To some, White Castle may just be another fast food burger joint. To others— myself included—it is a religion. It’s the kind of place we take our loves on Valentine’s Day; it’s where we marry them when we realize they’re “the one”. It’s a restaurant that, for some of us, becomes more than a restaurant. While there are those who are aghast at the chaos that occurred yesterday when White Castle opened its first-ever location in Arizona, there are plenty of us who understand that everything about this is perfectly normal:
As reported by the Arizona Republic, a line of over 200 people had already formed by 7:30 a.m. in advance of the restaurant’s 8 a.m. opening. It grew longer by the minute. The line began to form last Saturday, when a couple parked their trailer in front of the White Castle to camp out. The third customer in line did not think a four-day lead time was necessary to grab a burger, and arrived with his camping gear Monday, which is a far more reasonable arrival date.
By the afternoon of opening day, customers reported two-hour waits, and White Castle representatives said that customers had been ordering sliders by the hundreds. In response, they instituted a 60-slider limit per order, suspended all online ordering, and postponed their delivery program with third party apps like Uber Eats until next week.
The waits got shorter, but the demand never waned. By 4 a.m., the 24-hour White Castle was sold out of burgers. Representatives told the Republic they were rushing to restock, and were hoping to get the grills up and running again by 9 a.m.
Making the shortage even more impressive is the fact that, at 4,589 square feet, this location is the largest White Castle ever built. It has a double-lane drive-thru and and outsized kitchen capable of grilling 240 sliders at once. White Castle’s thin slider patties have always cooked quickly, but the Arizona locations cook even quicker as they’re one of the only restaurants serving the 1921 Slider, which is made with fresh beef, not frozen.
For those of you who still believe that the response was a gross overreaction to a fast food restaurant, we urge you to read these interviews with the die hard superfans—informally called “Cravers”—who were willing to spend hours (or days!) to get their hands on a sack of sliders. Some restaurants contain a certain type of magic that makes them hold onto your heart forever. White Castle is that sort of restaurant.