but my Senior stated that it would be a great idea. So I changed our flights from going to NYC to Washington DC in order to get an Amtrak train back home (the times out of Norfolk didn’t pan out). Good idea right? Wrong. On Friday morning we received news that our flight to Washington DC was canceled. My manager received news that all flights to NYC were canceled Friday and Saturday. My streak which was about a year and a half old was in danger of being ended.
Friday afternoon my manager asked me if I could look up other possible destinations to take the train home. I found out that there was a train leaving out of Richmond, VA at 7 PM and would get us into NYC by 3 AM. My manager threw me the keys and said “lets go!” One problem stood in the way, it was a rental car and we couldn’t take it and leave it up in Richmond. We asked around how long it would take to get to Richmond and how we could get there. Finally, a decision had to be made…so we chose a cab. That’s right a 3-hour cab ride!
We packed up our stuff at the client’s office in about 4 and a half seconds and rushed to the car (I left a ham and cheese sandwich in the conference room, it was a nasty sandwich). Before long it was 3 PM, could we possibly make it? We dropped off the car at the airport and jumped into a cab (that cost $300 by the way). The cab driver dashed, speeded, took short cuts. It all seemed possible! Until…we got to the train station at 7:30 PM. We missed the train, the cab driver said he would take us to NYC for an extreme fee, we didn’t budge. WC night was ruined, that is for Friday night but how about Saturday night?
The train schedule read the next train was Saturday morning at 6 AM. Up bright and early and ready for the trip back up, we arrived in NYC at 2 PM and that night my streak continued. I enjoyed 6 cheeseburgers and a sack of onion rings, it was worth it. After all, its what I crave and I crave it every single week! Being in the White Castle Hall of Fame means the world to me.


Dale Bemis
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(62 Cravers Agree)

Dale Bemis

Oaklawn, IL



Growing up as a kid just outside Chicago, it was my dad that first got me started on White Castle burgers. Every so often we would take a trip to a local pond to do some fishing and our time together would always end with a trip to White Castle for some burgers with extra pickles. These weekend trips would continue for a number of years until I was 18 and my dad had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

After stretching his 6 month life expectancy to almost 3 full years, my father started to wear down towards the end and could no longer eat solid food for the last few months of his life. One day he awoke from a minor coma he had been in for 2 days and out of nowhere asked for a sack of sliders with “extra pickles.” Knowing that this could be his last meal, I rushed over to the local White Castle and picked up a sack, brought them home and we enjoyed them together one last time before his death shortly thereafter.

A few years later, I took my girlfriend at the time to White Castle and without ever telling her the story, I asked what she wanted and she replied “I want 3 Sliders with extra pickles.” I was in shock to the point that this had to be some kind of funny sign from the old man above that this had to be the right girl for me, as I never heard anyone order White Castles with extra pickles before!

Needless to say, that girlfriend is now my wife, Martina Bemis. And after telling her my father’s story, we had to find a way to incorporate our love of White Castle into our wedding somehow. So, we went out before the end of the reception, snuck in a few Crave Cases and handed them out to all of our guests which was a huge success as everyone loved them!


Angela Contreras de Wise
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(7 Cravers Agree)

Angela Contreras de Wise

Kingwood, TX



The first time I visited Ohio was in 1995, coming from Bogota, Colombia (where I am originally from). My father-in-law invited our whole family to his favorite French restaurant called “White Castle” (“uaite casele” pronounced with French accent).
I was so excited because my husband, an Ohioan by nature, loved and talked all the time about these super special, unique burgers throughout the first year of our marriage. As a Colombian, I was expecting something with great flavor, nutritive, not too big and not too small, the perfect size: petite, pequeño, picolo, as well as offering a wide menu variety for picky eaters like me. Visiting the French restaurant, as the Wise family refers to it, was a great experience recorded on my mouth, my head and in my heart, now that my father-in-law is no longer with us.

While we lived in Houston, TX, we were so lucky to have found the little burgers at a local grocery store in the frozen department, but the happiest times are when we drive 1,900 miles to visit the family in Ohio and enjoy a freshly made crave case. We like to bring a case home as a surprise dinner for the family!

