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Thirteen new White Castle Cravers Hall of Fame members from across the United States were inducted in Columbus on February 26, 2020.
Cravers Hall of Fame inductees receive a celebratory plaque; full travel, dining and hotel accommodations; and the right to be honored forever in sliderdom.
Since 2001, White Castle has inducted 228 members into the Cravers Hall of Fame.
The "Craver in Extremis" category was added in 2002 for celebrity Cravers like Alice Cooper, Kal Penn and John Cho, Telfar Clemens and the late Stan Lee.
White Castle inducts 13 of Its Most Loyal Fans Into the Cravers Hall of Fame
COLUMBUS, Ohio – White Castle, America's first fast-food hamburger chain, inducted 13 loyal fans into its Craver Hall of Fame yesterday in a special ceremony in Columbus. The 13 inductees, who come from cities across the country, were chosen from more than 250 entries that all showed just how far some people will go to satisfy their Crave.

White Castle created the Cravers Hall of Fame in 2001 as an exclusive, honorary club to recognize its most passionate and zealous fans, 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. Some of the stories are funny, some are poignant and some are remarkable, but all of them are very personal, heartfelt testaments to the ways in which White Castle has touched their lives and created lasting memories.

"Year after year, we're so so impressed with and humbled by the entries we receive for the Cravers Hall of Fame," said Jamie Richardson, vice president at White Castle. "White Castle has been such an important and memorable part of so many people's lives. We love to hear their creative and touching stories about visiting our restaurants and what those visits meant to them."

The 13 members of the Cravers Hall of Fame's 19th class were formally inducted during White Castle's annual Leadership Conference, which was held in the company's hometown of Columbus. White Castle provided the inductees with complimentary travel, dining and hotel accommodations, and presented them with a celebratory plaque in front of hundreds of White Castle employees, including members of the leadership and operations teams for both the restaurant and retail divisions.

To determine the Hall of Fame's most deserving Cravers, the judges set criteria based on brand loyalty, creative presentation, originality and magnitude of the Crave. In 2002, White Castle added the "Craver in Extremis" category to recognize public figures, celebrities and pop icons, including Alice Cooper, Telfar Clemens, Kal Penn and John Cho, and the late Stan Lee, who have publicly expressed their love of White Castle.

Since the Hall of Fame's start in 2001, a total of 228 inductees have been honored with this distinguished award.
13 Inductees Chosen for Their Stories About Enjoying White Castle on an Aircraft Carrier, During a Marathon, Before a Football Game, on Road Trips and More!

One Inductee Credits White Castle for Saving her Life


CONTACT INFO:
Wendy Schwantes or Mac Joseph
Paul Werth Associates
Phone: 614-224-8114
wschwantes@werthpr.com
mjoseph@werthpr.com

"Year after year, we're so so impressed with and humbled by the entries we receive for the Cravers Hall of Fame"


- Jamie Richardson


The 13 members of the Cravers Hall of Fame's 19th class were formally inducted during White Castle's annual Leadership Conference
Date: Feb. 26, 2020
Daniel Whalen, Virginia Beach, Virginia "USS Crave"
Mark Foster, Atlanta and Todd Foster, Nashville – "The Slider Marathon"
Clark Townsend, Lafayette, Indiana "A Sousaphone Slider Story"
Kayla Gray, Phoenix "Sliders Saved my Life Tonight"
Micah Bahnfleth, Omaha, Nebraska "Spreading the Campus Crave"
Gary Cowan, Rockville, Indiana "A White Castle Anniversary Tradition"
Dayton Porter and Sean Nguyen, Sterling Heights, Michigan "Captured the Crave"
Anna Williams,Ward Cove, Alaska "Alaska: The Final Crave Frontier
Ben Campbell, Scottsdale, Arizona "DJ Crave"
Jamie West and Drew Schmitt, Scottsdale, Arizona "Scottsdale Castle Royalty"












