White Castle = Not Hamburgers

“Chuck in Chicago” went to an In-N-Out Burger store in Arizona and was disappointed in the fare he received, which is unfortunate, and something I suppose could happen, although I personally have yet to be disappointed with the service and food I got at In-N-Out. But when he left a note about it here on the site, he crossed a line. What line is that? Well, it’s best I let the comment speak for itself:

I was in Scottsdale recently and made a trip to In ‘n Out burger after I read your comments touting their burgers. What a disappointment! I could make a better burger at home with ingredients from any supermarket. I doesn’t come close to White Castle, Steak and Shake, Fuddruckers or any other decent burger place. It is cheap, which may explain some of the attraction to those with no taste buds. And the service sucked as well! Please stay away from trying to be a food critic in the future.

This was my response:

White Castle is dog food on a tiny bun, Chuck, and the fact you think it’s better than an In-N-Out suggests there’s something seriously physiologically wrong with your tongue. You might want to get that checked out. Also, you have my pity.

Your admonition to not be a food critic in the future is also hereby ignored with prejudice, since any claims of the superiority of White Castle to any other burger, much less an In-N-Out burger, suggests something medically wrong with the claimant. This is because by any objective standard the White Castle slider is the appalling and degenerate tail end of the burger family, and is lesser than all other burgers ever created, up to and including a half-eaten microwavable burger purchased at a gas station and left rotting for seven days in the hottest July on record in the liqueur that marinates at the bottom of a slaughterhouse dumpster. Seriously, dude, you need an MRI or something.

Look, Midwesterners. Let me speak as one who lives among you and knows your sometimes incomprehensible ways. The rest of us know you love your White Castle, and, really, we’re content to let you have it. But the very second you claim that those vile, dwarfish patties of indeterminate origin are good by any other definition than the “this is something my intestines won’t quite reject,” or, possibly, the “we’re doing our part to clean up Mother Earth by recycling all those dead possums you find on rural highways” sense of the word, you lose. White Castle is as far from being a good burger as it is culinarily possible to be, a sort of anti-burger, if you will, that if it were to ever meet a real burger, would annihilate itself, not in a physical “anti-matter meeting matter” sense, but out of pure and simple shame. Claiming a White Castle slider represents a good burger is like pointing to mole rat and saying it’s an excellent example of a giraffe. You’re just so wildly wrong that all the rest of us can do is stare, agog, at the wonder of people who are actually capable of confusing the two.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Chuck in Chicago enjoys his White Castle. I just feel sorry for him that those insidious little squares of minced rodent and sawdust have so disfigured his tastebuds, so crushed and denatured them and inured them to a life of deprivation, that when they were confronted with an actual burger, a superior burger, his brain simply couldn’t decipher their joy. It’s like the burger equivalent of the Stockholm Syndrome. You can’t argue with that. You can just try to understand.

In any event. Midwesterners, it’s okay if you like White Castle. Just don’t expect any of the rest of us to go along with the theory that they’re actual hamburgers. And for God’s sake don’t suggest to us that they’re better than other hamburgers. You’ll never recover your credibility, not just on matters of food but indeed on any other subject which requires critical evaluation. Because someone who is that wrong on something that obvious is simply not to be trusted. Pitied, yes. Trusted, no.

223 Comments on “White Castle = Not Hamburgers”

  1. White Castle: The Gut Bomb of the Universe.
    or as they say in New Jersey: “Murder Burgers”.

    We don’t allow White Castles to build in Omaha.

  2. Nothing like a good belly laugh early on a Saturday morning. Thanks!

    I have the distinct pleasure of having lived in the midwest all of my 38 years without ever having the need to, or feeling the desire to, try White Castle.

  3. Carl:
    Wise choice… Your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren thank you for your protection of your DNA.

  4. Never having eaten at White Castle, I’d assume the effect is similar to Taco Bell – you eat there once or twice on a dare, and then you find that it has dropped an insidious craving into the back of your head, and every now and then you have no choice but to subject yourself to its horrors.

  5. Agreed. This Ohio native sez: White Castle = teh vile.
    Maybe it’s the onions. Would you believe some deranged southwest Ohioans insist on putting onions on an otherwise tasty plate of Greek spaghetti sauce? Sad, but true.
    And just so you’uns are aware — fine as In-N-Out must surely be, the best burgers are actually served at a small chain of drive-ups in Akron called Swenson’s. Know this, benighted souls, and despair.

  6. To be sure, Jeff, I think there is a fine conversation to be had on what represents a good burger, be it In-N-Out, or Swenson’s or whatever. However, any such discussion will not include White Castle.

  7. White Castle actually BRAGS about the fact that their burgers are STEAM-GRILLED!!!!!!

    WTF! Meat and STEAM do not go together. It’s not fucking asparagus. It’s not cauliflower. It’s meat. One does not steam meat.

    All burgers of whatever derivation (including Wendy’s horrible sawdust-burger) are superior to White Castle.

    And Anne’s still wrong on the chili thing. No matter how many “ways” you make it, that stuff is tomato-meat-soup-on-spaghetti. Yech!

  8. Hear, hear!

    I hope in five years to be able to say, with pride, what Carl V. has said today.

  9. I agree that sliders are vile and repulsive, but my wife, who normally has a very discerning palate when it comes to food, loves the damn things. I think today’s entry goes into the file of things I will forward to friends but not to my spouse.

  10. Nathan, I have to say, you can make a damn fine pot roast or corned beef brisket in a pressure-cooker. Steaming ground beef, on the other hand, is just plain stupid.

  11. Jeff Hentosz , Swensons, aw, damn. Now I’ve gotta take a road trip (went to college in Akron). I need a Galley Boy Burger.

    I think the popularity of White Castle is that they are comfort food. Something related to sated appetite on a low-budget. Hamburger Station is an equivalent.

  12. Culver’s butter burgers.
    Good custard too.
    Mostly found in Wi. but all over the mid-west.

  13. I could make a better burger at home with ingredients from any supermarket.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a better (and cheaper) burger than a homemade one. I mean, where else can you eat while laying in bed watching movies?

    My mother is from St. Louis and is a White Castle fanatic. I wish I were adopted.

  14. The picture you posted ages ago of yourself eating an In-n-Out burger made me think, “wow, that really does look like a good burger.”

    The carefully crafted-by-ad-agencies photos of White Castle burgers make me feel queasy. It’s amazing, because an ad agency manages to make a McD’s hamburger look pretty appealing, far more so than in real life. White Castle? Guh. There’s one a mile from me, and I have never even considered stopping to eat there. Ever.

  15. I ditched school the day In-n-Out opened in Scottsdale to join in the festivities. Of course it was worth it, because In-n-Out is amazing. No, you aren’t getting an 8 dollar burger. You are getting a fantastic fast food burger made from fresh ingredients. I’m a vegetarian now, but I think if I ever go back to meat, my first meal would be there.

  16. I eat White Castle for one reason: Its rediculously cheap. That’s the only thing it has going for it. And theres one near me. That’s it. However, if I find 10 dollars in my pocket instead of 5, I’d much rather have bigger sliders that were made in front of me from a little burger place that’s not owned by a multimillion dollar corporation.

  17. Yeah, the two times I tried White Castle they were abysmally bad.

    The best fast-food burgers I’ve ever had were at Braum’s, which is a chain hamburger/ice cream joint that was popular in Texas. I haven’t lived near one in over a decade, though, and don’t know how they do these days.

  18. Yeah, the two times I tried White Castle they were abysmally bad.

    The best fast-food burgers I’ve ever had were at Braum’s, which is a chain hamburger/ice cream joint that was popular in Texas. I haven’t lived near a Braum’s in over a decade, though, and don’t know how they do these days.

  19. There is something about Slyders that make me crave them. It probably has something to do with being in my youth and being the only open restaurant at 4AM. I didn’t know about Waffle House or Denny’s back then.

    That said, I only have access to Krystal’s here in Florida, and if you think White Castle is vile, then the quality of Krystal’s is probably something that can’t be repeated on a family blog. Their chili cheese fries are the only thing that I can truly call good. If you can stand Slyders that is.

  20. I’ve never been to a White Castle, but in South Florida there’s a Royal Castle chain. When I was in high school back in the early 70s, it was popular with the stoner crowd for being open even when the pizza places weren’t, for being near the beach, and for being cheap cheap cheap. (Though ‘cheap’ might be a relative term, since I remember the burgers being only a little bigger than a half-dollar coin – “4 burgers for a buck” simply meant you got the equivalent of one full-size burger.)

    Even there, though, we called the place Gut Bomb Palace. And wondered, darkly, which animals the meat came from.

  21. What a hilarious post. White Castle sliders are horrible. I hope that this topic doesn’t lead us down the cullinary road where someone might actually add Domino’s makes good pizza. That would be equally as disturbing.

  22. I actually grew up in the Midwest, but I’ve eaten at White Castle only twice. The first time, I got sick. The second time, I figured it had to have been a coincidence. I got sick.

  23. Never having eaten at In-N-Out or White Castle, I can’t comment on their burgers. But I can certainly endorse Five Guys.

  24. CULVERS!! YES!!

    LOL I used to work in an office where one of the guys would announce “BUTTER BURGER RUN!!!”, take orders and come back loaded down all the orders.

    We have 2 Culvers in Omaha.

  25. See, I like White Castle, but I’m not so foolish as to consider it a burger, no matter what their marketing division says. It falls into that nebulous category of burger-like-but-not-quite sandwiches that I find tasty regardless of their respective flaws, kind of like Maid-Rites.

    In-N-Out is a real burger, and although my experience with the is sadly limited, I thought they were fabulous. For fast food chain burgers in Ohio though, my favorite so far is the small Kewpee chain up in Lima. I haven’t tried Culvers yet.

  26. I have to confess I don’t see what people like about Maid-Rites. I think they’re awful.

  27. I am surprised that no one else has commented on the brain-dead inclusion of White Castle and`Fuddrucker’s in the same category. Fuddrucker’s is actually a decent burger place, and to lump it in with White Castle has to be almost the supreme insult.

    The Supreme Insult is, of course, to claim that White Castle is actually BETTER than some other place. I grew up in the White Castle blight zone, and can honestly say that their product (I will not insult the noble hamburger by classifying a White Castle object as a burger) is the worst food I have ever had. As a current resident of California, where In-N-Out is readily available, I classify their burgers as the best food I have ever had from a fast-food chain. There are better burgers available, but those come from more up-scale restaurants where you will spend a lot more money and time on your meal, and the increase in the quality of the burger will be surprisingly small.

    With best wishes,
    – Tom –

  28. Jenny,

    I sometimes order the In-in-Out cheeseburger without the burger and with the grilled onions. That’s a damn fine cheese sandwich and gives you, a vegetarian, the satisfaction of the In-n-Out experience without the meat, should you ever crave it.

    Seattle has (had?) a great burger joint called Dick’s near the University of Washington. The kind of place where you walked up to the window and ate in your car. We used to caravan over from the Eastside when I was in high school.

  29. Adding my two cents here…

    I had never heard of In-n-Out until I visited California in 2003. We were visiting relatives on my wife’s side and they took us to the In-N-Out drive-through in Pasadena, which I believe is the original (or one of the original) In-N-Outs. That burger was pure heaven. I can still remember what it tasted like, and I *crave* another one. In fact, we are going back to Pasadena in a few months and I’m eating at In-N-Out every single day, no matter what my doctor may think about it. Oh yeah, and I’m buying several T-shirts, too!

    Strangely enough, in 2004 I went to a business conference in Scottsdale, AZ, and found one of the new In-N-Out locations. I nearly caused a car wreck when I did a U-turn to head back to the site. Unfortunately, that In-N-Out burger was nowhere as good as the Pasadena burger… it was good, but maybe 50% or 60% of the original, IMHO. So I don’t know if this is a problem with that specific site, or maybe all of the newer I-n-O sites are pale shadows of the original. It might be something to consider…


  30. I’ve never actually eaten a White Castle burger (there was just something about the look of the thing that made my taste buds revolt, which if you’ve ever had happen to you, is not only painful, but awkward). But I wonder if they’re as bad as the burger I had at this tiny, poorly-lit hole-in-the-wall in NYC called, fallaciously, Hamburger Heaven. The place was so nasty that the flies just flew about in a holding pattern, refusing to set down on any of the rank patties cluttering the greasy tables. That was over ten years ago, and my stomach still hasn’t forgiven me. If they are (and by the looks of some of these posts, they’re like death warmed up, slowly, by placing the meat firmly in your armpits), then my condolences go out to Midwesterners everywhere.

