Friday, July 07, 2006

1-800-THE-CRAV(E) For Your Lunch Considerations

Many of you might not know this, but I'm a huge fan of The Beastie Boys. Now, I just saw on the Wikipedia entry for WHITE CASTLE, under "See also", this nugget: “Hip hop music group The Beastie Boys, whose mentions of White Castle on six of thirteen tracks of their 1986 multi-platinum Licensed to Ill album, gave widespread exposure to the restaurant chain.”

I'm straining my brain, and I can only come up with 5 songs:

1. “The New Style” (“I chill at White Castle 'cause it's the best”); 2. “Slow Ride” (“We went to White Castle and we got thrown out”); 3. “Girls” (“From White Castle to the Nile”); 4. “Hold It Now, Hit It” (“I got the ladies of the '80s from here to White Castle”); 5. “Slow And Low” (“White Castle fries only come in one size”). What am I missing here?

Anyway, the "slyder" pictured above (sometimes known as a "belly bomber"--but, not by company representatives!) is among the best drunk foods in history. I have occasionally been known to eat them by the light of day, as well. But, late night after many beers...forget about it!!!

Contrary to the misinformation spouted by many New Yorkers (likely the result of Travolta & pals eating White Castle in Saturday Night Fever, as well as the aforementioned Licensed to Ill references), White Castle did not originate in NYC. In fact, it began in Wichita, KS in 1921. However, White Castle no longer operates in Kansas at all. Many folks find their food so disagreeable (read: indigestible) that they require a large metropolitan area to sustain their existence.

In fact these are the Metro Areas in which they operate:
Chicago (76), Cincinnati (46), Columbus (24), Detroit (47), Indianapolis (38), Louisville (26), Minneapolis (17), Nashville (11), New Jersey (23), New York (48), Cleveland/Akron (7), and St. Louis (35). That's over 380 locations, mainly in the northern & eastern portions of the Midwest.

Live in the South, or on the West Coast? Or, just live in a rural area nowhere near the above locations? Never fear, White Castle now sells a frozen version of their product. I'm not sure I'd recommend it. But, I've never had it out of the freezer, so I won't discouarge it either.

Oh, as a footnote, "White Castle fries only come in one size" was accurate when originally uttered by the Beasties. However, I know they now offer multiple sizes, at least in the Chicagoland area.


Blogger Keith Kennedy said...

Us folks from the south laugh at the white castle burger. We have Krystal burgers down here - right across the street from the Waffle House.

They compete for the drunk business every morning from 1-2am.

Krystal was a complete and total rip off of White Castle, even down to the building design. But they are actually better.

I know, because I have personally ingested at least 100,000 of each.

10:36 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Interesting. I must've missed the Krystals on my sojourns through the South. I suppose their entrenched existence in the southern states explains White Castle's lack of presence there.

Now, does the West coast have a really-small-square-shaped-burger chain of their own? Or, do people out there demand their burgers to be big and/or circular?

Interesting that, at 73 years of age, Krystal is the "new kid on the block" compared to White Castle, which is in its 85th year.

12:49 PM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Beth said...

Mr. Kennedy stole my Krystal thunder. And Krystals in the Atlanta area are open 24 hours, so you can soak up the drunk any time of the day. Had a sack of 'em for dinner the other night. YUM!

2:49 PM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

I did not know, or should I say, I did not remember that White Castle started in Kansas. I know I saw a tidbit on the company on the Food Network, I don't remember if it was the show "Unwrapped" or not.

Note, Haahnster that you didn't list California, that's because they didn't take off here. I remember a White Castle that opened in Berkeley back in the mid-80's and it might have lasted a whole calendar year, but I doubt it.

They didn't want to come to San Francisco to compete with Mel's Diner on the higher end and the now defunct, Clown Alley on the lower end. In retrospect it would've been a better across the Bay, Berkeley is a gourmet and health food town, plus they won't let restaurants stay open late there.

