New Things: Try White Castle

Each year, I make a list of new things I want to try.  Some things are exciting, some are difficult, some are shockingly mundane.  You can read about past shenanigans here.


I’ve tried lots of different things as part of New Things endeavors.  I’ve taken a pole dancing class, drank hot blowfish sake, attended a monster truck rally with 18 friends.  Never, never have I tried something that was so deeply polarizing as eating at White Castle.

I’m not sure why, but most people have Feelings about White Castle.  Lots of people think it’s disgusting. Some people looooove it (one friend’s husband gets W.C. gift cards for his birthday from everyone he knows.) There was an entire movie based around it.  Is it socio economic snobbery?  Is the food actually gross?  Why do people care if I’m eating sliders or not?You should also know that I’m one of those people who eats things like chia seed pudding and ezekiel bread.  I very, very rarely eat meat and I consider medjool dates a special sweet treat.  So I’m basically totally insufferable.

With all of this in mind, I met two friends for dinner at the White Castle on East Lake Street in Minneapolis. I emotionally prepared myself for a dirty lobby and grease-soaked to-go bags (which is my experience in pretty much every fast food place I’ve ever eaten) and was pleasantly surprised to find an incredibly clean restaurant and super helpful staff.

Here’s what I ordered and what I thought:

Original slider

rating: two stars
Not totally awful!  Granted, I only took one hesitant bite but I didn’t want to throw up in my mouth!  It was super soft and, um, moist and onion-y.  It sort of reminded me of a not-too-sloppy sloppy joe. Apparently, sliders are steamed rather than fried which actually makes them significantly healthier than most fast food red meat options.Barbeque chicken rings
rating: three stars
So, these consist of bits of processed chicken, fused into ring shapes, fried, covered in barbecue-flavored powder.  They taste fake and processed and also pretty good.
Onion chips with zesty sauce
rating: five stars
Oh what’s that?  An ‘awesome blossom’ for a fraction of the price that’s easier to eat?  INTO IT.Mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce
rating: five stars
FRIED CHEESE IS NEVER NOT GOOD. It should be available everywhere.In summary, I really don’t understand what the fuss is about. Why are people so eager to hate on what seems to be a perfectly average fast food restaurant?  Will I be eating there regularly?  No.  Is it worse than McDonalds or Burger King or Taco Bell?  Also no.  It’s just a fast food place that makes fried cheese more readily available to the masses.How you do feel about White Castle?  Why do people have such strong feelings about it?

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  1. Marian

    I've actually never heard of White Castle. It sounds like an interesting experience. And I agree, you usually can't go wrong with mozzarella sticks. 🙂

  2. Meli

    I believe that the controversy comes with the existence of challenges, say, to eat 40 sliders in one sitting. Personally, I don't think the food is that bad, but in large quantities….

  3. Sarah M

    "So I'm basically totally insufferable." So funny.
    I've only heard of White Castle through the movie. I'm totally down with fried cheese and onions. I'd give those a try if I ever found one. 🙂

  4. Melanie Taylor

    I've never had White Castle, but I have had Krystal (which is apparently the South's version of White Castle – they're also steamed sliders in square boxes available in obscene quantities). The moistness is what really puts me off. I'm am NOT a fan of soggy bread, so the meaty, gummy, pastiness of the inside part of the bun is so unpleasant to me. The flavor is no worse than other fast food, but I just can't handle the texture!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Yeah, I was offered $5 to 'lick the slime off the bottom bun.' I did not accept said challenge.

  5. Mary

    I like their chicken sandwiches and the entire concept of "tiny" sandwiches! It's a nice serving size. Also, crinkle cut fries! As a rule I generally don't eat fast food (although sometimes: while drinking, or: in emergencies/bad days), but white castle isn't the worst guy on the block.

  6. Amy

    I am a fan of watching Harold & Kumar going to White Castle. However, I have never been there nor do I care either way.

  7. Kaitlin Marie

    I am in agreement with your fried cheese opinions!!!!

    After the occasional late night out, my boyfriend ALWAYS wants to get White Castle. The sliders bother my stomach, so I usually just get the biggest order of mozzarella sticks that they offer and munch away.


    Amen, sister!


    I love White Castle's chicken rings [at 2am after a night of partying responsibly with friends] and I don't care who knows it.

  9. liveletlive

    I wish you got the chicken ring sandwhich! its so gooooodddd

  10. hmweasley

    I've only actually eaten at a White Castle once, and I was fairly young. Still, I remember enjoying it. They sell the hamburgers frozen, and my mom buys them a lot because they're something my really picky eater brother will eat, so I grew up eating those on a fairly regular basis when my parents weren't home to cook lunch of something. I don't think those turn out quite like the restaurant ones though.

    I've had several people tell me that their main reason for disliking White Castle is the amount of onions on the hamburgers, but I'm somewhat obsessed with onions, so the more the better in my opinion.

  11. becky f.

    I live in a White Castle area but have only eaten there twice. I feel like part of the reason for the dislike, so far as I've heard it, consists of the sliders, well, sliding right out of you, too. My stomach is finicky enough that I don't want to find out if the reputation is accurate.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      I was rather, um, gassy after my meal but I almost never eat fried food so I'm not sure what caused it. I'm sure all that fried cheese didn't help!

  12. Claire

    The ongoing joke in my family is that when I was younger, my dad stopped there with me on the way to the hospital where my mom was in labor with my brother … oddly, this somehow equates for White Castle having special place in all our hearts. Ha! Whenever my folks are in the Twin Cities visiting, we always make a stop at White Castle.

  13. Kirsten

    I love White Castle! The nearest one to me is in New Jersey, but luckily I have family there, so I pester my uncle to go with me when I visit.

  14. Shell KittyAndBuck

    Ah, I went on a mission to eat at White Castle as an Australian visiting your fine land. I made it through 2 sliders (one plain, one cheese-burger) before declaring defeat. Maybe mine were particularly bad, but the bread was WET from the 'steamed' burgers. And they were grey. And just. Gross. I ate Carls and stuff over there, but these were in a different league of yuck. I'm glad I tried it once though. That's what I call living…

  15. Liz

    I've actually never heard of this place, but the menu options sound quite nice!

  16. NZ Muse

    White Castle? SOOOO disappointing. Worst of all the American fast foods we tried on our US road trip. Totally overrated, I blame Harold and Kumar.

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