  31. Culvers is definitely worth trying, both for the burgers and for the frozen custard. It even comes in flavors. Steak-n-Shake has its points, too, including that their ice cream items are made from ice cream. The shared features of the burgers are fresh meat, a hot enough grill to put some crispy carmelization on it, and enough fat to be juicy. Also, both of the chains toast the buns.

    I admit to enjoying Maid-rites, and even craving sliders from time to time, but would in no way compare them to real food. They bear less resemblance to real burgers than Taco Bell to Tex-Mex, Dominos to pizza, or Velveeta to five-year Wisconsin cheddar.

  32. DM writes:See, I like White Castle, but I’m not so foolish as to consider it a burger, no matter what their marketing division says. It falls into that nebulous category of burger-like-but-not-quite sandwiches that I find tasty regardless of their respective flaws, kind of like Maid-Rites.I think this gets it about right. They have more in common with Chinese dumplings than burgers.

  33. Swensons. Yummmmm.

    But Sky Way burgers. Teh awesome.

    Clearly, John Scalzi, you must come to Akron and try out our local hamburger joints. Akron is the home of the first hamburger, after all.

  34. John (and all Midwesterners craving an In-N-Out facsimile):

    I have one word for you: Rally’s. They’re also known as Checkers in some locations, but I don’t know if there’s a difference in quality. All I know is that shortly after arriving in Cleveland, my wife and I were on a long drive around town and needed sustenance. We pulled into a Rally’s knowing nothing about it and got their basic burgers. They were almost — almost — as good as In-N-Out. Certainly close enough to stave off the craving…for now.

    Look, there’s one in Piqua!

  35. Yeah, the Fuddrucker’s/White Castle comparison tipped me right off that this guy was a little off his rocker.

    Since I grew up in Omaha (like the other Lisa from Nebreaska) I never had to experience a White Castle until I moved to Kansas, that has made a deal with Satan to be the only state in the union to stop evolution in its tracks, and thus has to have White Castle as part of the deal.

    I’ve never been to In and Out, but it has got to be better than White Castle. As far as fast food goes, We have Burgerville here in Oregon that is probably the best unless you upgrade to an actual restuarant.

  36. Wait a minute. You’re telling me that In N Out is the equivalent of Rally’s and that it’s a good burger?

    You guys are nuts.

    White Castle may be bad, but Rally’s ain’t no better.

  37. Domenick,

    Next time you’re in Manhattan, try Prime Burger (North side of 51st St. btwn 5th and Madison/across from St. Pat’s Cathedral).

    Not only excellent, but you get to sit in the old 1950’s school desks if you’re dining alone.

    Tres funky.

  38. Yeah, I’m not so sure that I buy the Rally’s/In-N-Out comparision, personally, although I don’t have anything against Rally’s. And I like their curly fries.

    I do think Culver’s is the best burger I’ve had from a chain in the midwest. It’s not like an In-N-Out burger (there’s a fundamental difference between the two in the general philosophy of optimal burger thickness), but it’s a good burger in its own right.

  39. The worst burger I have ever tasted was from a local mom & pop burger joint a couple of miles from where I stayed in Maryland a couple of years back(since gone away when I passed by the same place last September).

    Checked the Braum’s you will never, ever catch me eating the Jalapeno burger.

    Bleahhh. Chili peppers are the absolute vilest food in the world.

  40. Cedeing all arguments against the burgers at White Castle, can I get some love for their mysteriously juicy yet deliciously chicken-y chicken rings as a unique (at least in the Mid-Atlantic Region) and delicious option? (Think Onion Rings but made from meat for those not in the know)

  41. Julia Child had a double double for her 90th birthday. Which says something I think.

    Still, I’ll take culver’s over in-n-out any day of the week, and twice on sunday.

  42. Egads. As the Official Representative of the Midwest on the Whatever, I can say with authority that White Castle and Steak and Shake should be destroyed with extreme prejudice. Just drop some fuel air bombs or antimatter on them straight away. Annihilate all traces of their disgustipation. While I have never had a White Castle burger, because frankly, smelling one made me retch, the joke around Chicago is that they are called sliders because they slide into your mouth, and right out your butt.

    Steak and Shake I’ve actually tried. Yeah, the shakes are decent, but to compare their highly compressed amalgam of animal parts to steak is just plain dumb.

    Fuddruckers you could make a case for, although I think the quality of their burgers has gone down over the last few years. When I want a tasty burger, Culvers is pretty good. Usually I just stick with one of many mom and pop joints around the city, or the Weber Grill restaurant. I had an In-N-Out burger a few years ago in LA, but don’t remember it being striking. There was a show that I’ve seen on the Food Network (I think) that highlighted some really awesome and unique burger joints across the country…I still want to try the butter burger made by a little place near Milwaukee where they actually put like half a stick of it on the top. Coronary death never looked so good!

  43. My husband, who grew up in Indianapolis, has a sneaky fondness for White Castle because, he claims, they are made not of meat but of Nostalgia–the ineffable taste of being six and having your father take you to the Speedway for the 500 and then to–(drumroll) White Castle! That’s a hard argument to counter (especially hard for me, since I’ve never ever been a six-year-old boy). I tried them once, and the only thing I can say is that they’re perfect for pickle chip afficionados, because none of the other ingredients give the pickles a contest. They are definitely not hamburgers.

  44. I actually have had a bad experience at In ‘n’ Out before, in Dublin CA. The burger seemed suffused with something nasty. So… it’s possible that this could have happened to your commenter. But I’ve probably eaten there a hundred times and that was the only time I didn’t find their food delicious.

    As a midwestern transplant to california, I’m a little surprised at the lack of love for Steak ‘n’ Shake here. They have a different (more minimalist) notion of the ideal burger than In ‘n’ Out, but they still deserve some love. And their milkshakes really are good. My NY born-and-bred fiancé became a convert when we were visiting St. Louis.

    I’ve never eaten at White Castle before (I vaguely remember being inside one once, but I don’t think I could bring myself to eat) so I have no personal experience of the vileness of their sliders, but even to me it seems a mistake to lump them in with Steak ‘n’ Shake and Fudruckers simply because those places are *not* fast food. Steak ‘n’ Shake, in fact, can be freakin sloooow. There are completely different paradigms of burger-making going on here.

    I have an In ‘n’ Out down the road from my house now, and you’re really making me want to go there for lunch.

  45. I think that the allure of White Castle has little to do with the actual burgers, and more to do with looking to extend a fun night of drinking at a local club. The memory of the over use of onions, and the steamed/grilled meat aroma tends to mix with the memory of all the fun you had that night, which causes the nostalgic feelings toward a pitiful excuse for a burger. Smell and taste create some of the most vivid memories, so it doesn’t surprise me that there is a fascination with White Castle, as it can remind you of some great times you had. At least, that is why I have a fondness for rat burgers (as we call them in my part of New Jersey).

    Don Demsak

  46. Bwahaha. As a californian, and one who eats at In-N-Out regularly, I couldn’t help but love this one. Personally, I prefer In-N-Out burgers over just about anything else, including most resturaunt burgers.

  47. and you didnt even mention the Souths version of a white castle……a Krystal burger…which is equally as bad!!!!

  48. scalzi, there’s something you don’t know here,not having grown up in the midwest. you see, there’s a connection between the cornfed, big-toothiness of midwesterners and white castle burgers. bear with me.

    you see, all midwesterners, being aware that we/they represent america in a way that californians never could, make sure to complete our orthodontia by the time we have completed adolescence. this means that teenagerhood is a morass of orthodontists’ appointments, lost headgear, tiny rubber bands, and braces adjustments.

    now, when you’ve just completed the major rite of getting your first set of braces (need ’em or not), or the minor rite of getting your braces tightened, your teeth hurt like a horse just kicked them, and they will not be chewing anything solid for at least a couple of days. but you are a cornfed midwestern teenager who subsists on burgers. what’s a kid to do?

    the answer, my friend, is white castle. there’s a reason there’s a white castle withing 500 yards of every orthodontist’s office between Pittsburgh and Kansas City. your sore and aching teeth do not cut through a white castle burger, they slide through, like knives through room-temperature margarine. this is burgerage with a virtuous purpose.

    out of sheer gratitude for giving us burgers even when we are unable, we ignore the unburgerlike aspects of white castles. it is a holy mission the white castle burger fulfills, and a mission that, you must admit, even benefits YOU, oh scalzi.

    so quit yer whinin’

  49. I have never eaten at White Castle. My dad said that he did once, and afterward, he felt as though he wanted to have his stomach pumped. I think I’m smart enough to learn from his mistake.

    And I remember some co-workers who went out for White Castle during lunch (mainly because we worked graveyard shift, and that was one of the few places open at 2:00 AM). They smell vile. And I mean VILE.

  50. The rest of us know you love your White Castle, and, really, we’re content to let you have it.

    You know, I really wonder where this notion comes from. As a Midwestern native, we always saw White Castle as a hideous rite of passage–you went there once just to experience how horrible it was. It was like smoking a cigar and getting sick, or your first hangover.

    I think the ‘Midwesterners’ who love this stuff are really paid shills.

  51. To those who had lesser In-n-Out burgers at newer locations,

    This is not some McDonald’s burger that you’re going to pretend to grill and toss into a microwave. The proper construction of the In-n-Out Double-Double requires years of patient practice, seasoning of the grill, etc, etc. The only people who can provide you with that level of craftsmanship currently live in Southern California. Northern California is slowly catching up, but still has a long way to go. Places like Scottsdale? Not even close.

  52. I have lived on the west coast. I have lived on the east coast. I am living in the midwest. When I was living in Philadelphia, family came to visit, and they’d heard all about these “White Castle” burgers, so we had to go there to try them…and as is the consensus here, they were crap. My visitors were all baffled about why there was so much noise about these cheap, tasteless chunks of chipped celluloid; I couldn’t answer.

    I can’t say that I’m thrilled with In-N-Out, either. They were OK. Maybe it was just the bible verses printed on the paper products that tainted them and made them taste less than wonderful.

    I also tried a Culver’s recently. One word: gaaaaa. Maybe a bunch of words: greasy, slimy, drippy, fatty. It was a horrible experience.

    The best burger is home cooked bison. No restaurant can compare.

  53. My newspaper ran a food story once about how to recreate certain famous restaurant dishes at home — Cincinnati chili, White Castle burgers, etc. The slider recipe called for the meat mixture to be enhanced with Gerber’s baby food.

  54. Er, this is all in ironic good fun, right? We all recognize that the brands of fast-food fare are barely distinguishable from one another?

    I mean, satisfying a certain craving when you are hungry is one thing. Putting this food on a scale that includes “good” (discounting the price, because you do get what you pay for, naturally) is a bit of stretch.

    That is to say, I’ve had a few fast-food burgers in my day, and may have enjoyed some of them (mostly mom-and-pop establishments that have gained certain notoriety in their locales). But the brands that have been mentioned here are just that: brands. You may be a supporter of one brand over another, but it is silly to think that any of it is objectively /good/.

    Of course, I’ve also learned that to suggest that soft drinks fall into the same category of universally bad and bad for you, but attractive as a brand, is to be in turn branded a heretic. So be it.

    That being said, the Chill ‘n’ Grill out in Central Ontario College Town where I live has pretty good burgers. Personally, I think that if an establishment makes their own burgers on the premises with range-fed chuck, it will probably be as good as something I can make on my own grill.

    One *cannot* say that about any of the large chains we have been discussing.

  55. I have vague memories of eating the meat-like substances from White Castle, but I must’ve blocked the experience out because I honestly can’t recall whether it was good or bad.

    Now Culver’s–there’s a burger. Beats the other chains around here (Midwest) hands down. Love those Butterburgers!

  56. Another Midwesterner checking in… While I will admit to the odd craving for White Castle – after I had my wisdom teeth out and couldn’t eat solid food for a week, soft little White Castle burgers were *awesome*.

    Besides, everyone knows the best burgers are from otherwise crappy little local bars. (Or awesome local bars – my college bar, Sidetracks in Ypsilanti MI, made some kind of national best burger list a couple years back.) I’ve never been to an In ‘n’ Out, but Fuddruckers isn’t bad. Too bad they only have one bun size, though.

  57. In n’ Out is our company’s special lunch expedition we make once or twice a month. (We just went from the Oakland airport In N’ Out to the Fisherman’s Wharf In N’ Out since our company moved in December.)

