White Castle Inducts 10 Passionate Fans Into Its 2021 Class of the Cravers Hall of Fame During Ceremony at Columbus Home Office

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 1:29 PM EDT

Woman who met husband in drive-thru, man who visited 165 White Castles in 21 days, and news anchor who dresses in White Castle-themed costumes for Halloween are among this year's winners

COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- White Castle, the family-owned fast-food hamburger chain and popular consumer-packaged goods business, inducted 10 of its most loyal and passionate customers into its Cravers Hall of Fame on Thursday. The 10 inductees, who come from eight states, were chosen from a large number of entries that all showed just how far some people will go to satisfy their White Castle "Crave."

Ten of White Castle's most loyal fans were inducted into the Cravers Hall of Fame on Thursday,...
Ten of White Castle's most loyal fans were inducted into the Cravers Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 19. Here they're joined by members of the Ingram family, who have owned and operated White Castle since its founding in 1921.(PRNewswire)
White Castle inducted 10 of its most loyal and passionate customers into its Cravers Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 19.

The 10 members of the 21st class of the Cravers Hall of Fame were formally inducted during an in-person ceremony at White Castle's home office in Columbus. White Castle provided the inductees with complimentary travel, dining and hotel accommodations as well as a reception in their honor. Each one received a plaque commemorating their special place in the Cravers Hall of Fame. In addition, their individual stories will be featured on the restaurant's iconic slider box packaging.

"Yesterday was a very special day for White Castle, with 10 more incredible fans joining our Cravers Hall of Fame," said Jamie Richardson, vice president at White Castle. "They all have such unique and interesting stories about the ways in which White Castle has played a significant role in their lives. As a family-owned business, we're really touched to hear about their personal connection with White Castle."

The Cravers Hall of Fame is an exclusive club that White Castle created in 2001 to recognize its most zealous fans, who are affectionately referred to as Cravers. Each year, hundreds of Cravers submit their White Castle stories in hopes of being chosen for the Cravers Hall of Fame. While some of the stories are funny, some are poignant and some are remarkable, all of them are very personal, heartfelt testaments to the ways in which White Castle has touched lives and created lasting memories.

This year's stories include a woman who met her husband in a White Castle drive-thru, a man who shared White Castle on his first date with the woman who eventually became his wife, a teacher who had his eighth grade students develop their writing skills by drafting reviews of White Castle sliders, a man who celebrated his 60th birthday in 2021 by visiting 165 White Castle locations in 21 days, and a man who credits White Castle for helping to maintain his friendship with his high school buddies for over 35 years.

In addition, Monica Day, an anchor with Columbus' NBC affiliate WCMH Channel 4, was chosen as the "Craver in Extremis." White Castle created this title in 2002 to recognize public figures, celebrities and pop icons who have publicly expressed their love of White Castle. Monica frequently talks about her passion for the brand on the air. She has shared White Castle's stuffing recipe with her fans and viewers and even wore a White Castle-themed costume to Columbus' celebrated HighBall Halloween party. She joins the likes of Alice Cooper, Telfar Clemens, Adam Richman, Kal Penn and John Cho, and the late Stan Lee as Cravers in Extremis members of the Cravers Hall of Fame.

Since the Hall of Fame's start in 2001, a total of 272 inductees have been honored with this distinguished award. Nominations for the next class of Cravers Hall of Famers can be submitted now through White Castle's website here.

The Cravers Hall of Fame Class of 2021 includes:

1.    Christine Reed, Floral Park, New York

Christine's fondness for White Castle started as a young child when her grandfather first introduced her to sliders. Many of her subsequent visits to White Castle were connected to special occasions and memorable moments. Her first date, for example, took place at a White Castle, as did many late-night escapades. After the funeral of her great-grandmother, who was a devoted slider fan, Christine headed to White Castle in her honor while other family members dined at a fancier restaurant. She has made White Castle's famous slider stuffing for Thanksgiving dinners. Her brother even brought sliders to cheer her up following a tough breakup. She and that boyfriend eventually got back together and, when they got married, served White Castle sliders at their reception. In their 25 years together, Christine and her husband have celebrated anniversaries, New Year's Eves and Valentine's Days at White Castle, strengthening her already deep connection to the brand.

