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Food by VICE

Why America Is Still Obsessed with White Castle Sliders

Listen up, stoners: “We are at the base of all metaphysics when it comes to hot and tasty food that is easy and fun to enjoy."

by Jelisa Castrodale
Mar 9 2017, 8:00pm

Photo via Flickr user Mark Guim

White Castle has spent several decades trying to make "crave" happen.

Its longtime slogan has been "What You Crave," it refers to its online shop as the House of Crave, and it sells 30 of its tiny burgers packed together in a 4,190-calorie Crave Case. But now those cravings are official: According to a recent study, White Castle's sliders are, in fact, the most-craved burgers in the country, easily ousting other beloved chains such as In-N-Out and Five Guys.

Technomic, a research and consulting firm, surveyed fast food customers and asked them to rank the most craveable of all burger chains, and White Castle finished at the top of the list. The Columbus, Ohio-based slider slinger received a score of 69.6 percent, which means that almost 7 out of 10 White Castle diners rated the burgers as "craveworthy." (I'm also curious about the other three, who were eating out of what, a sense of obligation? To make McDonald's jealous? Because they were high AF?)

Krystal, another regional slider-maker, was ranked No. 2 when it comes to craveability, followed by Burger King, In-N-Out and Whataburger.

"We are humbled to be counted as the most crave-worthy of all—and thankful to the citizens of Craver Nation who have made this accolade possible," Jamie Richardson, Vice President of White Castle, told MUNCHIES. "As a family owned business for 96 years now, we've known from the very beginning that there's a hunger in America for bold and flavorful food that's unafraid of intense taste and fun."

Richardson might be right, and these results could be completely unsurprising. After all, White Castle founder Walt Anderson is credited with both inventing the modern hamburger and opening the country's first real fast food restaurant. But on the other hand—and stoner movies notwithstanding—White Castle doesn't have the obnoxious cult appeal of In-N-Out or Shake Shack (which didn't even make the list).

White Castle also fared well in a previous survey, which asked customers to rank the most craveable chains, period—not just burger joints. In that study, White Castle finished fourth, behind Krispy Kreme, Cinnabon (LOL), and Raising Cain's Chicken Fingers (huh?).

So why White Castle? "We are at the base of all metaphysics when it comes to hot and tasty food that is easy and fun to enjoy," Richardson says.  

Or maybe it's that Harold and Kumar movie. Maybe it's the novelty of those sliders (which might explain Krystal's appearance as the most-craveable runner-up). Maybe it's an effective slogan that has brainwashed us into believing that it really is what we crave.

Or maybe they're just damn tasty little burgers.