    From everything I’ve been told, In N’ Out hadn’t expanded outside of California for a long time, simply because the original group of owners wanted the quality to be maintained. Everything in a California In N’ Out gets shipped in fresh, daily: the meat, the veggies, everything. The meat isn’t pre-cooked and then shipped. It comes from local farms contracted to In N’ Out. Also, I’m told that the In N’ Out kids make a living wage, get benefits, all that….that they try to keep the work environment a decent one, not the grinding toil of working fast food.

    But with the expansion of In N’ Outs to the reaches of Nevada and Arizona, where the food may have to travel more than a day to get there…..it’s possible that they get different ingredients than California In N’ Outs for health reasons. Perhaps the meat is precooked. I dunno. I do know I love the California In N’ Outs, and my brother, who lived for two years in Fresno, still wants In N’ Out every time he comes back. :)

  58. I know people with White Castle habits. When my brother turned twenty, he and his friends drove about an hour to get a crave crate and ate it for three days.
    I don’t know anyone who thinks the sliders are *good*, necessarily. But quality doesn’t matter. It tastes bad, but it’s a continuing bad– you just keep eating them for some reason. Taste of nostalgia, perhaps, maybe the novelty of eating twenty hamburgeroid objects, maybe something else.

    I don’t like burgers at all, though.

  59. Without commenting on all of your crazy-ass burger chains I have never eaten at, I would simply like to point out that I cannot imagine there is a worse burger imaginable than a miltary-grade Salisbury steak (I’m not sure what a Salisbury steak is supposed to be, but in the military it’s low-grade ground beef combined with other stuff to lessen the actual meat content), placed between two slices of white bread and grilled. That is an awful, awful excuse for a burger. White Castle cannot possibly be worse.

    We do have White Castle in Jersey, but the few times I’ve been there with friends, I was vegan and thus did not eat anything.

  60. I had my first In-n-Out burger in Feb. 2005, when I was in Vegas on vacation. As mentioned above, I’d read good things about their treatment of employees in ‘Fast Food Nation’ and wanted to throw them my miniscule share of business. The burgers, fries (hand-cut!) and shakes (REAL ice cream!) were all top-notch, and I made sure to eat there at least one more time before I returned.

    Living directly across the border from Detroit, it was inevitable that I’d give in to my morbid curiosity re: White Castle. I did so only once, several years ago, and put their vaunted product in the same category as Domino’s pizza, i.e. I’d rather eat my own shit than suffer a repeat performance.

  61. clvrmnky:

    “We all recognize that the brands of fast-food fare are barely distinguishable from one another?”

    This is totally incorrect. There is a manifest difference between a In-N-Out burger and a White Castle slider, or between a Culver’s butter burger and an in In-N-Out burger, or between a butter burger and a slider. For that matter, there’s also a substantial taste difference between a Whopper and a Big Mac. May be you can’t taste the difference between all of these, but I sure as heck can. So, no, we’re not all being archly ironic, here.

  62. Though I have not had the opportunity to try either “burger”, I understand White Castle is similar to the Krystal (in the south).

    The only time I have EVER said Krystal is good (or great, or fantastic) is at 3:00am after a fun night on the town, and nothing else is open. Oh, and did I mention, I was in college then? Yeah.

    BTW, just mentioning a food is good, or tasty, or bad, or horrible, does not a food critic make. There is a lot more to critiquing food than mere mention of opinion.

  63. White Castle is *vile*. I ate there once and choked some down, and got physically ill afterwards. Never again!

    I do have a question, though – living in the Seattle area, we have no In-n-Out burger places here, but we do have a few Fatburger places, which are pretty good (I’m from the midwest, where beef is something people know how to cook correctly.), so the question is – does anyone have any direct experience with both In-n-Out and Fatburger who can make a comment on the relative merits of each?

    Caveat: If you’re a local to the Seattle area and you like Dicks burgers, you have damaged taste buds and aren’t qualified to comment. (They’re not as bad as White Castle, but they’re pretty awful.)

  64. I agree that nothing beats an In-n-Out burger, but since I’m in Texas I settle for Storm’s Hamburgers and Texas Burger. Storm’s is always fresh and amazing. Texas Burger is great, plus they have Blue Bell ice cream.

  65. As some people have mentioned, the prime reasons for the existence for White Castle are drunkenness, youth and (possibly) nostalgia.

    When appropriately inebriated, smell and taste are of no match to 3am convenience and the alcohol sopping properties of the buns and grease. Plus, you’re never quite sure whether it was the alcohol or the food that made you sick.

    For youth, eating them is a game, and a rather cheap one. It’s really the same concept as eating many, many tacos at Taco Bell. On dares. Or as competition.

    The nostalgia factor, beyond what others have covered kicks in when you remember that a) you’re not that young anymore and b)excessive drunkenness is bad for continued health, employment and relationship status.

  66. John –

    Did you know there is something WORSE than a White Castle Burger?

    That’s a ~FROZEN~ White Castle Burger!

    Yes indeed, and they sell them at Sam’s Club. Last year my wife and I went shopping there the week before the Super Bowl (it’s the one time of year I’m allowed to eat trash), and she convinced me that I had to try one.

    As Col. Kurtz would say: “The horror… the horror”

  67. I’ve never had a White Castle burger and I’m not in any hurry; the only kind I ever see are the ones in the freezer section at the supermarket. Gag.

    On the other hand, I remember In-N-Out Burgers well, being originally from California; in driving the “inland route” from San Diego to Santa Barbara, my parents would frequently stop at the In-N-Out in Pomona. Yum! When we finally got one in Goleta, that was a truly great day.

    Here in Colorado, the closest thing you can find to an In-N-Out is Good Times, which are about the tastiest fast food burgers you can find here, made from 100% pure ground beef from the Coleman Beef Company. They sell frozen custard, too, which is like the richest ice cream you’ve ever put in your mouth. They’ve just come out with a burger about the size of the White Castle “slider,” which they call “Bambino Burgers” and sell singly or in 3- or 5-packs. I bet they’re about 1,000% better tasting, though.

  68. Oh god, people EAT at White Castle? As in, pay money and put the product in their mouths? *Shudder*. I always thought they were just a front for the CIA or something.

    Best In-and-Out I ever had: we were driving from Tahoe to San Francisco, going though the Sacramento valley on an ungodly hot day (135 degrees in the shade or something). We stop for lunch and have to sit outside because we have our poor little do with us (and can’t leave him in the Car That Will Be An Oven). So there we are, in the 135 degree shade, feeding the dog ice cubes, and out comes out order of a burger and a chocolate shake. AHHHHHHHHHHH! Blessed be, the most amazing food to pass over my taste buds in many a year!

  69. Okay, following up on Todd Stull’s post, I’d love to know the name of that show you watched. I suspect the place they profiled outside of Milwaukee is Solly’s, in Whitefish Bay. My wife hates most real hamburgers, and eats McD’s cheeseburgers because they have so little meat in them when time or location demands, but ADORES Solly’s.

    Me, my preference is for Culvers, which just opened up a shop here in Denver!

  70. As a native St. Louisan, I have to wholeheartedly agree that White Castle is vile. In high school, my friends would often stop there, but I could never even bring myself to taste one because of the smell. Even they never said they were actually good–just cheap and filling.

    Someday, I too will experience the In-N-Out delicacy. I’m sure they’re great. Mostly because, based on multiple reports, they are actually food, whereas White Castle “bellybombers” are not.

  71. Having tried Fatburger and In-N-Out (I live in California, where we understand fast food), I am slightly partial to In-N-Out. There are better non-chains, like Pie ‘n Burger in L.A.

    However, the best burger on earth (as acknowledged by myself, Esquire magazine, and all who taste it) is at a hip little place in Santa Monica called “Father’s Office.” That burger will blow your mind.

  72. “From everything I’ve been told, In N’ Out hadn’t expanded outside of California for a long time, simply because the original group of owners wanted the quality to be maintained. Everything in a California In N’ Out gets shipped in fresh, daily: the meat, the veggies, everything. The meat isn’t pre-cooked and then shipped. It comes from local farms contracted to In N’ Out. Also, I’m told that the In N’ Out kids make a living wage, get benefits, all that….that they try to keep the work environment a decent one, not the grinding toil of working fast food.”

    I think those comments are reasonably accurate. My son is managing a movie theater while working on his graduate degree, and has an In-N-Out very close to the theater. He says that his employees jump at the chance to quit and go to work at the In-N-Out whenever they have an opening. IRRC, their starting pay is something like $11 an hour, plus fringes, and they treat their employees well in other respects also.

    According to my son’s comments, the description of the food is also accurate. He says that the beef is shipped in fresh and never frozen, and that they ship in whole potatoes that are chopped into french fries at each individual restaurant, rather than shipping in frozen fries.

    The chain is reportedly privately owned by one family, and they have been slow to expand because they do not want to go into debt to do so. I’m also told that they do not want to go the franchise route.

    With best wishes,
    – Tom –

  73. In-N-Out’s starting pay, as of last fall, was $9/hour. Regular employees max out at, IIRC, $12/hr. That may have increased with the new minimum wage, but I’m not sure.

    I would point out that this company manages to, apparently, pay (relatively) good wages, sell cheap burgers (the double cheesburger is, what, less than $3?), and make a fair profit.

    Either they’re really good businesspeople, or pretty much every other fast food chain in the country is run by incompetents.

  74. This midwesterner ate at a White Castle once and that was twice to often. There is NO defence for a slider. I mean I meal of klub is dainty fair compared to them. Oof da doesn’t even come close to covering the effect of those things, they are way out on the far side of fee da.

  75. As a resident of the Phoenix Metro area, here’s the scoop on getting a REALLY good burger in Scottsdale:

    The Chuck Box, SE corner strip mall at Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard. Freshly-coarse-ground meat, cooked to order, with an impressive condiments bar. Great peel-on fries, too.

    The Scottsdale location is the second; the original Chuck Box is on University Drive in Tempe, across the street from Arizona State University. Back when I was a student at ASU, more than thirty years ago, I ate at the Chuck Box whenever I could scrape together sufficient pocket change.

    (Back then, you could still get a burger, fries and drink at McDonald’s for less than a buck total. The same at the Chuck Box was about $2.50 in 1970; it was worth the difference, even to an impoverished student.)

  76. Though I have not had the opportunity to try either “burger”, I understand White Castle is similar to the Krystal (in the south).

    It’s similar, but the White Castle is sort of steamed in something like onion soup, and is served without mustard, if I recall. If I recall through the fog of time, Krystals were more like conventional hamburgers.

  77. My initial reaction to this post (without reading comments):

    It is so sad that, had I not visited St. Louis twice in the last year (and shall be moving there in a week), I would have absolutely no idea what the hell a Steak and Shake was.

    I remember, when I was little and growing up in St. Louis, thinking White Castle was good. But that was over ten years ago now, so some things have probably changed. Or I was just delusional as a kid. I mean, you never know.

    Moral of this story (well, okay, not really): New England is deprived of all fast food restaurants except McDonalds, BK and Wendy’s. Urgh.

  78. I keep reading all these comments about Krystal. I’ve decided that I must have a nostalgic memory of that crap palace, similar to some who must re-experience sliders. Anyway, I will continue to long for Krystal Fries (at least until I taste them again).

  79. Actually, there’s a not half-bad burger place in Harvard Square called Good something so New England isn’t totally devoid.

    Of course, California has got your In-n-Out, Fatburger, Tommy’s (which isn’t so much good as… something else. something not healthy.) and so on. And I’m not even COUNTING Mo’ Better Meatty Meat Burger (Yes that’s a real place, it was on Pico. Yes, that’s how it’s spelled) because it closed.

  80. OK so I have some potentially unique (albeit potentially dated) perspective here. I was raised in the Midwest, worked at Steak ‘n Shake, live in Seattle (Dick’s is fun, but Red Mill is the best by far) and have eaten at In n Out on a few occasions.

    First about the Castle. It was cheap calories, but the point was if you didn’t feel queasy–you hadn’t had the full WC experience. Part of the experience used to be the location and average hygiene of the dining room and cooks. Surviving the experience was part of the joy, now the places are clean and hire people who have actually finished rehab as opposed to being due to check in. So the queasy actually started just by going in. But if you wanted something similar to food 24 hours a day and be able to remember the experience physically for at least 24 hours later, WC was the ‘natural’ choice.

    Steak ‘n Shake used to sell only Steakburgers because they were made from only the Steak cuts of beef. Then to save money they started to say they are made from all cuts of beef including the steak cuts. Imagine leading a cow into a machine at one end and delicious frozen pucks of meat coming out the other with no waste in between. Ultimately my time there helped me develop this view of life. When a teenager first starts to work in fast food, they are most excited about enjoying some of the fine fare that they usually had to pay for. Then after working there for a time and observing all the stuff that goes on they usually not only swear off fast food at their restaurant but all fast food for all time. But if they last through that they realize that no one’s dying and as long as they are making informed choices they can thrive and survive even in that environment. This observation works in more than just the fast food industry too. (I’m in software now and it applies all too easily.)