The Class of 2019 inductees includes:
Meet the Class of 2019 Inductees
View photos of the new Cravers Hall of Fame members from their big day. Click each image for more details.
Daniel Whalen, Virginia Beach, Virginia "USS Crave"
Retired Navy Captain Daniel Whalen has loved White Castle for as long as he can remember, but never as much as he did on Veterans Day in 1985. A Detroit native, Daniel has fond memories of choosing White Castle for his birthday dinners each year and making frequent late-night trips for Sliders with his high-school friends. After graduating from college, Daniel became a commissioned officer in the Navy. In 1985, while stationed aboard the USS Kitty Hawk during a six-month deployment, he got the Crave. He sent a letter home asking to have Sliders delivered to the aircraft carrier, which was positioned in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Thanks to White Castle's "Hamburgers to Fly" program, his family was able to get Sliders shipped from Ohio to San Francisco to the U.S. naval base in Guam to an air base in the Philippines to the military base Diego Garcia and finally to the flight deck of the USS Kitty Hawk. The delivery, which arrived on Veteran's Day, delighted a lot of sailors. "It was magnificent. The delicious smell was incredible enough, but to actually sink our teeth into these works of art was unreal," Daniel recalled in his Hall of Fame submission. Now living in Virginia Beach, Daniel picks up Crave Cases whenever he returns to Michigan. But no visit to White Castle will ever compare to his experience on the USS Kitty Hawk. "On that Veterans Day in 1985 in the middle of the Indian Ocean on board a Navy aircraft carrier, White Castle, with the help of this 'Craver' and his brother-in-law, made a very dreary stretch of 87 days at sea without a port of call hugely entertaining, delicious and enjoyable. It brought some of the guys to tears, I swear," he wrote.
Clark Townsend, Lafayette, Indiana "A Sousaphone Slider Story"
More than 20 years ago, the sousaphone section of the Purdue All-American Marching Band started a pre-game tradition that continues today – Slider Day. Every homecoming, the members of the group, who call themselves the "Purdoobahs," enjoy a meal of White Castle cheese Sliders before the football game. The second-year marchers supply between 300 to 450 Sliders, and the smallest member of the section suggests how many everyone should eat, a number that typically runs between eight and 14. As part of the fun, the Purdoobahs give each band director a single Slider so they can be part of the tradition, allowing everyone to "bond over the amazing taste of White Castle Sliders," says marching band member Clark Townsend, who submitted the Hall of Fame entry on behalf of the Purdoobahs. The group also requires a senior sousaphone player to eat a Slider during the halftime performance, a custom that was started on the very first Slider Day when a member of the section, overcome with a craving, gobbled a Slider in the middle of the show. "With thrifty prices for such high-quality American food, it was obvious for us to choose White Castle Sliders," Clark said. "We thoroughly enjoy every single Slider Day, as it allows us to bond over the American tradition of excellence that White Castle continues to exemplify."
Kayla Gray, Phoenix "Sliders Saved my Life Tonight"
When Kayla Gray was given the opportunity to move for a job, she chose Phoenix over the other location. Phoenix, after all, was about to get its first White Castle, and Kayla had told herself she'd never again live in a city that didn't have a White Castle. That's because Kayla has been a White Castle fan for as long as she can remember. Her dad, whom she calls her "Crave King," introduced her to her first Slider when she was about 4 years old, and they bonded over their shared love for the steam-grilled beef patty. When Kayla was in junior high, her dad drove her to school each morning, but not before stopping at White Castle. She'd get four sliders, no pickle, he'd get a 10 pack. Those mornings in the car listening to music, having heart-to-heart conversations and eating Sliders strengthened their already strong father-daughter bond. At age 15, Kayla had brain surgery. The operation took a considerable toll on her body, and she couldn't eat or keep anything down. Facing another procedure meant to keep much-needed nutrients in her body, Kayla asked for her favorite meal – four White Castle Sliders and French fries. For the first time, her body didn't reject the food. "That was the first day I was able to keep a meal down and I was able to be discharged from the hospital," Kayla wrote. "White Castle literally saved my life."
