Last week, White Castle released a new permanent menu item called The 1921 Slider. Unlike the chain’s famous steam-grilled square burgers with the holes in them, the 1921 Burger is a thicker seared patty, pressed down on the griddle, topped with cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and caramelized onions. It’s an homage to White Castle’s original burger, which started out as a small round ball of meat that was smashed on the flattop with a special spatula created just for that very purpose. How does it compare to the product we all know and love?
It’s the first time I can recall ever seeing actual vegetables on a sandwich at White Castle (other than onions). This is a fact I find mildly amusing. But the idea of a completely new burger at White Castle got this taste tester curious enough to venture over to try one, especially because White Castle feels strongly enough about this item to reintroduce it to the lineup permanently. An individual 1921 Slider goes for $2.19 at my local Castle.
The burger itself is pretty cute, though I think all sliders are cute by virtue of being very small. The veggies give the lil’ thing a pop of color, and after my first bite, I could tell this thing was quite different from the usual crushable flagship product.
The patty is much thicker than White Castle’s regular sliders, I’d estimate maybe double the size of the standard ones, if not slightly more. It’s juicy and definitely much more hearty, too. A meal combo comes with two sliders, along with the usual crinkle-cut fries and a drink; I’d say two’s the right amount to make this feel like a meal.
The toppings enhance the experience by adding contrasting textures and a fresher vibe to the whole thing. Those caramelized onions sort of faded into the background and left me wishing there were some kind of condiment on it like ketchup, mayo, or mustard. Luckily, that’s easily remedied with a sauce packet and my own two hands.
My sliders had a critical failure, though: the beef wasn’t seasoned. I couldn’t taste any salt on it, which sort of ruined the experience a little. There’s a chance that wasn’t intentional, but I just have to go off of what I received. Maybe in 1921, burgers just had less flavor? I’d believe that.
I pit the 1921 against the regular slider, and it turns out I like the standard cheeseburger much better overall, despite it being so much simpler. White Castle sliders just have cheese, onions, and pickles, and even though that sounds deceptively plain, their flavor is somehow much better. Its beef might be wimpier, but its overall impact is so much more satisfying.
Since the 1921 Slider is not a limited-time-only product, you won’t have to worry about missing out. You can mosey on over whenever you feel like it. But that’s the thing—you won’t want to move any faster than that. Not for these burgers, anyway. If you get a White Castle craving, it’s probably for the sliders you’re used to, and only those are worth picking up the pace for.