It's the original fast food restaurant – the supplier of tiny burgers with an overblown appeal, simply known as "The Crave". While not the largest burger chain, White Castle is probably the biggest fan base: fans write songs and make films about it, marry in restaurants and cart their sliders around the world. Not bad for an operation that began almost 100 years ago as a single hamburger stall in Wichita, Kansas.
. 1 The founder of White Castle invented the modern hamburger.
Walt Anderson, a cook in Wichita, Kansas, liked to experiment with the size and shape of the hamburgers he served. His greatest invention, however, is said to have come about by accident: one day, Anderson became so frustrated when the meatballs he cooked stuck to the grill that he shattered one with a spatula. And so the pineapple patty was born.
. 2 Walt Anderson was also a pioneer in fast food in America.
. 3 As late as 1916, people had "the desire".
According to David G. Hogan's book Selling & # 39; Em by the Sack Anderson – while working on his original burger stand – noticed several boys who regularly turned up bought sacks of hamburgers. Thinking it odd, he decided to investigate and followed a young patron as he rounded the street and ran a delivery into the open door of a limousine.
. 4 White Castle was the first fast food chain to sell 1 billion burgers.
The billionth burger of White Castle was bought in 1961 – two years before McDonalds lost the same benchmark.
. 5 The name was intended to counteract the bad rape of the former hamburger.
Exposés were shown such as Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and comments like Frederick J. Schlink's Eat, Drink and Be Wary Hamburger beef as unsafe, if not downright poisonous. In order to give their burgers a flawless image, Ingram and Anderson combined two words that conveyed purity and solidity together: White and Castle .
. 6 The name of White Castle inspired many imitators.
In the 1920s and 1930s, rivals named White Palace, Royal Castle and White Clock came to imitate the success of White Castle. One company-the Milwaukee-based White Tower chain-even studied the exact dimensions of White Castle restaurants and built their own medieval buildings out of them. White Castle sued in 1929. Following a legal dispute (with a second lawsuit), White Tower crossed a $ 82,000 settlement and agreed to renovate its buildings with a fresh Art Deco look.
. 7 The design by White CAstle was inspired by the Chicago Water Tower.
The landmark of Windy City, one of the few buildings that survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, was a model [PDF] for the tower-tower design of White Castle.
. 8 White Castle had outlets make their own buildings and paper hats.
Ingram wanted his restaurants to be small, cheap and quick to build and dismantle. So in 1934 he founded his own subsidiary Porcelain Steel Buildings (PSB), to produce the light porcelain and steel structures. During the Second World War, PSB contributed to the production of amphibious vehicles. The company also bought manufacturer Paperlynen in 1932 to make the paper hats that White Castle employees wore – why not? When White Castle realized it was doing a profitable business, it took orders from other restaurants and in 1964 sold more than 54 million capsules per year.
. 9 Kansas is now deprived of white locks.
Although White Castle was founded in Wichita, the company currently has no Sunflower State locations. (The headquarters of White Castle was relocated to Columbus, Ohio in 1934.) However, for the 90th anniversary of the brand, a temporary White Castle store in Wichita was opened on May 19, 2011 for one day. The proceeds went to the Kansas Food Bank
10. Today's White Castle slider is more or less the same as the original recipe.
Anderson's original hamburger was to cook a small cattle patty over chopped onions and then push it onto a bun instead of between slices of bread. About 100 years later, not much has changed.
. 11 White Castle has put holes in the burger patties since 1954.
In 1954, a White Castle employee named Earl Howell, who worked at the company's Cincinnati site, suggested that the now iconic patties would boil faster if they were punctured with a series of small holes. He was really on something. Today, all hamburgers are prepared by White Castle with five holes this way. "We actually own the patent for the machine that makes the five holes," said Jamie Richardson, vice president of White Castle, 2017 in an interview with Thrillist . "It's called Fleischhorn."
12th White Castle made tipping burgers a sought-after job.
Fast-food wages are so low today that they have inspired a national movement, but in the past, overturning burgers at White Castle was a much sought-after job. Ingram paid between $ 18 and $ 30 a week, which was quite a lot in those days, especially for work in restaurants, and offered paid sick leave, plans, and regular travel opportunities.
. 13 Billy Ingram placed high demands on his employees.
White Castle employees, each of whom completed a two-week unpaid training, were expected to wear clean white clothing, keep their hair short, and always be polite to customers. They also had to be men between the ages of 18 and 24 (at least in the earliest days of the company).
fourteenth Cheeseburgers appeared on the menu of White Castle in 1961.