    I’ve discovered that In n Outs really do vary depending upon location. I didn’t really care for one in Camarillo, but the first one I ate at (more a pure drive in one) somewhere in the LA area was great.

    But ultimately no queasy and sometimes you just crave the queasy.


  81. Another vote for Burgerville here; I grew up around Vancouver, WA, and they were the greatest burgers ever. Went back last year and was pleased to find that it wasn’t just the haze of nostalgia that made them good. Strangely enough, there’s a summer-only Burgerville in Polson, MT, but I’m not sure if it’s part of the chain or a mom/pop shop with a coincidental connection of name.

    I don’t understand the hype over Fuddruckers, either. The SO says that he likes them because he can get a full pound rare burger, but we could make that at home for a lot less money, and not have to deal with the kitchy atmosphere. Their chili fries are pretty tasty, though, as are their brownie sundaes. :3

    I can only thank my mother for refusing to succumb to childhood curiosity of White Castle. Of course, she’s from Southern CA, so the justification for that is finally starting to make sense. ^_~

  82. White Castles are… strange. They’re not hamburgers in any reasonable sense of the word “hamburger”. They’re more like dinner rolls with this strange layer of a substance smeared inside them.

    I have a friend who loves and craves White Castles. He was responsible for the incident in which I ate the largest number of White Castles that I have ever eaten, in Manhattan, at a White Castle restaurant in the shadow of the Empire State Building. I ate several of these little un-hamburgers, and the strange thing is, after a few I started to kind of want them, or at least not hate them.

    The craving, fortunately, did not persist. But I think that White Castles may have some sort of psychotropic effect.

  83. John:

    “For that matter, there’s also a substantial taste difference between a Whopper and a Big Mac.”

    Ok, you’ve lost me there. People actually eat at those places? Like, people /here/?

    I thought these places were just a tax on the poor — at least in the US where fast food is actually cheap.

    Sorry, but the differences between one fast food burger and the next, while detectable, are still pretty thin. I can’t help but picture a graph comparing your various burgers on some arbitrary scale of “quality”.

    Sure, you could stretch that x-axis out to make the differences obvious to the human eye. It still doesn’t make the food taste any better if you do so. At some point differences like this get lost in the variability. I do like the notion of a quality burger reified to some Q that can be plotted on a graph, though.

    Like I said, don’t get me wrong. I dig a juicy burger as much as the next omnivore. I’m just not convinced *any* of the fine establishments mentioned here offer up a product this omnivore would enjoy.

  84. Wow. Just when I think corporate America has stamped out regional places, I read this. I’ve never heard of ANY of these places people say they like (except in-and-out), but I do know no one in their right mind goes to White Castle.

    I confess: I eat Wendy’s burgers, no ketchup, no mayo. I don’t claim they’re great, only that they are not cooked dead like McD’s or that soupy slop BK serves. Hey, I only have so much time for lunch.

    Byron–do you mean bgood?? The original is a block from my house in the South End. Yum! And the Drunk Elvis? I mainline it.

  85. White Castle is the Krystal that’s north of the Mason-Dixon line. Regardless of how it’s branded, it’s still a slider burger — a greasy little blob of low-quality meat that slides its way from your mouth to the other end of your digestive tract in 30 minutes or less.

    The best fast-food burgers I’ve ever had the joy of eating were from Whattaburger, and Culver’s butter-burgers.

  86. jas: I really can’t remember the name of the show, or the place with the Butterburgers, but Solly’s is a name that is jogging my memory. I remember seeing the outside of the building. I think it kind of looked like a house.

    Aha. Did a little web search, and the show I saw was called “Hamburger America”. It was Solly’s that was profiled. Check out http://www.hamburgeramerica.com/ for more info. One thing I have to disagree about the documentary, they claim the Billy Goat Tavern makes good hamburgers. NOT! Just because they make fun of it on Saturday Night Live, I can tell you that their hamburgers are nothing special.

  87. Are we sticking to chain burgers here? If so, White Castle sucks. Had ’em in Ohio at a WC in Mt. Vernon near Gambier. Ugh.

    BEst burgers? And this is from a guy who’s lived up and down the East Coast.

    1) Cafe Jaffa Cheddar Burger, Boston. Big burger, big slices of cheese. Real Cheddar. Best washed down with Heineken. Or Bud.

    2) Tim’s Burger, Columbus Ave. Boston. A burger bigger than your head with mucho atmosphere too boot. Goes good with a couple of cokes or better yet Budweisers. Tim’s is one of those joints for career drinkers. And people who like a big good burger.

  88. As a Midwesterner, I am going to say that White Castle is fit for dogs and In-N-Out is the mecca of burger paradise. Oh, and Fuddrucker’s is only good if you want an ostrich burger.

  89. clvermnky:

    “I’m just not convinced *any* of the fine establishments mentioned here offer up a product this omnivore would enjoy.”

    All I can say is that’s spoken like someone who hasn’t had an In-N-Out Double Double, animal style.

  90. Back in the early sixties while attending C.W. Post College on Long Island we sometimes hit a cheap fast food burger place — and given the forty-five year gap in time I can’t remember if it was a White Castle or a White Tower — that sold burgers at two for a quarter. I thought they were vile and inedible but I came from upstate where we still ate burgers at genuine old-fashioned diners. Two for a quarter sounds really cheap, but this was in an era where a cup of coffee plus a donut only cost fifteen cents at a Dunkin Donuts shop.

    Should you happen to wander into southern Rhode Island may I suggest avoiding McD’s and BK and visiting Crazy Burger in Narragansett
    Crazy Burger with all kinds of burgers (beef or turkey or even vegan) or The Mews Tavern in Wakefield with good burgers and an awesome variety of beers on tap. (Although it would be silly to come here to eat a hamburger when we have so many good seafood places.)

  91. White Castle is the Krystal that’s north of the Mason-Dixon line.

    Mostly true, although there was one in Nashville when I was there (late 80’s.) There was also a Krystal in case one wanted to do side-by-side comparisons.

  92. Whoopers are however its spelled from Burger King are great, white castle not so bad, no more white castle bashing haters. It cant be that bad since its been in business since 1970’s or something. Bessides best burger ever is from Corner Bistro in the west village, none of u other burgers have anything on it.

  93. Sam:

    “It cant be that bad since its been in business since 1970’s or something.”

    Heh. You’re off by about 50 years. However, this is just another variation of “popular” is assumed to be the equivalent of “good,” which ain’t necessarily so.

  94. I agree completely on the superiority of In-N-Out. I agree that White Castle burgers aren’t actually burgers, or even, probably, food. I agree with these statements even though every once in a very great while I succumb to an urge to purchase and consume White Castle burgers. I do this in much the same manner as a 19th-century poet swilling laudanum, aware that I’m doing dark violence to my basic essence.

    Also: oh, man, Bruce Arthurs had to mention the Chuck Box in Tempe, Arizona. Now that’s a burger. I haven’t had one in over twenty years, and I want one right now.

  95. John:

    However, this is just another variation of “popular” is assumed to be the equivalent of “good,” which ain’t necessarily so.

    Maybe so but your final analysis will always be flawed, since its still around for 70 yrs and that speaks for itself. When there are so many other options, even if its cheap there are still other cheap alternatives.

  96. I like White Castle burgers, are they the best I ever had no, but neither are they the worst, they fill a niche that some Americans enjoy and that is a meat with holes punched in them shapped as a square. There is no such thing aa a chicken nugget that is naturally occuring in the world but people eat that crap every day, if there is room for chicken nuggets in world cuisine then there is room for the mighty White Castle Burger.

  97. Sam:

    “Maybe so but your final analysis will always be flawed, since its still around for 70 yrs and that speaks for itself.”

    Well, there are a lot of crappy-yet-popular products that have been around for decades, so I’m not entirely sure what your point is, Sam. The analysis (“White Castle sucks”) isn’t flawed; it’s just that some people apparently enjoy eating food that sucks. I cannot hazard why they would do so, but since I’m not being forced to eat it, it’s not my problem. I say: Hey, if it makes you happy to eat food that sucks, then go ahead and eat your sucky food.

  98. John Scalzi:

    I’m not saying your not entitled to your opinion, but what I’m saying is that millions of Americans a yr who vote with their dollars can’t be wrong…and yes there are many of crappy products out there to you, again you being the keyword, the vast majority of others would disagree.

  99. Sam:

    “what I’m saying is that millions of Americans a yr who vote with their dollars can’t be wrong”

    Yes, they can be, and in this case, yes they are. You’re still making the “popular = good” argument. There is a lot of popular crap, and apparently White Castle is in that subset.

    I’m not sure what you want out of this, Sam. I’m not going to agree that White Castle is good, because it sucks, and I’m not going to agree that White Castle’s popularity is an indicator of its quality, because it’s not. I don’t quarrel with the fact that people like White Castle, nor do I think that there’s a problem with them liking White Castle, since Lord knows there I thinks I like which I’m also aware pretty much suck, too.

    But just people like something doesn’t mean I need to reluctantly acknowledge that, shucks, that thing might be good. People like a lot of stuff that sucks. So, no, Sam. White Castle sliders well and truly suck, and suck in a manifest and obvious way, and people who enjoy them are enjoying food that sucks. I’m not sure how many more times I need to say this.

  100. Oh man, you guys had to mention the Chuck Box. The fact that I can remember their burgers in every tiny detail is only partly because a Chuck Box burger was the first thing I ate after a friend realized I’d gotten way too into one of those liquid protein starvation diets that were popular at the time, and dragged me off to have some real food. I had another one a couple of weeks later and it was just as good, though it lacked the intense psychedelic color and doubled edges of the first one.

    A well-made Whataburger is definitely worth eating. So is … dang. I’ve forgotten the name of the really good burger place in the food court of the Prudential Center in Boston. But Fuddruckers? Not memorable. It’s just a big burger with the same set of treatments and toppings you can get at any full-scale coffee shop.

    So far I’m batting zero on keeping sliders down. They’re weird little fetish-food objects, burgers only in the sense topologists have in mind when they classify doughnuts and coffee cups as being the same shape. I suspect sliders only work if you get started on them early, the way that Aussies eat Vegemite because their parents scraped it onto their teething rusks when they were still too young to fight back.

  101. I understood you the first time. I’m sorry I can’t agree with you that the majority of dollar holding people who go to white castle and such places are wrong. Ford is a good example its a popular American car company but their gas millage sucks and as a result they are loosing market shares, your theory of “popular = good” if it were accurate Ford wouldnt be closing down factories and terminating another 9,000 US jobs. It may be crappy burgers according to you and other like minded peopleto, but they are good crappy burgers

  102. Sam:

    “I’m sorry I can’t agree with you that the majority of dollar holding people who go to white castle and such places are wrong.”

    The good news here, Sam, is that I don’t actually need to you to agree with me. You’re totally free to disagree, and I embrace your right to do so. And as I’ve said several times, people aren’t not wrong enjoy White Castle, because if they enjoy White Castle, why shouldn’t they go? Lots of people do incomprehensible things, and I don’t need to stop them from doing so. They’re merely wrong if they wish to suggest that a White Castle slider is somehow a good burger. At which point they are so wrong that it’s all the rest of us can do not to giggle uncontrollably in their presence. Because — to restate yet again — White Castle sliders totally and completely suck.

    Your Ford example, incidentally, is really bad from a logical standpoint. Positing that “good” and “popular” are not equivalent states in no way implies that what is “popular” must be “bad.” It merely means that “popular” has a different meaning than “good” — that the two words mean separate things.

    It is entirely possible that something that is good is also popular (see: The Beatles, Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Ice Cream, et al), although White Castle does not exist in this set. However, when things are good and popular, they are not good because they are popular; their goodness is independent of their popularity (it is possible, of course, that they might be popular because they are good). Likewise, many bad things are unpopular, but they are not bad because they are unpopular. The two qualities are separate entities.

  103. Harvard Square actually has two pretty-darn-good burger places — the aforementioned b.good (started by two childhood friends who used to get drunk in bars talking about starting a restaurant until one’s girlfriend got sick of hearing it), and the more venerable Mr. Bartley’s Burger cottage, a long-standing institution which frequently has lines out the door right up ’til 9 PM closing time, despite a somewhat suspicious regard for newfangled innovations like credit cards (“real food, real money”), or restaurants having their own web sites.

