Since I had recently wrote about being castled out from visiting real castles, I figured it’s time I write about my experience visiting a White Castle.  For those who don’t know, White Castle is a “small regional hamburger chain” known for its “small, square hamburgers”.  It is often considered the first/oldest hamburger chain the the US, and it is also popularized by the film, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.

Harold & Kumar is to Blame

Like many people, my curiosity started when I came across the film eons ago.  It’s not my usual movie genre but somebody rented it and I sat through parts of it.  I don’t remember if there was even a point to the movie, except:

  • Two guys wanted to go to White Castle
  • There was some ridiculous cheetah scene that made me laugh out loud, though it was more of “What in the world am I watching?” kind of funny.
  • White Castle must have great burgers/sliders, given their burgasm (see clip below)


The Mystique of White Castle

I’ve made it a habit to visit a McDonald when I travel abroad, so my wanting to visit a White Castle comes with the territory.  Once in a blue moon I’d see a White Castle from afar while driving somewhere, but we often miss the exit or it’s out of the way. And so, the mystique continued for years, until …

One time, my family and I stayed in mid-town New York.  We wandered down a street one evening when I saw the sign White Castle.  It was a small storefront that could easily be missed.  I did a double take, “No way! Is this the White Castle?”

I hadn’t been looking for it, and yet there it was.  We just had to stop in for a visit.

What’s It Like?

I had my share of fast food over the years, and I think I am a decent judge of fast-food burgers and fries.  We ordered a couple of their famous sliders, some fries, and drinks.

The first couple of bites were fine.  We dug in out of pure excitement. After the initial excitement wore down, I had the chance to think whether I actually like the sliders.

I think it’s one of those things where you either love it or hate it.  Everyone’s taste buds are different.  I just know that the more I ate the sliders, the more I realized this:

These sliders are $*#($*#) awful compared to other burgers.

The sliders were as not anywhere as good as I thought it was going to be. They were also far too soggy for my liking.  To put it mildly, it was a major letdown for me.

The place was kind of sketchy too, so that didn’t help either.

Would I Visit Again?

While White Castle is headquartered in Ohio, I tend to associate White Castle with New York for whatever reasons.

So, I couldn’t resist sharing my experience with a colleague recently while we were heading to a work conference in NY.  It turned out that my colleague is more familiar with New York than me, having lived there before.  He laughed warmly as I recounted my little adventure, and he was so incredibly kind not to poke fun at my naivety.

I really should have known better. I shouldn’t have such high expectations in the first place.  Then again, maybe I’ll just blame Harold and Kumar.  They were the ones who wildly exaggerated the burgers.  I can’t imagine how many people wanted to pay a visit to White Castle simply because of that movie.

Would I try White Castle again?  Probably not.

Well, at least not until the memory of that first tasting experience faded somewhat into the distant background.


Have you visited a White Castle?  Did your experience fare better than mine?