According to the official website of the company: "Forty-one years after opening our doors, we [took] determined a calculated risk and added our first new menu item: the cheeseburger!
15th The company released a newsletter titled Hot Hamburger .
It included jokes, short stories and sales advice – how to convince customers that a piece of cake is exactly what they need after they get fed up with hamburgers.
sixteenth When White Castle released its first newspaper coupons, it did not expect their wild success.
Billy Ingram referred to marketing strategies for grocery stores and paid that on June 3, 1933 coupons for discounted burgers were published in major newspapers. "Initially, the coupon campaign may have been too successful," Hogan wrote in Selling 'em By the Sack . "In some castles, the onslaught was so great that they could run out of food in just one hour, and they sent their local utilities into frantic efforts to keep up."
17. Billy Ingram funded "scientific" research to prove the nutritional value of White Castle burgers.
To prove that his citizens are not only safe but also healthy, Ingram funded some rather dubious studies. It was best for a student from the University of Minnesota to eat only White Castle burgers for 13 weeks. He remained physically healthy, if not mentally.
18th White Castle had a program that delivered frozen burgers anywhere in the US in 24 hours.
If you fancied the mid-'80s and there was no White Castle nearby, you can call a toll-free number and have frozen burgers delivered to your door. The program "Hamburgers to Fly" was so successful for the company that it paved the way for its frozen food line.
19th Harold and Kumar go to White Castle Star Kal Penn is a vegetarian.
The 2004 Buddy Comedy Harold and Kumar go to White Castle have boosted the sale of White Castle sliders. Star Kal Penn never really ate because of his vegetarian diet. (The crew members made meatless substitutes instead.)
20. To mark the 15th anniversary of Harold and Kumar's Go To White Castle, a million sliders were given away.
On July 30 and 31, 2019, Cravers using the Uber Eats coupon code "1MILLIONSLIDERS" received a free 10-stack slider in White Castle restaurants. (Although modest fees for orders below $ 10 were charged.) "In 2004, we learned of a daring and exhausting journey that two fans made to satisfy their cravings," said Lisa Ingram, CEO of White Castle, in a press release. "We look forward to partnering with Uber Eats to take our delivery capabilities to a whole new level and ensure that we meet customer needs where and when they arise."
21st White Castle has inspired musicians.
Several Beastie Boys songs refer to White Castle (with helpful information such as "White Castle fries are only one size"). There is also "White Castle Blues" from the 80s band The Smithereens.
22nd White Castle has a Craver Hall of Fame.
White Castle founded its Hall of Fame in 2001 to honor its most dedicated guests. Among the newer insiders include an army soldier who took 50 sliders to Germany, and a couple who came to Germany with 50 sliders. A total of 200 pounds of food sliders lost. Alice Cooper is in there, too; According to White Castle, Cooper became a fan during his childhood in Detroit. "The Crave has stayed with him throughout his career, organizing tour dates and concerts in the locations of White Castle restaurants."
23rd In 2017, Stan Lee became an honorary member of the Craver Hall of Fame.
Stan Lee, the longtime leader of Marvel Comics, had a proud history with sliders. "When I grew up in Washington Heights and the Bronx, I loved White Castle," Lee said in 2017. "Back then, the notorious slider was a favorite, as it still exists today, over 95 years later! I'm grateful to White Castle for recognizing my lifelong craving and honored to join former and future Craver Hall of Fame contenders! "
24th White Castle becomes romantic for Valentine's Day.
Nothing says more love than a stack of sliders, making White Castle a popular destination for Valentine's Day. The locations book weeks in advance and offer table service. In 2015, more than 35,000 customers have set a date.
25th More than 75 couples have married in White Castle restaurants.
No punches were drawn in 2018 when the Lovebirds Adam Mandel and Whitney Wicker won a nationwide White Castle Wedding contest. Really. Together with thousands of other couples, they submitted an application explaining why they had earned the grand prize: the right to hold their wedding rehearsal, ceremony, and reception at a White Castle restaurant in Las Vegas. A five-day Belgian honeymoon trip was also included. So a pusher-shaped cake and bouquets was decorated with takeout boxes. Is not it romantic?
26th There is a recipe to fill with hacked White Castle sliders.
Thanksgiving will never be the same.
27th They make candles that smell like pushers.
Fill your home with the steam-grilled beef on an onion-bed flavor.
28th White Castle operates "Crave Mobiles".
Despite nearly 400 locations, White Castle operates in only about a dozen states. To satisfy the longing of those living in areas without a lock, the company ships mobile restaurants called Crave Mobiles. During a stopover in Orlando in 2015, more than 10,000 sliders were sold.