  104. Harvard Square actually has two pretty-darn-good burger places — the aforementioned b.good (started by two childhood friends who used to get drunk in bars talking about starting a restaurant until one’s girlfriend got sick of hearing it), and the more venerable Mr. Bartley’s Burger cottage, a long-standing institution which frequently has lines out the door right up ’til 9 PM closing time, despite a somewhat suspicious regard for newfangled innovations like credit cards (“real food, real money”), or restaurants having their own web sites.

  105. Harvard Square actually has two pretty-darn-good burger places — the aforementioned b.good (started by two childhood friends who used to get drunk in bars talking about starting a restaurant until one’s girlfriend got sick of hearing it), and the more venerable Mr. Bartley’s Burger cottage, a long-standing institution which frequently has lines out the door right up ’til 9 PM closing time, despite a somewhat suspicious regard for newfangled innovations like credit cards (“real food, real money”), or restaurants having their own web sites.

  106. Harvard Square actually has two pretty-darn-good burger places — the aforementioned b.good (started by two childhood friends who used to get drunk in bars talking about starting a restaurant until one’s girlfriend got sick of hearing it), and the more venerable Mr. Bartley’s Burger cottage, a long-standing institution which frequently has lines out the door right up ’til 9 PM closing time, despite a somewhat suspicious regard for newfangled innovations like credit cards (“real food, real money”), or restaurants having their own web sites.

  107. Harvard Square actually has two pretty-darn-good burger places — the aforementioned b.good (started by two childhood friends who used to get drunk in bars talking about starting a restaurant until one’s girlfriend got sick of hearing it), and the more venerable Mr. Bartley’s Burger cottage, a long-standing institution which frequently has lines out the door right up ’til 9 PM closing time, despite a somewhat suspicious regard for newfangled innovations like credit cards (“real food, real money”), or restaurants having their own web sites.

  108. Harvard Square actually has two pretty-darn-good burger places — the aforementioned b.good (started by two childhood friends who used to get drunk in bars talking about starting a restaurant until one’s girlfriend got sick of hearing it), and the more venerable Mr. Bartley’s Burger cottage, a long-standing institution which frequently has lines out the door right up ’til 9 PM closing time, despite a somewhat suspicious regard for newfangled innovations like credit cards (“real food, real money”), or restaurants having their own web sites.

  109. Harvard Square actually has two pretty-darn-good burger places — the aforementioned b.good (started by two childhood friends who used to get drunk in bars talking about starting a restaurant until one’s girlfriend got sick of hearing it), and the more venerable Mr. Bartley’s Burger cottage, a long-standing institution which frequently has lines out the door right up ’til 9 PM closing time, despite a somewhat suspicious regard for newfangled innovations like credit cards (“real food, real money”), or restaurants having their own web sites.

  110. Kewpee in Lima… My fifty-eight year old heart remembers you fondly with five year old eyes. The ONLY burger joint with a car turntable (to get out of the lot you had to drive onto it, wait for the guy to throw the switch which caused your car to be turned around so you could leave). My uncle Bill Baker used to order Baker’s Dozens and would get 13 at the 12 price. Neat place.

    Whataburger is really good for fast food. Only in the deep south…

    The original Fuddrucker’s is about three miles from my house here in San Antonio. Definitely not a fancy joint.

    One of the reasons for living in south Texas is that there are NO White Castles anywhere near here.

    We used to call WC’s “White Assholes” for good reasons.


  111. Hmmm. The one time I ate at an IN-n-Out, I was sick for the next two days. Meanwhile, I grew up eating White Castles with no ill effects. My stomach must be wired all wrong. ;)

    Other than that, I’m not really much of a burger connoisseur. Most places with burgers, if they also serve something else, I tend to order the something else. Nothing against the burgers, which I’d also eat if I actually got them.

    Meanwhile, if someone wants a Chinese Food version of a burger, there is now such a thing as a “cheese steak egg roll” at a takeout near here. Basically it’s ground beef, some kind of white cheese (provolone? american? I’m not real sure), and onions, in an eggroll wrapper and deep fried. Fusion cuisine at its most awesome. :)

  112. I think Harold and Kumar go to White Castle is a much better movie name than Harold and Kumar go to In-N-Out. Can’t comment on the quality as i’ve never had either. Growing up in NYC I was fond of the burgers at the Brew Burger chain. I recall the burgers as being fairly thick.

  113. Sam is obviously a “pure Capitalist” for his argument that Popular is not the same as, but more important than Good. I’m sure he’d also argue for the legalization of the 10 most popular illegal drugs. But that’s not what I came here to say.

    I wrote a piece for MSNBC.com about Weird Fast Food that was relatively non-judgmental, but still it makes me more of a ‘fast food critic’ than most and I’ll use that to justify my comments on Burgers in Southern California.

    “In N Out”: Quality all the way, but order the burger ‘Animal Style’ to get the grilled onions and the fries ‘Well Done’ for crispiness. And don’t be afraid to make special requests; they’ll try almost anything and very rarely get it wrong. With the ‘Double Double’ only 6 cents more than a Big Mac these days, Mickey D’s is dead.

    “Fatburger”: They aim for a ‘the way you’d make it yourself’ feel on the burgers (starting with a ball of raw burger and smooshing it into an irregular patty) and by that standard, they’re near perfect. Excellent quality, but it just feels weird paying for somebody else to do it that way.

    “Tommy’s”: Maybe the reason there are no White Castles in So Cal, because their burgers fill the “junk to eat at 3AM while drunk” bill. Standard size generic meat patty with slices of tomato and pickle thicker than the meat and a glob of “chili” the consistency of bathroom caulk (and if you like your chili hot, you’d say just as much taste).

    “Jack in the Box”: After their e-coli outbreak in 1990, they worked hard to improve their overall quality (good) and to kill germs, overcook everything (bad). But extra points in my book for making Real Onion Rings. Yet, their “2 for 99 cent” Tacos are the pseudo-Mexican equivalent of White Castle sliders. Mystery meat with hot sauce; not really food but potentially addictive.

    “Carls Jr.” (co-owned with Hardees, menus vary): Speaking of Real Onion Rings, they justified their existance with the Western Burger: cheese, bacon, barbecue sauce and Rings instead of raw onions. Everything they’ve come up with since is Proudly Politically and Nutritionally Incorrect (first burger over 1200 calories) or a runner-up for my Weird list (Philly Cheesesteak Burger?)

    And you can get frozen White Castle burgers at the local Ralphs/Kroger (with occasional coupons in the Sunday paper). To date, I’ve never dared. After this, I now know I never will.

  114. MarkDF: Yes, that’s the one. I don’t live there anymore so I’m not sure when it showed up (sometime before last January I suppose), but I approve of its existence.

    Charles: I don’t think Bartley’s really belongs in the fast food category, though they do make a Tasty Burger.

  115. Me personal I love White Castle. Brand new One was just built here and I’m dying for it to open…LOVE THOSE SLYDERS!!!

  116. If I proposed taking my wife to White Castle on Valentine’s Day, the divorce would breathtaking in the rapidity of its onset.

  117. Bah. Foolish Americans. The best chain burgers come from Harvey’s. Also, a double double is coffee with 2 creams and 2 sugars from Tim Horton’s – I’m not really sure how to get all excited about that.

  118. When people ask me at what point do I consider someone old, I answer with, “When they stop liking White Castle.”

    It’s cheap, open 24 hours (except on Sundays when it’s closes for about three hours to “clean”), and shaped like a big castle–it’s as if they created it for bored kids with no money who like to stay up all night (see also: my friends and I).

    Although I can’t think of any burger that tastes worse than a slider, I still think they’re pretty good. Also, White Castle’s fries are tons of awesome. Period.

  119. Ah, fries.

    The one place where fast-food is worth the trip for me. It’s dead easy simple to make a burger that basically murders any fast-food monstrosity, but it is much harder to make anything like some of the better “frenched” fries out there.

    We don’t eat much fast-food around here, but the places we /do/ choose have one thing in common: passable fries.

    Cripes, now I’m hungry.

  120. It’s been fun reading these comments, but then I got to Sisyphus’s one about Father’s Office and had to write.

    I’ve lived in Santa Monica for ten years, and Father’s…ah, Father’s Office was a special place that’s now dead to me.

    Father’s used to be a mellow tavern that served fine microbrews and rare wines. They had a tap just for root beer. They hadn’t allowed smoking since 1985, a good thirteen years before the state ban. They also didn’t have food, except on special theme party occasions. If you wanted to eat and drink, you’d walk down two doors to Louise’s, order up, and they’d deliver to the bar. It was a great neighborhood place where my friends could get together for a long, cheap night out, a rarity in a part of town that was getting more rarified and expensive.

    And then the owners sold the place, and it never was the same again.

    First, they fired the long-time staff. Then they got rid of the root beer tap. And then, then came the burgers.

    The burgers. Dry-aged Angus, carmelized onions, Maytag blue cheese, all on a ciabatta bun. A mighty burger, a thick burger, a burger that crush the appetite and make you forget about getting that fourth (or was it the fifth?) pint. It also cost eleven bucks, but by then we were all making enough that we didn’t care about the cost.

    And then came the review in Esquire. And then the New York Times. And then every yuppie asshole with three-hundred dollar jeans and gelled-bedhead hair had to bring their anorexic bleach-blonde yoga instructor girlfriends in so they could have The Burger. Every night, all night, even on the dead and boring Mondays when we’d used to go for beer and pizza (which we couldn’t get anymore, of course, because of The Burger).

    It broke my heart, because it was no longer my place to go. Friends would come to town and say, “Hey, I heard about this great place nearby,” and I’d have to send them off on their own. I’ll wait for a lot of things, but not for an eleven dollar burger in a crowded room where you have to fight for breathing room. Thank you, no.

    Yes, I understand that it’s a business. I understand that the point is to make as much money as possible. But there’s a balance between making a living and being a part of a neighborhood, and the people who run Father’s Office now tipped way over to the money side. And in a city that needs its hangouts and places that grow on their own, that’s unforgivable.

    But it is a tasty burger, I’ll give it that.

  121. And don’t get me started about Mo’ Better Meaty Meat Burgers on Fairfax. God, I miss that place…

    There are still good burgers to be had here, thank God. In-N-Out, of course, and the Apple Pan and The Counter on Ocean Park (go for the feats of Burger Engineering). Though now that we’re buying the ol’ grassfed bison, it’s tough to find anything better.

  122. As a native Californian, I had to weigh in and support In-N-Out. For their price I personally think they are the best burgers availible. I refuse to eat most fast food (besides chinese fast food. Yum!) however I am always up for an In-N-Out burger.

    Also, if you want to clog your arteries you must try their Animal Style Fries. Which is fries with melted cheese on top covered with their sauce (a really yummy thousand island like dressing) and then topped with GRILLED ONIONS!

    It is heavenly and no other burger joint comes close! Everyone should try them at least once,they are worth it.

  123. I’ve lived all my life in the midwest, and I’ve been to White Castle once. So let’s try not to tie the midwest too closely to White Castle. I’m not sure how the nearby one even stays in business, as I know no one who actually eats there, yet they still remain…

    I’ve never gotten to try an In-N-Out, either. Never been anywhere where there was one. I did try Jack in the Box when I was down in Texas last year, though, and those were pretty good. And does anyone know if Carl Jr’s is the same (wherever it’s at) as Hardee’s is here? They’ve always struck me as quite similar.

    And some of those dead possums on rural highways take a lot of skill and perfect timing to flatten, by the way.

  124. My husband, a long-time midwesterner, can’t even stand the smell of a White Castle, much less their food. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten there, but I agree on the smell.

    I actually prefer Steak n’ Shake to Fuddruckers now. Fuddruckers is just vile. Vile!

    The best burgers in KC used to be the Longbranch near 87th Street, but they aren’t using ground sirloin anymore.

    My favorite burger joint currently is Fred P Otts. If you pull apart the meat you can tell it’s a hand made patty, not a frozen patty. And their dogs are good too. Culvers is close, but sometimes I don’t like the taste of the meat. My husband could eat it every night. I’m more of an occasional Culver’s lover.

    I’m going to send this post to my husband. He’ll get a kick out of it.

  125. Ate at my first In-n-Out last Fall on a vacation to San Diego. Not bad at all. Better than most fast food burgers.

    And believe it or not, we actually have a Culver’s here in N. Texas ;) South side of McKinney, TX on Hwy. 75. Mmmm…buuuuuuutter burgers (and frozen custard :)

    But the title of “favorite fast food burger” belongs to the Blake’s Lotaburger chain in New Mexico. Tho’ maybe it’s partly the nostalgia from memories of road trips thru the Navajo Reservation…

  126. Not to bring Skyline into the debate again (although it’s a tactic that has served me well!) but White Castle is a bit like that.

