I grew up in the Westchester suburb of Miami in the 1980s, where there was no White Castle or any slider. There hadn’t been a White Castle in South Florida since the late 1960s.
Somehow I was aware of who White Castle was, its headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, and their important place in burger history. Over the course of the Burger Beast site’s life, I’ve grown to respect White Castle immensely.
White Castle made it safe to eat burgers in the 1920s when everyone considered it questionable food. They standardized burger buns and even created things like those branded soda jerk paper hats everyone likes wearing on their heads.
I was reaching out to hamburger based restaurants across the United States hoping to collaborate with them over my Burger Museum.
The Miami Meat Machine and I had already been planning a trip up north when I mentioned it to Jamie Richardson (VP of White Castle). Jamie invited us over to their headquarters for a tour of White Castle’s HQ in Columbus, Ohio.
THE DATE HAS ARRIVED
Flash forward to a few months after the invite, and we’re in Columbus, Ohio. I got goosebumps just looking at the building because of all the history that I knew would be inside. I was ecstatic when I saw glass case after glass cases with memorabilia and ephemera from White Castle’s history.
There was also a sign welcoming “Burger Beast” and Friends.
After a brief wait in the lobby downstairs, Jamie showed up and took us around for a tour of the premises. We got to see the Craver’s Hall of Fame Wall (hoping to make it on there one day), the Cafeteria (which also had great signs that I fell in love with), and the offices along with a bunch of porcelain signs from old White Castles.
The crew and I sat down in their conference room, where he told us the history of White Castle. I tried to get him to admit that they were planning to open a location in Miami, but he didn’t budge on that topic.
OFF TO THE CASTLE
We were given gift bags (a very nice gesture) and then whisked off to the nearest White Castle in Jamie’s White Castle mobile, a Sprinter-type vehicle covered in White Castle logos. He told us his teenage daughter is embarrassed to be dropped off at school in it, hilarious.
After a tour of the White Castle flagship store, we sat down for lunch. I ate a couple of Double Sliders w/cheese and a couple of the Jalapeño Cheese Sliders with an order of fries & a Coke.
There is something crave-able about White Castle. Why bring that up? We considered getting some sliders for the road in the drive-thru after lunch. Later on, we did end up grabbing some White Castle in Erlanger, Kentucky, on our drive to Atlanta. We knew it’d be a while before we had a chance to have another one.
A giant thank you to White Castle and Jamie Richardson for rolling out the red carpet for us. They outdid themselves; class acts all the way. Do I know more than I’m letting on about White Castle’s future? Next topic, please!