January 17, 2014
The White Castle hamburger, which has been noted in everything from film to song, has reached an even-higher level of recognition.
Time, the magazine known for its annual listing of the world’s most-influential people, says the “most-influential burger of all time” is the one made by White Castle also known as a Slider.
“The now-iconic square patty — which debuted in 1921 at the first White Castle in Wichita, Kan. — was the first burger to spawn a fast-food empire: By 1930, White Castle had 10 U.S. locations,” the magazine said at the top of its online list of the 17 most-influential burgers ever.
“Its success paved the way for the great American burger obsession,” the magazine said.
Magazine staffers chose the Slider as their most-important hamburger after interviewing “burger historians and experts,” according to the Time website.
Completing the top five most-influential burgers were the McDonald’s hamburger at No. 2; the In-N-Out burger, No. 3; the 21 burger, No. 4; and the Burger King Whopper, No. 5.
“If I were going to look at this, there are three that come to mind,” said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, the Chicago food and restaurant research firm. “The Slider, the Whopper, the Big Mac. To me, those would be the top three.”
The name “Slider” has been a term of endearment for fans since the 1950s, said Jamie Richardson, the White Castle vice president who is chief spokesman for the family-owned company. He’s also a family member.
Although the Columbus-based fast-food company used the name “slyder” in its 1990s advertising, it didn’t adopt the “Original Slider” trademark until 2011, Richardson said.
The choice of the Slider as the most-influential hamburger doesn’t surprise Tim Powell, principal of the business-management firm Think Research and Consulting in Dublin.
“White Castle is one of the most-iconic brands because of its bite-size hamburgers,” Powell said in an email.
Also yesterday, White Castle celebrated its 1 millionth “like” on social-medial site Facebook with free food, gifts and giveaways for fans.
“This is our 80th year in Columbus,” having moved here from Wichita in 1934, Richardson said. “ Columbus has many distinctions. Now, it’s also the home of the most-influential burger. We’re truly humbled by the honor.”