    Is Skyline “chili?” My mom, a “come-here” about 40 years ago, says no, but she likes it anyway. If you described White Castle as a “hamburger” to someone who had never experienced slider goodness, they would probably hit you based on the smell alone. But present it as an oniony treat and they will be your best friend for life! Or, they still might hit you.

    Is carob equal to chocolate? Is the restaurant where they steam the little square bites anything like a “castle?” Can the slider be compared to a Whopper (or, better yet, the “momma burger”?) Heck no. But that’s not really the point. Eat or do not eat, just don’t try to make alot of comparisons.

    p.s. I don’t think I could stomach something called a “Chuck Box.”

  127. John stated, “…there are a lot of crappy-yet-popular products that have been around for decades…”

    And, God help me, I had this urge to light into Microsoft with a stream of profanity such as only paratroopers can muster.

    However, I’ll take a pass on that, and just sit here and nod sagely, while I think about M$, and Nissan, and department store bicycles.

  128. P.S. to Nathan, where did you go, anyway, Gold Star? Because “soup” is a good description of what they serve. I have not had it in about 30 years but I still remember, yuck. Also they had Pete Rose as their spokesmodel for awhile, back in the day. What can I say, I’m not really a West Side person.

    A semi-OK recipe was recently in Cook’s Country and can be found here.

  129. Nathan: “White Castle actually BRAGS about the fact that their burgers are STEAM-GRILLED!!!!!!”

    As far as I can tell, they’re referring to the fact that when they grill the burger-like substance with the bun on top, steam from the BLS saturates the bun.

    The comparison of White Castle and Krystal is accurate – they are, for all intents and purposes, the same place with different names.

    I haven’t been to Checker’s in probably ten years, but back then it was wonderful. Not sure of any connection to Rally’s – perhaps they share the same relationship as White Castle/Krystal. Culver’s is pretty good, but nothing I’d go our of my way for. Fuddrucker’s has gone downhill (IMO), but Steak n’ Shake is okay. I’ve never been to In n’ Out.

    JT: “And does anyone know if Carl Jr’s is the same (wherever it’s at) as Hardee’s is here?”

    I think Carls Jr bought out Hardees and made them virtually the same place. There was a time when Hardees was a lot different than it is today, but it didn’t survive.

    Also, the worst fast-food place I’ve ever eaten at was Jack-In-The-Box. That was twenty years ago though, right before the e coli outbreak, so perhaps they are better now (you couldn’t pay me enough money to find out).

  130. Phillip J. Birmingham: “By the way, I can’t be the only person who thinks of “A Clockwork Orange” when reading this thread, right?”

    Or perhaps Soylent Green?

  131. Double-double, grilled onions. please. (When at Mickey D’s, I’ll get an ‘Old Fashioned’, which is, IMHO, better than their Big Mac.)

    Fun is being at an In-n-Out when the semi shows up to deliver the ingredients: crates of lettuce and tomatoes, sacks of potatoes, racks of buns. (No, they don’t do franchises.) The original is, or was, at Garvey and Francisquito, north of I-10 in Baldwin Park. They built another one on the south side of the freeway (at the same place) and were using it for training.

    Worst Burger ever: a friend ordered a Wimpy burger in London. Couldn’t finish it, it was that bad.

  132. One summer, I pretty much lived off of microwaveable foods. One of those foods was a box of frozen White Castle burgers. Haven’t touched them since.

    As far as GOOD burgers go. . . If you’re in Colorado, have a good appetite, and are willing to wait (this isn’t fast food), track down a Conway’s Red Top. Also praised in Fast Food Nation, if I recall.

  133. I may have to retract my speculation that White Castles are outside the burger genre. See this stunningly informative article, which concludes:

    The sandwich we think of today as the hamburger was almost certainly invented by Walter Anderson, a Wichita, Kan., grill cook who first made the sandwich in either 1915 or 1916. Anderson was the first to cook standardized, flat ground-beef patties on a custom griddle and to serve them on identical white buns. The claim is supported both by nearly contemporaneous newspaper accounts and by the fact that Anderson, with his partner, E.J. “Billy” Ingram, founded in 1921 a restaurant called White Castle, which still makes a nearly identical sandwich today.

  134. My wife is soooo tired of me wishing for an In-N-Out near me. I used to live in Las Vegas, but now live outside Philly.

    I remember my first trip, at 2 in the morning with munchies to an INOB. Saw the menu: Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Double Cheeseburger, fries, shakes and soda. That’s it. Then I had one…holy cow they are good. And the fresh made fries are better than any other fries you can buy.

    And I can’t stand White Castle or Krystal or any of the other gut grenade makers.

    Please, just one INOB on the east coast….

  135. I don’t know if they are outside of Washington, but Mikey Burgers are THE BEST! They go well with onion rings and lemonade!

    I’m also partial to the Stacker from Burger King, but that’s because of my undying love of bacon on my burgers.

  136. A few things. I’m so glad someone else knows about Kewpee’s in Lima. They no longer have that thingy which turns your car around, but it’s still an interestingly retro place with good burgers and they do a decent chocolate malt, too. I wish there was one closer to me.

    White Castle =/= Krystal. WC burgers are more minimalist, have more onion flavor and are decidedly more squishy. Krystal is somewhat more like a “real” burger. I prefer WC, and the little suckers have never backfired on me, not even on long roadtrips. Even the jalapeno cheeseburgers. Gaze upon me in awe, for my stomach lining is mighty!

    Re: Maid-Rites, I’m less fond of them, but every once in a while I like to putter on up to Greenville for a few. (With another chocolate malt, you can surely see a pattern here.) I don’t consider them burger like either, because they don’t come with the ketchup my sophisticated palate requires.

  137. You hit the nail right on the head with your anti-slider venom. You are of course correct in saying they’re not hamburgers in any non-delusional sense of the word. They’re gelatinous wads of roadkill thoughtfully served in individual cardboard sarcophagi in order to facilitate immediate burial.

    But damn, every once in a while I drive by a store, inhale the heady miasma of steam-driven decomposition and I just gotta have ’em, whatever they are. I suck down a sack of 10 in greasy bliss … and spend the next three days regretting it. Just back up the truck, Mr. Whipple!

    Also, sliders make a terrific turkey stuffing. Let me know if you want the recipe.

  138. Aren’t there any defenders of White Castle out there? I grew up in The Bronx, far from the Midwest, and love White Castle. There must be at least 6 of them in The Bronx.

    I remember my family picking up 100 burgers in the summer and eating them outside in the old neighborhood. I had an obese uncle who once knocked off 30 in one sitting.

    I consider myself to have a somewhat sophisticated palate. I love good Italian food and Sushi and do not like chain restaurants. But somehow I love White Castle. (Blue box only, I don’t care for the cheeseburgers.) I love the way that the onion taste lingers in your mouth for the rest of the day. And then there is the extra bonus of the colon cleansing that you get the next day.

    White Castles are a staple of my Super Bowl parties. One year I tried to go healthy and had to direct my friend to circle back to the Bronx because of the uproar over no White Castle hamburgers.

    Less than a week until my next White Castle.



  139. Man, forget all that. Here in the deep south, it’s all about Whataburger. No chain offers a better burger anywhere.

    (Although, if you find yourself in Dallas, stop by Keller’s Drive-In at Loop 12 and Abrams and have a #5. That burger is darn close to the best in the whole country.)

  140. But somehow I love White Castle. (Blue box only, I don’t care for the cheeseburgers.) I love the way that the onion taste lingers in your mouth for the rest of the day.

    Which is precisely one of the things I despise about White Castle.

  141. White Castle sliders bear the same relationship to real burgers as what 90% (and I’m being generous–it’s probably more like 95-99%) of Americans think of as beer has to real beer. As Monty Python instructs us, “American beer is like making love in a canoe–it’s f—ing close to water”. But, like American lager, it has its diehard devotees.

    The Midwest does have Culver’s, and probably a few other regional places worth going to. Steak ‘n’ Shake is relatively pricey compared to other joints, but the burgers are made to order and it’s open 24/7–just the place to hit after a night of serious drinking to get a grease cushion for your stomach.

  142. alkali: Thanks for the link. Unfortunately for the Times, it’s wrong. Guy should do more research before telling people to do more research. As Cassie upthread alluded, the hamburger was invented in Erie County, NY, by Akronites. They invented the ice cream cone, too. So there. (Not you, alkali, just…[gestures dismissively toward Los Angeles])

  143. Fatburger all the way: fresh-tasting and juicy burgers, cheerful staff, and good music. I like to get a fried egg on my burger, and the skinny fries extra-crispy.

    In’n’Out is OK, but the sauce is weird.

    Johnny Rocket’s is pretty good, nice char-tasting burgers, and the old fashioned sodas are great.

    Cassel’s in LA’s Koreatown is overrated– good burger, a bit of a Soup Nazi attitude, certainly not the best in LA. The mustardy potato salad is great, though.

    Father’s Office is excellent but who can deal with the crowds?

    The ground sirloin sliders at the Arsenal are very good.

    I have never tried White Castle, and after reading all these comments just the thought of doing so is making me nauseated.

  144. As Cassie upthread alluded, the hamburger was invented in Erie County, NY, by Akronites.

    The dispute seems to revolve around whether the bun is a necessary element of the hamburger. White Castle’s claim is based on the pairing of the burger with the bun.

  145. I spent several years living in Alabama. Before I left, my husband and I finally tried Crystal. Same concept as WC. I can still upset him by mentioning that dining experience.

    We are back in Texas now, where it’s probably illegal to do that to beef.

    Here in Austin, we have a Culver’s. Quite a few Whataburgers. Shady Grove (www.theshadygrove.com) makes a nice upscale burger. And then there’s Sandy’s — a great place where you can get a burger, fries and custard for about $5, and then sit at a picnic table to eat.

  146. Jeff Hentosz: Well, the link you provide to Menches Bros. has this to say, “Only the finest cuts of beef are used in the Menches hamburger. Buns are baked to specification and corn flour dusted, just the way they were served at the turn of the century.

    That would lead me to speculate that they were using buns for their hamburgers before White Castle, since WC didn’t start up until 1921.

  147. *S* Ahhh, pickin’ on the old staple. I grew up in St. Louis and now live in Denver and can only get my slyder fix by buying them frozen. Sure there are other burger places and good ones at that. We just got a Culver’s a few weeks ago and I’ll agree their butter burger is awesome but there’s something about a White Castle that only WC has. Make fun if you will but steaming those Onions, placing a little patty on top and smelling that great aroma from the Onions permeating the beef patty while gently placing a pickle and bun top over it is heaven my friend!

    You’re entitled to your opinion, even it is wrong! ;)

  148. White Castle and Krystal are alike, but different. They have a mysterious call to those of us who grew up with them. (I’m a native Nashvillian and we had both) But I’d never say they were a good hamburger. Culver’s is pretty good as is Fatburger. In-N-Out is spectacularly good. I can’t wait to visit my in-laws just to go to In-N-Out. But the best burgers I have ever had are from a small chain in Nashville called Fat Mo’s. Great food, great service and the regular Fat Mo is 1/2 lb of meat. In quantity and quality it laughs at most others.

  149. Something that Mike and others of us who grew up in The Bronx know is that a Super Bowl get-together is meaningless without the White Castles. He should be settling in right about now getting ready to feast on the sacks and sacks that Mercurio is deliverng to the Super Bowl party. Here in Houston we don’t have the real ones so I have to settle for the…gulp! I’m ashamed to admit it but…the frozen ones sold in boxes of six at the local Kroger supermarket. They’re definitely not the same but the little blue insignia on the tiny boxes and the smell of the onions sizzling in the micowave bring back a wave of nostalgia. (That’s nostalgia, not nausea!) Mike, they will never understand…

  150. I had the best burger this weekend at Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Tampa, FL. I understand the place is big in the DC and Baltimore areas. The fries were excellent too!!

  151. I had In-N-Out for the first time last Feb, at a conference in California. Went out of my way to find one because of the good reviews.

    I was not disappointed. Fisherman’s Wharf served me up a good burger. The fries were among the freshest tasting I had ever had, and the burger blew all other fast food burgers out of the water.