2.    J.W. Peck, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Some people win over their dates with flowers, candy or a candlelit dinner. J.W. Peck won over his wife, Paula, with White Castle. Years ago, J.W.'s friends fixed him up on a date with Paula, whom they thought would be a perfect match. J.W. arrived to pick her up with a bouquet of lillies and a box of six frozen White Castle Cheese Sliders. She was impressed with his generosity — and his good taste! After dinner and a movie, they returned to Paula's place, where they shared "a little romancing" along with warm sliders from the microwave, which J.W. said "never tasted so good." J.W., also known as the three sliders, one onion chips and medium chocolate shake guy, and Paula, six-piece chicken rings and large onion chips, celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2021, saying they still crave each other — and their slider dates!

3.    Tressia Stokes, Hobart, Indiana

When Tressia Stokes' grandmother passed away, her last will and testament instructed the family to enjoy a White Castle meal on her. Tressia wasn't particularly surprised at her grandmother's request, as four generations of her family had been sharing White Castle meals at family gatherings, both the happy and the sad. After Tressia's mother's passing, for example, a couple of family members each showed up at her house with White Castle because "everyone knew when we gathered together, we had White Castle." For Tressia's family, including a White Castle meal in a legal document like a last will and testament will ensure that it's served at events and gatherings of future generations, both in times of celebration and of sorrow.

4.    Andrew Dohler, Boca Raton, Florida

Growing up in New York, Andrew Dohler hung out at the White Castle the way most of his friends hung out at the mall. As he got older, he never lost his love for White Castle, even after moving to Florida. In fact, he returned to New York a few times just to get a taste of his beloved White Castle. When he took his girlfriend — now his wife — to New York for the first time, White Castle was their initial stop. And once when flying from New York back to Florida, he brought a Crave Case on board. Instead of enjoying the sliders at home, however, he gave them away to his fellow passengers. Needless to say, Andrew was one happy Craver when White Castle opened its Orlando location, less than three hours from his home. Now, he's able to pass down the White Castle legacy to his own three kids, making them all part of the craver Nation for life.

5.    Jessica Fields, Brownsburg, Indiana

Jessica has White Castle — and her best friend — to thank for making a love connection that's now in its 24th year. The summer before her senior year of high school, Jessica went with her best friend to pick up some White Castle before starting their shift as lifeguards at the local pool. The guy in the car in front of them at the drive-thru window kept looking at the girls through his rearview mirror. So, Jessica's friend stepped out of the car, walked up to the young man and asked if he had a girlfriend. Learning he was single, the friend gave him Jessica's number. The two chatted briefly from their cars, and two days later he called to ask her for a date. One month later, they became boyfriend and girlfriend, and they've been together ever since. Now, they celebrate special occasions with their three kids at White Castle — in the drive-thru, of course.

6.    Gordon Olson, Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Gordon Olson has been a long-time fan of White Castle, even though the only White Castle in Wisconsin is about 120 miles from his home in Oshkosh. Several years ago, while working as an eighth grade English teacher, Gordon learned that only two of his students were familiar with White Castle sliders. So, he brought in the frozen variety, warmed them up and shared them with his students, who were tasked with writing a food review about "those little squares of deliciousnes," as Gordon called them. The kids loved the sliders and wrote such good reviews that Gordon had several of them published in the school newspaper. The assignment not only taught kids the power of writing, it also turned them into White Castle fans.

7.    Ken Oberle, Marietta, Georgia

Ken Oberle has had the crave for as long as he can remember. When he was a young boy in St. Louis, his dad would stop almost daily at White Castle on his way home from the late shift and pick up one slider and a small shake for him. As a teen, Ken landed his first job at White Castle and became known as the "White Castle guy." Ken's grandparents were fans, too, and had White Castle-branded items all around their house. Generations of family members were big-time Cravers, but Ken took it to another level. Now a resident of Georgia, he wears his White Castle socks and PUMA sneakers with his hospital scrubs, burns a White Castle candle in the breakroom and shares White Castle condiments with his co-workers. He preaches the White Castle gospel down south and makes treks to the north to satisfy his family's crave.

