I remember my first encounter with White Castle. We had family friends who lived in Louisville, Kentucky and across the street from their neighborhood was a White Castle. I’m not quite sure why I thought White Castle was cool. Maybe it was because I was into medieval Legos at the time and thought the restaurant (shaped like a little castle) was the neatest thing on Earth. Or maybe it was the fact as a kid, I actually got to watch the staff cook dozens of burgers all at once on a huge griddle through a big window. Whatever the reason, I know that when we made our way to Louisville, I had to have them. When our friends moved to Texas, it would be the last time I actually saw a White Castle restaurant until I went to visit my brother when he went to college in Louisville almost 10 years later.
White Castle is the oldest fast food chain in the United States with only 422 locations nationwide. Founded in 1921, this family-owned, privately-held fast food chain has stood the test of time and continues to be successful despite the low number of stores in comparison to other fast food giants.
White Castle is the kind of restaurant that people either love or hate. I’ve never heard anyone say they “sort of like” White Castle. You either hear stories of people scarfing down sacks of 10+ White Castle burgers (or sliders) or you hear people say it’s the most disgusting thing they’ve ever eaten. Personally, I absolutely love them… There’s something about those thin layers of ground beef that cooks on a bed of sizzling onions. Stacking them onto those soft, little buns; the bread absorbs all that onion-y, greasy goodness and turns mushy on the inside, yet dry & firm on the outside with maximum flavor. I’m not the only person who thinks this as well. Their website is filled with a stream of fan photos from various “Cravers” via Flickr. Of course we all can’t forget the movie dedicated to White Castle… Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.
I had completely forgotten about White Castle because there really isn’t one that is conveniently located near me. The only time I get to have them is when I’m at work in Murfreesboro. While browsing around on Facebook at home, I noticed that one of the ads stated that you could get a free Garlic Cheese Slider if you simply liked their Facebook page. Fair exchange. Within a few clicks, I had a printable coupon for one of their new burgers.
Later at work, my friend Marty asked me where I was going for lunch. When I told him White Castle, he asked me if I was serious. I told him I had to try their new Garlic Cheese Slider and write a review about it. He made a copy of my coupon and then we were off.
These days, White Castle serves a wider variety of food since the last time I’ve been there. I remember when they introduced onion rings, but now they have additional items such as chicken rings, chicken breasts, mozzarella sticks, fish patties, etc. A little too complicated in my opinion and I stuck to the tried and true foundation of White Castle… their burgers.
I purchased five different burgers from the White Castle menu. The cashier was a bit dumbfounded that I only wanted once of each, but it was for the sake of this review. So I ordered a cheeseburger, bacon cheeseburger, jalapeño cheeseburger, garlic cheeseburger, and garlic mushroom cheeseburger.
The cheeseburger (0.80¢) and bacon cheeseburger ($1.04) were identical with the only difference being single folded piece of bacon embedded into the melted cheese. A strong onion flavoring was already soaked into the bun. The slightly cooked onions added a slight crunch to the burger. The cheese was a little salty, but it complemented the flavor of the beef and onions. As for the bacon, it was halfway crispy and halfway soft… like a leftover piece of bacon. Regardless of the texture, who can deny the flavor of bacon?
The jalapeño cheeseburger (0.90¢) was just like the regular cheeseburger except it had a piece of white cheese on top of the beef patty and onions. Examining the burger thoroughly, there appeared to be no visible sign of jalapeño peppers anywhere. Thinking there was some kind of mistake, I took a bite anyway. You could immediately tell there was a spicy heat embedded in the burger. It seems that the spiciness came from the innocent looking piece of white cheese. Not too bad.
The last two burgers were the main reason why I came to White Castle. The promotion was marketing their new garlic sandwiches. I love garlic but the smell of it on your breath is enough to decay a houseplant. Thank goodness I had a pack of gum to help neutralize my garlic death breath afterward. The garlic cheeseburger (0.79¢) had the same appearance as the prior two cheeseburgers but the taste of garlic was very apparent. It didn’t have the spiciness that follows fresh garlic but it still had that strong, pungent flavor. I’m assuming it was a garlic powder that was used in some form or fashion.
My favorite burger of the five was the garlic mushroom cheeseburger (0.89¢) I’m a sucker for sautéed mushrooms and the ones topped on top of my burger were surprisingly good. They weren’t doused in some kind of cheap fast food sauce like fast food mushroom and Swiss burgers. The characteristics of the burger as a whole reminded me a lot of sautéed mushrooms I’ve had from steakhouses. I should have gotten five of these instead.
My experience at White Castle was just as I expected. I wasn’t expecting gourmet burgers but they weren’t so bad that you couldn’t eat them. These tiny burgers had a combination of flavors that I personally like. Whether you eat them religiously, as a midnight snack, or even during a drunken stupor… there’s just something about these small, onion-y burgers that some people just love… or hate.
2206 Old Fort Parkway
Murfreesboro TN, 37129
Bill Total: $6.63