    The only fast food type of place that compares for me is Five Guys in Virginia and Maryland. It has a slightly more classy feel, but the burgers are about as cheap but good. (Fries also top notch, and they give you all the free peanuts you can eat.). They have unique toppings too (where else lets you put green pepper on your burger?). So, seek out a Five Guys if you are in the DC area. You won’t be disappointed. Like In-N-Out, they start the burger and fries when you order, cut the fries in house (I’ve never seen the cool fry cutter machine at Five Guys, but you can see the bags of potatoes they use.), and use fresh ingredients. Basically, its a different burger, but also high quality – its the East’s answer to In-N-Out.

  152. It’s been said that White Castle burgers are the only food that will give you a hangover.

    (For the purposes of this post let’s just use the term “burgers” and avoid the debate about whether or not WC’s are, in fact, burgers.)

    Jane and Michael Stern also have a great quote about WC’s in one of their books. . . I don’t remember it exactly but it’s something like, “If sin had a taste, it would taste like White Castle hamburgers.”

    I love ’em. People talk about some foods being an “acquired taste”: Clearly, though, you have to be hardwired in some way to appreciate them. Either you’re revolted at the first bite, or your hooked for life.

    But what amazes me is that WC also sells fish sandwiches . . . and apparently people buy them.

    Even a WC advocate like me will admit that you’re taking your gastrointestinal life in your hands when you answer “the crave” . . . so who in their right mind would order FISH in such a place?

    I remember being on line at a WC on Long Island back in the 80s. Ahead of me were two construction-worker-type-guys. One had apparently had never been to WC before. The other guy told his buddy, “The burgers are terrible. Disgusting. They’ll make you sick. Seriously, man, they’re foul . . . so when we order, just make sure you get the fish.”

    A couple of years later, when the first frozen WC’s became available, my then-wife and I were delighted to find them in our local supermarket in Yonkers. So was the cashier. As she swiped the box, she exclaimed “But do they have the FISH?”

    I actually find the frozen WC’s an acceptable substitute for the “live” version, but only if ice crystals haven’t formed inside the little plastic pouches that hold the sliders. Even if you shake the ice off before putting them in the micro, the damage has been done, and while the “meat” might be OK the buns will come out hard and crusty, ruining the whole experience.

    Unfortunately, it’s hard to check for this ice damage, as, in my experience, supermarkets don’t look kindly on you opening up the package to investigate before purchasing.

  153. Chuck:

    “But what amazes me is that WC also sells fish sandwiches . . . and apparently people buy them.”


  154. I know WC is not in the same catagory as a classic burger. I don’t eat WC when I am in the mood for a thick juicy beef burger. But I will say that I love the flavors of a slyder. I grew up with them in NYC and always stop in for some when I get a chance to visit an area that has a WC. I miss working midnights and stopping into a WC at 2 or 3 in the morning for some slyders and ambiance. The drunks on the curb outside and the screams or gunshots in the background. Ah, the memories!

  155. The comments concerning White Castle are ridiculous, especially since many of you admit to never having been to one. The White Castle I visited in St. Louis was fine. It was certainly much better than the garbage we have around here in Tennessee: Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Steak and Shake, Gunther Toody’s, Applebees, Friday’s, Shoney’s, Krystal, Sonic, Perkins, and the typical small mom and pop places that serve hamburgers only half cooked. I’m surprised none of these places have been closed down by the health department. Suede’s was good, but unfortunately closed down due to financial reasons.

  156. I’ve eaten at white castle maybe 4 times in my life.. I only end up going back there after about an average of 5 years time, because in the back of my stupid mind, i think.. “hmm.. white castle… maybe it’s not as bad as i remember it.. the pictures look good enough…..” and as we all know, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, nor a burger by it’s picture! So i find myself more angry than most people could ever possibly be, over wasting 4 dollars.. The food is NOT food.. It’s the only burger i’ve ever eaten that ACTUALLY tastes exactly like what I’d imagine rotten cooked rat meat, to taste like.
    To the person talking about Hamburger Station… Hamburger Station has WAAAAY more going for it’s meat than this place. First off, Hamburger Station isn’t a giant corporate franchise, and they don’t get their meat from the bottom of some water well, that some few hundred rats have fallen into, to drown in, for your eating pleasure.

    I’ve had incredibly quality burgers in my life, i’ve had burgers that were nuked from a package and I knew the meat could not possibly be meat.. and then there’s White Castle.. I’ve had their burgers “fresh” from the franchise.. After subjecting the public to that awfulness, i really can’t believe they’d have the audacity to offer them up in supermarkets, for people to take home and MICROWAVE!!! For years, my father and I have wondered how this business has even managed to stay in business!! They’re open 24 hrs a day in Akron Ohio, and NO ONE is ever there!! Have you ever gone to someone’s home, looked in their freezer, and seen frozen White Castle microwaveable burgers? I haven’t. For god’s sake!! They HAVE to be doing some money laundering.. there’s just no other way that they could STILL be in business..

    PS Wendy’s burgers are yummy.. i don’t know where someone gets the idea that sawdust is in them… I know they’re not healthy, but at least they taste like a burger!

  157. I live in California and I love In-N-Out Burger. My favorite is a double-meat/single cheese, medium rare, ‘animal style'(sorry, you’ll have to google that one to find out what it is), no thousand island spread, mustard, ketchup). In fact, the ‘double-single’ from In-N-Out is among the best burgers (only when it’s made medium rare though) that I can find on the planet. There is just something about the proportions of meat to cheese and fixins.

    The one thing about In-N-Out is the consistency. Whenever I order their burger from any location it pretty much is what I expect. I’ve had amazing burger moments. I’ve had an orgasmic burger ONCE at a Chili’s. And I’ve had a burger that was heavenly ONCE at the local sports bar I frequent. And I’ve had that amazing burger experience intermittently at various pubs and restaurants but usually they’re isolated incidents…they’re not consistent.

    Thus, I have to give In-N-Out kudos for their consistency in churning out a dream product everytime.

    Having said all that, I actually do like White Castle burgers. Why? I’m still not sure. But, I also like places like Waffle House. If you gave me the choice of eating at a Cracker Barrel (terrific home-style cooking chain restaurant) or a greasy-spoon, truck stoppish Waffle House……..I’ll take the Waffle House any day.

    In fact, I so missed the White Castle gut bomb that I recently found out Smart & Final (a wholesale food club that sells to the public) sells White Castle burgers frozen. They’re not good as fresh (and since most agree they’re not good to begin with, they must now really suck), but it satisfies my cravin’ for these little morsels of delight!

  158. you guys are more ignorant then Micahel Richards. white castle is the first burger fast food chain ever. they steam their burgers which is healthier then grilling. they are the only fast food chain to serve 100% real beef and 100% real cheese. If you have too many freeze dried onions you may run to the bathroom that is it though. I have yet to get sick and have yet to meet someone who has gotten sick after ordering no onions. In and Out sucks. I’ll take a Big Mac over them anyday of the week. The best burgers are Ohmaha Steak burgers bar none. juiciest little things you’ll ever have.

  159. White Castle is Soylent Green!!!!
    (Still though, I love Whitey One-Bites at 6am after the clubs let out).

  160. i haved lived in chicago 21 years love white castles and phoenix 26 years sure do miss them but if you are out west please try a whataburger there the best whenout west.

  161. In-N-Out rules the “fast-food” burger kingdom. Period. Fresh ingredients. Nothing frozen. Nothing under a heat lamp. AND some great burger combinations that are not on the menu – such as “animal style.” And the fries are to DIE FOR. We just need to get some restaurants in Colorado!

    Believe it or not, the angus third-pounders that are being trialed in CA at McDonald’s right now (yes, I know) are VERY good. Hope they at least get rolled out nationally so that there is something edible on their menu outside CA!

  162. Let me tell you. I ate white castle (not the first time) last night. Mainly to satisfy my dieing immature desires to tuck away as many as i could. NEVER AGAIN. I’ve been burping it up for over 24 hours AND have had serious stomach pains and bathroom emergencies since. Now I know what some might ask. “how many did you eat?” Well, 7 or so. A bit too much but when they are so small it’s kind of easy to do.


  163. ive been to all the burger joints in the east and midwest over the last 50 years. fudruckers is truly great- big, bigger, even bigger and oh my god. i always take the bun home for the kids and just eat the meat with lots of “salad” add ons. a fresh whopper is good too. culivers great too. my lease favorite is mcdonalds, but the fish and fries are good. sonic burger- finally got one close (to chicago) but you have to wait 1/2 hour just to get in the parking lot. chackers- the one in daytona is great!!! they are all gone here though. the one in daytona is on the crappy side. now to the meat of all this discussion. i havent had a single good experience with krystals because they always seemed stale and old. go to iraq and ask the soldiers- they will pick slyders from white castle at least 2 to 1 over any real chain. something about the onions being grilled and that grilling steaming the meat (with 5 holes in it so the bun gets steamed). mmmmmm, carmalized onions….. dont forget the ketchup and pickle too. the royal castle was the same thing- too bad they are gone. i do have a favorite white castle- batavia illinois. they are the “steamiest” there, always… best of all, they are all open 24 hours. and bite for bite- they arent really cheap- onions, mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  164. i almost forgot. you might not want to call them hamburgers since there is very little meat in them- personally i like the doubles. if you want a lot of meat go to fudruckers or some other local greasy burger joint. if you want carmalized onions (mmmmmm…. onions- think of what homer would do for these) and a melt in your mouth morsel, go have a slyder.

  165. [Deleted because Tim has nothing useful to add to the conversation, and I don’t have to keep a post of a moron just because he posts it — JS]

  166. I just found out last weekend that there is but a single checkers in chicagoland. 60 miles away, near Hyde park… Only an hour away. I see checkers in my future long before Daytona on the 4th of july… Todays the wifes bday. i wonder if i should surprise her with a sack of slyders???

  167. It is amazing that everyone is so opinionated about burgers….. I love them all….. slider or not. I didn’t see anyone mention burgers from FREDDY’S FROZEN CUSTARD!


    All I can say is WOW! Look for one near you….and no I don’t work for them. I just love food!

  168. I don’t get why everyone loves In-N-Out so much. I’ve never been to one that wasn’t busy. They’re good but not that good. Personally, I like Fat Burger better even though it costs more. In-N-Out does have some of the best service I have ever encountered (fast food or not) and I do appreciate the simple menu. On another note, I had White Castle sliders for the first time last week. They were amazing. I thought they were going to be nasty because frozen, microwaveable burgers just don’t sound very appetizing. I was pleasantly surprised and look forward to having more.

  169. I’m a New Yorker by birth, looking to move to PA.

    White Castle sliders are nasty, but they are SO DAMN CHEAP (which is kinda negated by the fact that you have to eat about 12 of them to feel full), and sometimes you do get a “crave” after a night at the bar. I would know, I’ve been there.

    I work down in Texas and I’ll say that Whataburger beats the hell out of ANY of the chains we have up north. I’ve never been to an In-‘N-Out, so I can’t compare the two, but Whataburger is definitely my favorite fast-food-burger joint now, by far.

  170. we went to WHATABURGER on the way to padre island after mardi gras one year before my kids were born. i seem to remember the burger was big and sorta sloppy, but it was okay, maybe even good. I guess im spoiled by living in the midwest and getting fast service- this place had just a few patrons in it, but it still took over 10 minutes to get the burgers.

  171. I am a (unpublished) author and working on my second novel. Title: Kill the Umpire…Dead.
    I have placed a Chicago homicide detective in Cincinnati, TDY. He loves Sliders, as do I. White Castles give him gas. Me too! See, it’s true what they say; write what you know.

  172. We tried another burger joint over the weekend. It was called “red robbin”. They were big and sloppy with bottomless fries- i didnt ask for more because the first ones werent hot and i like mine hot. I think i prefer portillos burgers as the best char broiled burgers around at a fast food joint, but still have sliders every week or two if im in the area of one of my “better” ones. One of these days i’ll have to make a trip to hyde park to visit checkers since there are none around here.

  173. I respect your guys opinions but white castle is and alwase will be the best hamburger you will ever eat. I drive every Friday to Indy to get 2 crave cases.

  174. nick- i sort of agree with you, but i’d like to add that there are a number of good burgers- sliders (did you ever have a royal castle burger- they really were the same as white castle) are the best, readily available hamburgers with the carmalized onion taste- and if you are near one, they are available 24X7. with that said, there are times when we gotta have a burger with a gob of meat and some fresh tomatoes as well- this is where the best burger gets different nominations. checkers, portillos, whoppers if they are put together right, fudruckers… there are lots of them, but at 4am (when im going to work), nothing beats white castle. period.

