I finally broke down and visited the new White Castle that opened a few months ago in the Flamingos Crossing area near Walt Disney World. I intentionally waited until the initial hoopla waned a bit. When it first opened there were rumors of eight hour waits to get food. I will do a lot of things for you, Gentle Diner, but waiting that long for a miniature burger is not among them. Heck, I wouldn’t even wait eight hours to get into Victoria & Albert’s (which, by the way, recently reopened; I’ll have that review next week).
And besides, it isn’t like White Castle isn’t a known commodity. It’s popular for its tiny, square burgers that initially had a reputation of being so small and greasy that they just slid down one’s gullet, bringing the term slider into our lexicon.
And as my dining companion said when we visited the Orlando White Castle, “So, basically they’re Krystal burgers.” Yes, but it was White Castle that did them first, opening in 1921; Krystal followed in 1932.
Today’s White Castle burgers are – I’m only guessing here – not as greasy as the originals. They’re just fine. There’s nothing magical about them.
I had the 1921 Slider (actually made more recently than that) that featured the iconic patty on a soft bun with lettuce, tomato, pickles, caramelized onions and melted cheese that for the sake of argument we’ll conceded was cheddar.
I also had a version with bacon and liked it, too.
It’s fascinating to watch the assembly line way that the burgers are assembled. In one way it’s very efficient, in others, not so. The pleasant young woman who was putting the orders into bags to go took great care to make sure she had all the items but had to run all over the big, open kitchen to fetch things. She admonished me to make sure everything was there before I left, but I was certain it was fine. (I was missing a burger when I got home; that’s on me.)
I wouldn’t make a special point to go back to White Castle. And I suppose the only ones who would are those looking for a bit of nostalgia from their childhood hometowns. That’s fine. If I want nostalgia I’ll look at some old photos and save myself an eight-hour wait in line.
White Castle is at 11595 Daryl Carter Pkwy., Orlando (map). It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, including late hours to 4 a.m.