When we moved to Brazil, three years ago, our family made us so jealous when we would talk over the phone as they would mention how they had dinner at our favorite French restaurant the previous day. Our family made three visits to Ohio during those three years in Brazil, and we were always welcomed at the airport with a crate of burgers.

We have been back in Houston for a little while now and we are very lucky to have found our little burgers at a local supermarket after looking everywhere for them.
Thank you for thinking of Ohioans married to Colombians with good taste buds, who live in Houston! Our trip to Ohio is planned in the summer, wait for us White Castle, we’ll be there soon!


Nevil Cook
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(4 Cravers Agree)

Nevil Cook

Bumpass, VA



My time as a White Castle craver began 1942 at the age of five. My family had moved from Bowling Green, Kentucky to New Albany, Indiana and my grandparents lived just outside of Frankfort, Kentucky. About two times a month we would go visit them and on our way home my dad would stop at a little hamburger joint in St. Mathews, Ky. They even had a drive up window. I remember eating four hamburgers and an orange drink that was the greatest meal anyone could give me. After a few trips to Kentucky, on the way home I would go to sleep. My dad told me after I was a teenager that he had to keep the car moving because if it stopped I would jump up and say I wanted six hamburgers and an orange drink. This went on for years and I kept on eating the little hamburgers.

As I got older I became aware that the little joint was called White Castle. When I was old enough to drive, I discovered a White Castle in Louisville. A few of my friends and I would go often for a treat. My order was always at least one dozen Sliders.

As the years went by I married and had two daughters. We moved to Columbus, Indiana and every Friday we would drive to New Albany and bowl with my parents. After bowling we would go to White Castle for a midnight snack and believe it or not my whole family was hooked on White Castle hamburgers.

In 1969 we moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado and there were no White Castles around. After a year or so we drove to New Albany to visit. On the way we stopped at White Castle for a treat. For that week every time anyone asked what we wanted to eat, it was the same answer, “White Castle hamburgers!” When we left New Albany, so did 100 White Castles.

My mom and dad came to visit and when we picked them up at the airport I could smell the Castles. They never came to visit without bringing at least fifty White Castle sliders. So it was a double treat when they came, we got to see them and we had White Castles.

In 1972 we moved to Ogden, Utah and no White Castles. My mom and dad called and said they were coming to visit and we said “bring White Castles!” When we picked them up at the airport, one of the first things we said was “where are the White Castles?” The reply was they couldn’t carry a bag of hamburgers on the plane. When we picked up the luggage, my dad said, “Be careful with that bag, it’s full of White Castles.” We pigged out that night.

In 1980, we moved to Rock Springs Wyoming and again, no White Castles. By this time our two daughters were married and my wife and I were alone. We flew to Louisville and my brother picked us up at the airport. We went straight to Indiana and I pointed out we didn’t go to White Castle, he chuckled a little and kept on driving. He pulled into the driveway at my parent’s home and still no White Castles. When asked what we wanted for dinner I said “White Castles, but I’ll settle for something closer to home.” My dad said, “Let’s go get White Castle” and I replied that it was too far, he said “Let’s go!” So we drove across town to Spring St. and there it was, a White Castle in New Albany.

When it was time to return home I asked my wife where the empty suitcase was and she said, “Why did you bring an empty suitcase?” my answer was “White Castles.” We had to be at the airport by six the next morning, so I told my brother we had to leave before five o’clock and he said we were only twenty minutes from the airport. I informed him that we had to make a stop on the way and that I had an empty suitcase that had to be filled. The next morning at five AM I put the suitcase on the counter at White Castle and said “fill it up.” I am sure this was the first time the lady at the register had ever had an order like that, she asked me how many was that and my answer was “I have no idea, just fill it up please.”