29th It is a popular place for nocturnal crowds.
Data collected by the Foursquare app in 2017 showed that 21.5 percent of pedestrian traffic took place at locations in White Castle between 10:00 pm and 10:00 pm. and 4 o'clock in the morning. According to the Foursquare report, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, Wendy, Burger King and McDonald's will receive far fewer customers in that period (proportionally).
30th The CEO of White Castle works from time to time behind the counter.
According to an interview with Columbus CEO Lisa Ingram – the current CEO of White Castle and the great-granddaughter of Billy Ingram – occasionally becomes a burger at a hurling restaurant near the company's headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. Several Ingrams of the fourth and fifth generation are still working in the family business.
31st The opening of White Castle in Las Vegas was a madhouse.
When a White Castle opened on the Las Vegas Strip in January 2015, demand was so high that the location had run out of food and had to close for two hours to replenish. Which should not be surprising given that the nearest castle is 1500 miles away in Missouri. The yearning really is a powerful thing.
32nd The first White Castle restaurant in Arizona opened in October 2019.
The restaurant just outside Scottsdale opened on October 23, 2019. Enthusiastic Cravers camped in front of the building to attend the grand opening. The restaurant, which is open 24 hours, attracted so many visitors on its opening day that it had to be closed for a few hours … because they had run out of burgers.
33rd Vegetarians can order vegetable-based sliders.
The meat-free "Impossible Slider" unveiled in 2018 proved successful enough to be included in the main menu at White Castle. To create this botanical delicacy, White Castle worked with Impossible Foods, a Northern California based meat substitute.
34th Don Adams (aka Inspector Gadget) shot a series of White Castle commercials.
Don Adams played the lovable, albeit dodgy, secret agent Maxwell Smart on Get Smart a sitcom by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. After the end of the program in 1975 Adams expressed another crime fighter: TV Inspector Gadget. In the 1990s, Adams portrayed various characters in White Castle ads, including a talkative cowboy and a prophetic spy.
35th You will get a duck meat patty at White Castle, China.
This slider, called the "Cherry Blossom Pusher", is one of the regionally different menu options in China's new White Castle restaurants. (If you do not like duck, try the Spicy Tofu Slider.)
36. Unlike its main competitors, White Castle is not a franchise.
Each White Castle restaurant is overseen directly by the company without the help of local franchise owners. On the other hand, other well-known chains like McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's are heavily dependent on franchising. Therefore, this business model is somewhat unusual compared to the industry. Nevertheless, customer loyalty – and low, low menu prices – keeps the brand alive. "We get stories about customers who travel an hour or two, even overnight, to get to our product because it's so unique." And you can not find it anywhere else, "Lisa Ingram said.
37th NFL veteran Anthony "Spice" Adams announced his retirement in a YouTube video that ended with a White Castle run.
Anthony Adams was drafted in 2003 for nine seasons as a defensive duel against the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears. When he decided to hang up the tunnels, he let the world know by putting on a suit and filming chips at a nearby White Castle (with his daughters in tow).
38th There is a White Castle scene in Saturday Night Fever .
Before Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle we had John Travolta's memorable appearance as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever . During the disco classic, Manero and his buddies roll down a couple of sliders in a White Castle in Bayside, Brooklyn. (Manero is reprimanded for speaking with his mouth full – a buddy asks him, "Do you never chew?") Unfortunately, this particular location in White Castle was closed.
. 39 In a viral April Fool, White Castle claimed it was making a hamburger-based protein powder.
"Do you dream of pulsating pectoral muscles? Do you want to be swollen? Good news, Jabroni! "So begins a faux video advertisement for a nonexistent supplement called" White Castle Whey Protein ". In a statement, the company claimed that this fake product – which allegedly contains the "protein real White Castle Slider" – came on April 1, 2018 on the market.
40th Two paramedics from New Jersey once ignored a hospital visit to satisfy their cravings.
Two paramedics at Newark University Hospital stepped back after not responding quickly to a 2016 check-in visit – because the duo was just getting something to eat – a local white lock. "I ordered my food before the damned call came in," the driver said in a recorded conversation. "What do you think, I just throw it in the air and run away? No. "
41. The White Castle governor has been described as the "most influential burger ever".
That's right, people. The correspondent of the magazine TIME Sarah Begley, ranked 2014 the 17 most historically significant burgers ever prepared. The traditional Slider of White Castle beat the Burger King Whopper, the In-N-Out Burger and other worthy opponents for first place.
An earlier version of this story from 2016.