  175. I just want to say that since the early 1940’s White castle has been my favorite treat. I love hamburgers of all sizes and I am not comparing them to one another, they all have there good and bad aspects. As far as they go I scape all the onions off the sliders but enjoy the flavor they impart. I particulary like the soft moist rolls that the steaming gives. I remember as a kid going from Brooklyn on a Sunday afternoon with the family to Bloomfield NJ on the trolley and getting a sack of burgers to eat on the way back. Pure joy and contentment.

  176. I’m not a fan of White Castle at all. Most likely because I’m not a fan of onions. But I have had the sliders without onions before and it’s still not my cup of tea. Now when it comes to In-N-Out I love their burgers. It’s the best fast food burger I’ve ever had and I love their fries. White Castles fries are like the equivalent of elementary school cafeteria fries. Sadly I haven’t had In-N-Out in 4 years as I live in IL and they don’t exist out here, which makes me sad. I like every other fast food place out there more than White Castle.

  177. I’m going to venture off my high horse and stick up for White Castle because I just devoured 4 sliders after an evening of champagne and a $20 burger at an upscale restaurant in Manhattan. Did they compare to the perfectly charred patty of aged sirloin I ate earlier? Not in the least. But would they hold their own against those of similar ranking such as In-N-Out, McD’s, Sonic or Whataburger? Sure. They all claim different levels of “freshness” and “quality”, but in the end they are ALL THE END OF SPECTRUM. The difference from one to another is noticeable but not necessarily quantifiable; it just depends on my mood. Personally, I think White Castle is the victim of a bad rep, because the burgers really don’t taste bad (I’ve had much worse) and they do hit the spot now and then. I think they’re just a little scrappier, but that doesn’t make them lower quality, just lower quantity (of meat).

  178. I was born and raised in St. Louis, and now reside in Los Angeles. I ate and still eat White Castles to this day. Any time I get home I’m heading to White Castles right by the airport. They are good for late nights when all other fast food joints have closed. They are very filling and good. Nothing like a hot steaming burger with cheese and grilled onions, and throw in some onionrings and a shake and it’s on. So all you people who are putting White Castles down. Word of advice eat what you like and let us who like/love White Castles continue to eat them. Nobody is making you eat WHITE CASTLES. I love my Castles.

  179. here it is about 4:45 pm, i missed lunch since there is a problem here at work and i might not get out of here till midnight- there is a whitecastle just across the street- i can see it from my window and all i can do is think about all the poor little double sliders with catsup that others are enjoying while my stomach growls- egads- what is this world comming to?

  180. Okay, I know I am years late to this discussion but I have to say something because I am a West Coaster who use to live in the Midwest for a while (6 years in Indianapolis). And yes, for some ungodly reason I did like those darn white castle burgers. But you have to be some kind of a nut to think that White Castle taste better than In-N-Out. You can’t even put them on the same level. I don’t know if there is a burger joint that you can put on the same level as WC and call it equal. What other place makes sliders only? Anyhow. I’ve tasted both and sorry, INO is way better than WC (and this has nothing to do with the fact that I grew up on the West Side). The meat TASTE FRESH, which is a number one must. FRESH toppings and great special sauce (which I always like extra of). What do you get on a WC slider, nothing but onions. The fries at INO are even fresh. AND its cheap. My Husband is a Midwester and he even thought that INO was good. He even got addicted to INO for a while until his acid reflux and ulcer told him no more. That guy must have had, as the blogger said, “something seriously physiologically wrong with your tongue.” LOL.

  181. I never really understood why the line was always so long for INO. But once I started realizing how unfresh many burger joints were I started to recognize that fresh matters because of taste. I used to never recognize “the taste of fresh” until I got more particular about the food I ate. Having ate many a junk food at many a junk food join, it makes one heck of a difference. I can tell when my nuggets have been sitting all day at MCD. So why INO? Because the burger taste fresh. The meat is never frozen and then taken out and fried. Onions are taken out of the sack and cut right in front of you. (The one I go to has a window in the drive thru were you can see them cutting veggies and potatoes for fries.) Yeah, I like all kinds of burgers. But when I got a hankering for a fresh burger there are only two places I go. Ruby’s Diner or INO.

  182. okay monica- here is a question to ponder- just jow many thousands or tens of thousands of INO burgers have been requested by and sent to our soldiers overseas. probably can count that on one hand. the great thing about the sliders is the taste- it is not about how fresh the meat is since they are steamed by the cooking of the onions under them. you can eat them cold, reheated, or (if you will pardon the expression) fresh and they are still good- been good for about a hundred years now give or take. in a hundred years nobody will remember in and out, whattaburger, fudruckers… none of them, but it is likely that people will remember the good old sliders on the way home from work and probably stop by to pick up a sack.

    from an nu-named retired navy captian:
    “Marines are away from home for long periods of time with little or no reminders of the familiar, short of those precious letters from mom and dad, family members or loved ones and loneliness sets in. The thoughtfulness of others, however, suggests that someone really does care about what the troops are doing for our country.

    In Beirut, we had just finished a long and grueling establishment of the perimeter, which included digging “fox holes,” running barbed wire and getting the gun placements in position, when the word was passed, “The Castles are here!”
    Here they were, box after box of White Castle hamburgers. There must have been thousands (at least 15 for each of the 300 Marines) taken to the USS Nashville LPD 13, our support ship docked off shore, and then flown to the “beach.” Sure enough, the White Castles were brought frozen from the states, defrosted and heated in the many microwave ovens aboard ship and then transported by helicopter to the awaiting hungry Marines. What a day!
    It was “chow-call.” Every Marine and Sailor stopped what he was doing and joined the rapidly growing line for his share of an American touch of home. What would have been just another day of anxiousness and tension in a foreign land became a special day for these guys serving our country and being remembered by just a small act of kindness covered with onions, mustard and a pickle. I was there and had my share!”

    p.s. have you seen all the copycats in america now selling “sliders”? are they kidding- there one was another place that sold what i would truly call a slider other than white castle and that was royal castle. they have all gone by the wayside, but a few have re-opened in the miami area.

  183. OK, made it 47 years without the Castle experience. I will be short and sweet. I am glad that my children are fully grown and I am not going to have any more. This is because after violating my body in the manner of actually taking a bite of a slider ( yes I had to toss the rest ) I am certain that if I had any more children they would be effected in some way. Be it a horrible deformity or simply the inability to not burst into tears from a genetic memory I AM SO GLAD THAT I WAITED. I will not be repeating this mistake.

  184. okay dan went to WC, i guess you dont have the guts that is required to be a US soldier- too bad. it is fond memories of foods like this that give our soldiers and marines the will to go on when times are tough.

  185. White Castle burgers are awsome. in n out describes what there food will do… in then out..
    also White Castle burgers are100% beef.

  186. @ Cardinal1324
    100% beef after the meat and edible bits have been used elsewhere is more like it.

  187. well, here is a few comments for all those who rant and rave about five guys (5 guys or whatever…) burgers. i took my 2 boys to the five guys in st charles illinois over the weekend. pros:
    the color scheme reminded me of a cross between a checkers and a white castle.
    restraunt bright and clean, and might i add, not very busy.
    bathrooms very, very clean- at least the mens room- looked like it rarely got used
    they sure had a lot of topping to choose from- everybody will find something they like
    the bun on the burger was small-
    the help yourself peanuts were a nice freebie.
    8 dollars for a burger- really???
    while the fries were natural cut (skins still in place), they were some of the greasiest fries ive ever eaten- certainly a lot greasier that white castle hamburgers. if you want better natural cut fries- go to wendys.
    the burger wrapped in a small piece of foil seemed a bit cheap.- it did help keep the grease off your hands. the burger itself was a good size piece of meat and had good flavor- but it was definitely greasy and tasted fried not charbroiled. are these actually fried???.
    36 dollars for 3 people for lunch- really- do they think we are made of money?

  188. ive never been a big wendys fan although i eat there from time to time because they are inexpensive and … dont know, i just do. i guess i have an aversion to them because i once saw then putting a spoon size ladle of grease over the top of the patty before putting it into a bun when i worked in downtown chicago about 30 or so years ago. with that said, i ordered a double stack (no longer a buck, but 1.59 instead) a couple of days ago. as i was eating it i noticed there was lettuce and tomato on it- didnt think they had that on them… i then went on to think- hey, this is a pretty good burger regardless of whether it cost a buck, 2 bucks, or more. yes, it didnt have a lot of different toppings on it, and it was a tad greasy, but the bun was small, the meat was hot.

    what makes an expensive “gourmet” burger better than these? the only things that could have made it better were either being charbroiled, or grilled onions (okay wendys- hint, hint)

  189. Old post with fresh replies, so I’ll throw my thoughts out there. I’m from the Chicago area (sadly I admit), but I am sitting here in beautiful Scottsdale this very minute nursing a nasty In-n-Out Burger “hangover”. I’ve been there lots of times, mostly around LA, but none in the last five years or so. Last night I got the itch. Within about an hour of eating 2 cheeseburgers and a fry my stomach was burning like crazy! I spent the night running back and forth to the bathroom. My stomach still hurts.

    White Castle may have its own shortfallls, but that was my last INOB visit ever. And before you say it’s just me, I got bad food, it’s an anomoly, etc. check the web. Google “In and Out Burger stomach burn” and you’ll see, it’s a common experience. Whatever they put in that stuff, it’s damaging (some) people.

  190. Not that I don’t believe that you got a bad case of heartburn, but… I ran that google search you suggested. I got nothing here. The only relationship I can find between those two phrases refers to yellow peppers. (I didn’t know In-n-Out even had yellow peppers available! Adding it to the list of things to do next time west of Colorado.)

    So… yeah. It’s just you. You got bad food. It’s an anomaly. (OK. Probably not, just about anything can give you heartburn if you’re susceptible or just having a bad day.) :-)

  191. “this is something my intestines won’t quite reject,”

    Oh, I disagree. There’s just a grace period. When I lived in St. Louis, the typical pattern I observed among those who ate at White Castle was, “Oooooh, my stomach feels rough.” — “Why?” — “I had White Castle a couple hours ago.”

  192. I wouldn’t call White Castles burgers and I live in the midwest. If I ever have to get them tho the only thing I actually enjoy is the bottom bun. -.- The rest of it can go in the trash for all i care.

  193. You know what they say in Cincy, “haters gon’ hate”. Come on guys, White Castle rocks! Where else can you get 30 cheeseburgers for 20 bucks and pound them down with a case of beer? AND, you get to have easy-to-wipe poops that smell just as delicious as the burgers. Win/win. Hands down. No. No questions, not even from you in the back with the glasses.

  194. Check this out if you like burger king ,McDonalds and ouher chains the meat in the burgers is only t the most —-15 %– wow ! the other % is tissue, blood vessels,and other beef parts .sounds like a hot dog ! White Castle states on thare site what is in them 100 Beef not beef parts ,even says whare it comes from ( http://www.whitecastle.com/faqs )

  195. 4) What are Sliders made of?
    White Castle hamburgers are made from 100% USDA approved beef. There is no organ meat or bone meal in our hamburgers. The “Grade” (Prime, Choice, Select…etc.) is not specified, as ground beef can contain a mixture of many grades.

    The beef used by White Castle comes from several slaughter plants in Florida, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. The beef is raised in these and surrounding states. Some of our beef may also be imported from Australia or New Zealand. The hamburger we use is made from a mixture of meat produced from both grain and grass-fed cattle.

    5) Is it Onions or Cabbage on a White Castle Slider?
    White Castle 100% USDA inspected beef hamburger patties are steam grilled on a bed of rehydrated onions. The variety of onion is a California dehydrator onion and is very similar to the kind of dried chopped onions available in the spice aisle of any major grocery store. White Castle switched from fresh onions to rehydrated onions during World War II when onions and other fresh produce were hard to procure due to rationing.

    There is no cabbage (or turnips) used in a White Castle hamburger sandwich.

  196. “100% Beef” doesn’t say “doesn’t include Beef Lips”. Because Beef Lips are beef. So is beef “tissue” and beef “blood vessels”. Since you don’t actually allege that the other burger chains use organ meat, telling us that White Castle doesn’t isn’t actually probative of anything. And replying so seriously to John’s deliberately over-the-top post implies that you just might have possibly missed the point.

  197. I cooked up one frozen White Castle (available in Southern California in the freezer section of your local super market). Within 4-5 hours it hit me like ‘Montezuma Revenge’. I don’t ever remember being so debilitated from food, let alone one tiny piece of meat. I have had no appetite ever since, relegated to drinking only water. I continue to suffer 3 days later from food poisoning from tainted meat forcing me to stay close to the toilet because I have no control of my bowels. Instead of ‘White Castle’ they should call it ‘Flight Hassle’ for the
    expediency needed to keep from soiling more underwear.

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