“Slyder Pilots”, steamed onions and trip through time….

Posted by on April 13, 2008

They’ve been nicknamed “sliders”, and probably a dozen more things by college students, regular folks and others. The official term is “slyders”, and by now, you probably know I’m talking about the White Castle food chain.


Although seemingly overshadowed by more expansive, and familiar fast food chains, White Castle is one of the first “fast food” restaurants and chains in America!   From their website, White Castle states some pretty interesting facts that are seemingly overlooked today:

First fast-food hamburger chain ever.

First industrial-strength spatula.

First mass-produced paper hat.

First to sell a million hamburgers.

First to sell a billion hamburgers.

(Source: White Castle)

Founded in 1921 by Billy Ingram, the chain helped to set many of the standards we take for granted in today’s fast food world.





Known almost as well as its burgers, the architecture of the chain is quite unusual even today.  Built on a “castle” motif, the interiors are a mix of stainless steel and tile.  It has been said (source: Wikipedia) that the restaurants were patterned after the Chicago Water Tower.

One of the more unusual things, and flying in the face of the food police, is the strictly low-cost burgers and fries, chicken and shakes.  No PC salads here, just good fried food.  The lowly hamburger, so maligned today, is still the cornerstone of the chain today.  Yet, also, this burger changed the face of American food.  In his work, Selling ’em by the Sack, author David Hogan states:

“…Because of Ingram’s marketing genius….Americans in every corner of the country accepted the hamburger as a mainstream food and eventually made it a staple of their daily diet….”

There are many other facinating facts about this chain that I just don’t have the time to talk about…I’ve assembled quite a few links that are worth checking out if you get a chance.

Have a great weekend, see you on Monday!



Wikipedia: White Castle

Selling ’em By The Sack: White Castle and the Creation of American Food

Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants… 


(1-2) Me, taken outside Columbus, April 2008

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