8.    Scott Kempf, Novato, California

If the world book of records had a category for the most miles traveled to the largest number of White Castles in the shortest amount of time, Scott Kempf would, no doubt, have earned the honor. To celebrate his 60th birthday — and White Castle's 100th birthday — in 2021, Scott planned a special road trip: He committed to visiting 160 White Castle locations in 21 days or less and eating White Castle every day of the trip in every state he visited, including at the country's most eastern, western, northern and southern locations. On July 10 last year, he left Oakland, California, for Las Vegas, where he started his journey. Twenty days later, he ate at the White Castle in Orlando, Florida, the country's newest and largest castle, before heading back home. Realizing he never ate while visiting castles in New Jersey, he took a red-eye flight from San Fransisco to New Jersey, rented a car and drove to castle #1 in New Jersey for a meal before flying back to California. Over those 21 days, he made 165 visits to White Castle locations in all 15 states where they're located, eating sliders at least once in each state. He traveled approximately 16,500 miles by air and car, took nine flights, stayed in 14 hotel rooms, enjoyed 88 double sliders and increased his Twitter following 500% — from 3 to 15 — thanks to his White Castle adventure. Move over, Harold and Kumar. You have nothing on Scott Kempf.

9.    Eric Galler, Woodbury, Minnesota

Eric is the vice skipper for a curling team called "Team Sliders," a name that not only represents the basic action in curling — sliding a 44-pound granite stone across a 150-foot sheet of ice — but also celebrates his and his teammates' love for White Castle sliders. In the early 1980s, Eric and his high school buddies developed the crave for White Castle, often stopping by the White Bear Avenue location in Minneapolis following a movie, practice or a game. It was the group's go-to spot. Fast forward three decades, and the steadfast friends started a curling team, learning the sport at a curling training facility in Blaine, Minnesota. They soon discovered the nearby White Castle, where they go each week following their nighttime games to celebrate wins and commiserate losses. Sliders — both the White Castle and curling varieties — have helped build the bond between these lifelong friends and cravers.

10.  Monica Day, Columbus, Ohio, "Craver in Extremis"

As an anchor for WCMH Channel 4, Columbus' NBC affiliate, Monica says some of the most memorable stories she has covered involved White Castle weddings, Valentine's celebrations and love stories formed over sliders. Her journalistic interest in White Castle is no surprise, considering her personal passion for White Castle. "I can remember being a little girl," she said, "sliding back and forth on the seats in the Castle, enjoying a tiny burger, perfect for my little hands." Now, Monica watches her own kids do the same thing. Her daughter and son, she says, teethed on White Castle chicken rings, a tradition passed down from her great-grandmother. Monica says being selected to the Craver's Hall of Fame is basically her lifetime achievement award.

About White Castle®

White Castle, America's first fast-food hamburger chain, has been making hot and tasty Sliders as a family-owned business for 101 years. Based in Columbus, Ohio, White Castle started serving The Original Slider® in 1921. Today, White Castle owns and operates more than 350 restaurants dedicated to satisfying customers' cravings morning, noon and night, and sells its famous fare in retail stores nationwide. The Original Slider, named in 2014 as Time magazine's "Most Influential Burger of All Time," is served alongside a menu of creatively crafted Sliders and other mouthwatering food options, including White Castle's Impossible Slider, named by Thrillist in 2019 as the "Best Plant-Based Fast-Food Burger." White Castle's commitment to maintaining the highest quality products extends to the company owning and operating its own meat processing plants, bakeries and frozen-food processing plants. In 2021, 100 years after the first Slider was sold, Fast Company named the fast-food pioneer one of the "10 Most Innovative Dining Companies." White Castle is known for the legendary loyalty of its team members, more than 1 in 4 of whom have worked for White Castle for at least 10 years, and also for its faithful fans ("Cravers"), many of whom compete each year for entry into the Cravers Hall of Fame. The official White Castle app, available at iTunes App Store or Google Play, makes it easy for Cravers to access sweet deals and place pickup orders at any time. They can also have their orders delivered using one of White Castle's delivery partners. For more information on White Castle, visit whitecastle.com.

White Castle inducted 10 loyal customers into its elite Cravers Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 19.
White Castle inducted 10 loyal customers into its elite Cravers Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 19.(PRNewswire)
White Castle logo. (PRNewsFoto/WHITE CASTLE SYSTEMS,INC.)
White Castle logo. (PRNewsFoto/WHITE CASTLE SYSTEMS,INC.)(PRNewswire)

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