The White Castle closest to campus was the one on N. High Street close to Downtown. It was one of the older model stores (like the illustration at left), and fit in very well with the feeling I had that the whole city of Columbus was stuck in the 1950s.
|The classic White Castle cardboard carton|
design that was still being used in the 1980s
I was fascinated by the little cardboard carton each hamburger came in. I ended up trying one – and then another.
I was immediately hooked. The White Castle tasted pretty much like meatloaf to me – and I love meatloaf. So it was the beginning of a beautiful, oniony relationship.
My dorm-mates and I never called them sliders, though. That was something that seemed to come later as a marketing gimmick. They were just White Castles to me. (I guess that's like calling a McDonalds hamburger a "McDonalds.")
After I graduated from Ohio State, I made frequent visits to Columbus to visit my old roommates and pals who had stayed in town. So, on each visit, I would stop at one of the White Castles on the outskirts of town (such as the one on High Street in Clintonville) and bring a large bag of frozen hamburgers back to Lorain.
When I couldn't make it to Columbus, I had to make do with White Castle replacements – such as a hamburger from Akron-based Hamburger Station.
Anyway, you can imagine how happy I was when White Castle entered the Northern Ohio market in the mid-1980s. One opened on W. 117th Street, and in Lorain County there was even one out by Midway Mall. Now I could buy them fresh to bring home for dinner anytime I wanted.
All this consumption of White Castles, however, had a detrimental on whatever car I was driving back then. I soon learned that it was not a good idea to leave a bag with empty White Castle hamburger cartons in your car under your seat for weeks. The forgotten bag acted like a reverse air-freshener, prompting many a "What is that nasty smell?" comment.