3:16 PM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Beth: Krystal sounds like something I should try when I have the chance.

W-P: While I acknowledge California's relatively early awareness of health food issues, they are the home of Fatburger and Jack in the Box!!! Tell me more about Mel's and Clown Alley...

4:58 PM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

"While I acknowledge California's relatively early awareness of health food issues, they are the home of Fatburger and Jack in the Box!!!"

Berkeley is the exception to the Californian secret junk food stash...with their exception to Blondie's Pizza. The Powell St. branch of Blondie's in S.F. now has Soul and Mexican food! Triple your fat and your cholesterol choices.

"Tell me more about Mel's and Clown Alley..."

Here are the origins and the Wiki is fairly accurate on this as far as I know...'s_Drive-In

The actual site and check the menu...

I get the Sunset Burger because it comes automatically at a 1/2 lb. and that way the wait staff can't screw it up when you ask them to bump the burger up to a 1/2 lb. Pretty damn good milkshakes and breakfast dishes.

Clown Alley had San Francisco franchises in North Beach and the motel stretch of Lombard St. Decent grilled burgers and hot dogs back in the 60's and 70's, and they stayed open late. They closed around '89, but they changed owners and purists would tell you that they closed *way* before that.

You can tell if someone is a real native San Franciscan or lived here most of their lives if they know this chain.

2:50 AM, July 08, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Cool. Thanks for the info.

I've lived in several different locations over the last 15 years. One of the biggest adjustments is always the availability of food items to which I've grown quite enamored. Generally, this is more associated with unique "mom & pop" type of places (usually from 1 to maybe a handful of locations total). However, part of it is also which of these more regional type of chains are and which are not present.

I've never been too far from McDonald's, Taco Bell, or KFC. But, Jack in the Box, White Castle, etc. are a different story.

Oh, and you are definitely correct in that JitB Tacos are about as "gringo" as they could possibly be...0% authentic Mexican...but, so help me, I love (and sorely miss) 'em!!!

3:35 AM, July 08, 2006  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

"Oh, and you are definitely correct in that JitB Tacos are about as "gringo" as they could possibly be...0% authentic Mexican...but, so help me, I love (and sorely miss) 'em!!!"

Well...I still love Moon Pies. Everybody has that one thing that they can't outgrow or still have a taste for.

11:38 PM, July 08, 2006  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

I really have to learn html.

At any rate, for San Francisco eats? Check this little book out.

5:54 PM, July 09, 2006  
Blogger JM said...

I am a little late to the party but I love WC and eat there fairly often or as often as my stomach and little purple pills allow me to. The frozen ones are not bad either as I have gone through a box or two of those recently.

On the other hand I have also used White Castle as a sort of scent shield recently and would suggest it. On a trip back from a morally questionable destiantion in Gary, IN I stopped at a WC in order to have the grease, pickles and onions (Great chicken sandwich as well) help devour/mask the scent of bad perfume/patchouli/jasmine or whatever those lovely ladies were wearing. Highly suggested though.

10:53 AM, July 10, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Oh, that reminds me of a former coworker in Joliet (no, not the prison). His disdain for WC (due to previous bad digestive experiences) was widely known. Some enterprising coworkers (no, not me--this happened before my time) decided to give him a birthday surprise. They went (without him) as a group the night before his b-day and ate a ton of WC burgers. Then, they brought in all the empty boxes, flattened them out, and hid them *everywhere* in the guy's office. Some were obvious, to make sure he got the joke. However, once the obvious were found and removed, he continued to be terrorized by that all-too-distinctive aroma...

It took him several days to find/remove them all. There were some taped to the underneath of desk drawers, etc.

If you don't believe cardboard can contain a scent with such staying power, then you've never had White Castle!!!

11:17 AM, July 10, 2006  
Blogger JM said...

It had enough scent to cover me and my wrongdoings.

5:41 PM, July 10, 2006  

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