Many of our favorite eateries become such because they possess a unique culture unto themselves. The fast food chain White Castle, with it’s unique food, themed buildings, and an interesting history, has created it’s own restaurant culture that has been passed on from generation to generation.
For a restaurant to create a distinctive culture it usually must possess a combination of these elements. However, for many businesses, one element usually dominates as it’s distinctive feature. All White Castle cravers recognize the slyder; White Castle slang for the small, square, and steamed to perfection White Castle hamburger, as the distinctive feature of the restaurant. The White Castle slyder is always seen first as a unique product with it’s history usually ignored or taking a back seat. Forgotten by many hamburger junkies is the fact that White Castle, in 1921, was the first restaurant chain to popularize and distinguish the hamburger as a uniquely American food. Being the original hamburger, any self proclaimed hamburger junkie should know how to order a slyder, and create on of the many possible slyder combinations. Included in this junkie’s guide to ordering a slyder are both the basics of slyder customization as well as combinations that only a handful of cravers know of.
First off, some general tips and knowledge that even some seasoned cravers might not know. If your looking to crave with speed, especially during non-rush hours, order any fried products (especially chicken, fries and fish) first so they can start cooking. If you want to assure that you receive hot and fresh slyders ask them if they can “set a new side” for your order. This phrase is employee lingo for cooking up new slyders and will add 4-8 minutes to your order time. If you have any special requests (e.g. mustard and extra pickle) state them right away and in a slow, clear voice. If you wait until the end of your order there is a chance that your food is already being made and will require remaking; a task which no fast food employee enjoys. If you have a large order, even only 20 slyders or a crave case (30), you can ensure fast, pleasant service and better quality food if you call ahead. They will have more time to make the order and because there is no rush to cook, top, box, and bag a large order the quality will be better and you will be on your way in seconds.
With the basics out of the way it’s time for Slyder 101. All slyders share the same fundamental parts; a steamed bun, hamburger patty, and cooked onions. Doubles are simply two meat patties, two bottom buns (one as the middle), a top bun, and onions on both layers. Be aware that White Castle’s menu differs slightly from region to region in order to reflect the tastes of certain locales. More on this later; but the one major thing to be aware of is that in the New York area, slyders come standard with ketchup. When you order a single slyder or cheeseburger, it comes with one pickle; doubles get two. Asking for extra pickles will get you two and four respectively. If your looking to get a handful of pickles on your slyders simply request a certain number or ask for a side cup of pickles. Also ordering a slyder plain strips it of onions and pickle(s). Be aware that jalapeno and bacon cheeseburgers do not include pickles. If you order one of these sandwiches with “everything” you may only get the everything sauce and not the pickle(s) so be sure to make the request clear.
White Castle makes it’s sauce options very basic. You can order slyders with ketchup, mustard, or an “everything” sauce which is a combination of ketchup and mustard. The curve ball comes in the Chicago area, in which the “everything” sauce is technically spicy hamburger sauce and has a slightly different albeit not very spicy taste. While most cravers don’t even notice, some don’t like the taste of this sauce and request ketchup and mustard instead. If you do order the latter beware as most employees themselves don’t know that the everything sauce is different (in Chicago) and will simply use it as a quicker solution.
Onto onions and two common special requests; extra onions and no onions. If you ask for extra onions you will receive about a double serving of extra grilled onions. If you would like them piled thicker than the meat itself then simply request it. If your order no onions understand that the slyders are cooked on a bed of onions and that they will be scraped off. If you wish for your slyders to be cooked directly on the grill be prepared for a different taste and a 7-10 minute wait.
Our last topic in Slyders 101 is on ordering bacon slyders and jalapeno slyders. The jalapeno cheese is a favorite of many cravers and is not overly spicy. A single slyder gets one slice, a double gets two, and both come without pickle. Bacon burgers get two slices for a single and four (two on each layer) for a double. If you are ordering a slyder without cheese and with bacon be sure to check your order; bacon slyders without cheese are very uncommon orders and often get made with cheese accidentally. Also be aware that the bacon is precooked and placed upon the slyder at either fridge or room temperature. Although the bacon is heated by the sandwich, many cravers enjoy the bacon’s taste more after being cooked briefly on the grill. Although a few castles do cook it, the majority do not and it is best to request it (at breakfast as well).
Now onto Slyders 202 and some education on the many possible slyder combinations. Experienced cravers should tune in here for combinations unknown to all but the most seasoned cravers. First, the “classic” double, simply a double slyder with no middle bun and a meatier taste. Another variation on the slyder is requesting two (or three for a double) bottom buns. The bottom bun sits directly on the meat while cooking and soaks up most of the meaty, oniony, steamy taste distinctive to a slyder. Having two or three of them give you more of the unique white castle taste. If you love the slyder patty itself but not the taste of the juicy bun then request for a new bun to be steamed and the patty placed upon it.
If you enjoy your slyders well steamed to the point of almost soggy then request that your slyders be placed directly into the bun steamer for a cycle. If you don’t enjoy them soggy then request that a fresh side be set with no onion juice. If you don’t love the taste of grilled onions or just want to try something different request fresh onions to be placed on your slyders. If you really want to surprise the staff request that a few deep fried pickles (only a few seconds in the oil) be tossed onto your slyder. If you enjoy extra seasoning (salt and pepper) request that they apply it so that it soaks into the meat and you don’t have to ruin the perfect melted cheese.
If your looking to satisfy a mega-crave or just want to impress your friends consider upgrading to a triple, quadruple, or quintuple slyder. Best to be eaten inside as only the triple will “fit”(barely and crunched) into a box. For a more exotic combination try a surf and turf double with a fish and a slyder patty. You can do the same with chicken or chicken rings. If it is during breakfast hours try a slyder n egger, or a slyder and sausage sandwich. If your a fan of the jalapeno burger and it isn’t spicy enough mix some hot sauce and BBQ sauce or Ranch for a delicious, spicy concoction.
The reality is that an endless number of possible combinations for the White Castle slyder exist. While imagination goes a long way, a little common courtesy to your local White Castle employees will certainly help as well. The staff will almost always be more than willing to prepare these combinations if you are patient and show them appreciation for their work. Telling the manager on duty about any employees who are willing to accommodate you is a great way to endear yourself to the staff and ensure everyone’s satisfaction. Even if you try to get them to deep fry a slyder with nacho cheese and vanilla shake on top.