At that time, the White Castle in New Albany, Indiana came to life. They started heating extra grills and cooking hamburgers. The suitcase held ninety-four White Castles and I told them to make it one hundred and that I would eat the other six on the way to the airport. One of our friends picked us up at the airport and on the way home he asked, “What is that smell?” I said, “Is it good or bad?” he answered, “Good.” I told him it was White Castle sliders. He replied, “Well I’ve listened to you talk about White Castle for a long time and now it’s time for me to try one myself,” so I answered, “One won’t be enough.” My wife opened the suitcase and he had his first, second, third, fourth, fifth then sixth White Castle. He then took a dozen home so his wife could try them. By the time all our friends tried a few, there were not many left but that was a good thing, a lot of people were now hooked on White Castles.

In 1984 we moved to Cody Wyoming and no White Castles. In 1989 we flew home for Christmas and had White Castles. When we went to the airport I had two crave cases as my carry on luggage. As we were going through the airport another traveler said to me, “You must be going home. I can tell by the luggage you are carrying.”
My dad passed away in 1990 so we flew home again and we had White Castles for a week and we took two crave cases home with us.

In 1996 we moved to Collinsville, Oklahoma and again there were no White Castles around. We drove to New Albany three times while we lived in Collinsville and each time we would take a large cooler home with us, it would hold one hundred and fifty White Castles. The cooler was electric so we plugged it in the lighter socket in the car and had hot White Castles when we arrived home. When our neighbors would see us pull in they all knew we would have a party that night and the food would be White Castles.

In 2007 we moved to Bumpass, Virginia and once again, no White Castles. That was not so bad because we were only about five hundred and fifty miles from New Albany and we made the trip three times. Each time we returned with two or three crave cases.

At the age of 73, I still crave White Castles and I am not finished hauling the best little hamburger across state lines. There is one thing that keeps me feeling young and active and that is eating White Castle hamburgers.

Now we could have frozen White Castles from the grocery stores most places we have lived and we have eaten lots of them, but there is nothing like pulling up to a White Castle drive-thru and getting a couple of bags of hot off-the-grill White Castle sliders. NOTHING IN THE WORLD LIKE IT!


Perri Hunley
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(9 Cravers Agree)

Perri Hunley

West Liberty, KY



My story is of 45 plus years of loving White Castle. It all started around 1963, well actually before that to be honest. My dad and mom starting eating White Castles when they were only 5 cents each. When I came along dad, Acie Elam, started taking me on an all day trip to get bags, yes I said bags, of White Castles. At earliest memory we would go from Dayton, Ohio to Columbus, Ohio to eat in a White Castle restaurant and then bring back dozens of them for later. When I was old enough to ride behind him on his 1959 Harley Davidson we would go either to Columbus or Cincinnati and pack the saddle bags and tour-pack full of White Castles. I knew we could only get 13 dozen to take home. Dad would let me order them, so I could get a kick out of the expression on the cashier’s face. They weren’t even sure I could carry 13 dozen Sliders, they would usually ask me what I was going to do with them. I would answer by stating that I would “eat happy for a week.”

We rode like this all summer and would drive in the during the winter. I was 17 when I got married and got my husband hooked on the small tasty hamburgers. We would hunt down White Castle restaurants just to enjoy our tasty treat. I continued this tradition with my children and to this day we do not go to Lexington without eating at White Castles. I recently took my grandson for his first White Castle Slider and took lots of pictures.

My Dad has passed away now and for the last several months of his life we made trips to Lexington from West Liberty, Kentucky (which is about a 2 hour trip) just so he could eat at White Castle. I now ride a Harley of my own and I have my Dad’s old Harley hat. I talked a White Castle employee out of a White Castle lapel pin to put on my hat, because I love those little burgers so much and it reminds me of my Dad.

When we go to Lexington now I still buy dozens to bring home and I “eat happy for a week!” The only problem is that my sons now know what the Crave Case looks like and I usually have a hard time keeping my Sliders to myself. My second husband likes them just as much as I do and like I said, we stop at every White Castle we come across. Every time I stop, I always get one extra burger to take to my Dad and I place it next to his White Castle mug at the foot of this final resting place. This is why I think I belong in the White Castle Cravers Hall of Fame, because this is a family tradition. It is the Elam family tradition, which is now in to the fourth generation and hopefully will continue beyond.


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