Mark Foster, Atlanta, and Todd Foster, Nashville, "The Slider Marathon"
Twin brothers Mark and Todd Foster have many things in common, but their shared love for running and for White Castle stand out. Regular participants in the annual Rock 'n' Roll Nashville Marathon, they thought it would be fun to combine their two passions. So they reached out to White Castle's home office, asking if they could wear employee uniforms in the race and "promote the best food in the world for 26.2 miles," they wrote in their submission. White Castle agreed, and a Castle near the race site fitted them with t-shirts, hats and aprons. On race day, after fueling up on a breakfast of cheese Sliders, the brothers headed toward the starting line with Crave Cases in tow, ready to give Sliders to hungry fans and racers. "We were the most popular dudes in Music City," they said. The race announcer recognized the brothers by name and gave a shout out to White Castle, too. Six hours later, Mark and Todd crossed the finish line and headed back to White Castle for a post-race Slider extravaganza. "We felt like movie stars," they said. "Onlookers … seemed to connect to a time when they also enjoyed White Castle with friends or family. That's what White Castle does; it creates memories and smiles."
Micah Bahnfleth, Omaha, Nebraska "Spreading the Campus Crave"
Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, Micah Bahnfleth didn't live near any White Castle restaurants. But he developed a love for Sliders, nonetheless, thanks to his father, who never passed up an opportunity to stop at a White Castle when traveling. While in college in Omaha, Micah learned some of his friends never had White Castle. Surprised by the revelation and determined to show them what they'd been missing, Micah arranged a trip to the nearest White Castle, which just happened to be 4-1/2 hours away in Columbia, Missouri. One Friday night, Micah and three friends hopped in the car and made the 310-mile trip, pre-ordering a Crave Crate of 100 Sliders so they wouldn't have to wait a single minute once they arrived to satisfy their Crave. The long, late-night trip was worth the trouble, as his friends loved their first taste of White Castle. They were all back in Omaha by 8 the next morning, their "bellies full of those delicious burgers," Micah wrote. The spur-of-the-moment road trip reached legendary status among his peers, and Micah has since been on three more late-night White Castle runs from Omaha to Columbia, each time with first-timers. Micah says he's responsible for introducing White Castle to at least 30 people, including his wife, and he couldn't be more proud. "Over the years I've proven an extreme desire to satisfy my crave at a moment's notice, even when it means driving for nine hours when I should be sleeping, because that's what you have to do sometimes when you want quality burgers!"
Gary Cowan, Rockville, Indiana "A White Castle Anniversary Tradition"
In the late 1950s, Gary Cowan and his parents would travel through Indianapolis on their way to Turkey Run State Park to go camping, and on each trip, they'd stop at the downtown White Castle. Fast forward a few years, and Gary and his wife Marybeth continued the tradition, stopping at White Castles as they traveled together. She'd always order a single Slider, and he'd get a double cheeseburger. Marybeth passed away nearly nine years ago, but Gary goes to White Castle on their Aug. 7 anniversary and places that same order. The simple act of ordering brings back "the sunshine of her smile" Gary says, and every bite elicits a warm memory. "Many people think of you (White Castle) as just food. But for me, it was truly about my parents loving me enough to stop and do something just for the pure unadulterated love of their son and for my wife, whom I miss with everything inside of me," he wrote in his Hall of Fame submission. "Eating at White Castle will never be just food to me. It will be a link to everything in my past that has given me a sense of joy and belonging."
Dayton Porter and Sean Nguyen, Sterling Heights, Michigan "Captured the Crave"
Friends Dayton Porter and Sean Nguyen were indulging in a late-night Crave at a White Castle near their home in Sterling Heights, Michigan, when they noticed a poster in the window. Enter the "Capture the Crave" photo contest, the poster said, for a chance to win free White Castle Sliders for a year. With little hesitation, the two friends decided to enter the contest. Their photo, showing the boys wearing matching suits and ties and leaning against a nice black car while eating Sliders, won first place.
Anna Williams, Ward Cove, Alaska "Alaska: The Final Crave Frontier
Growing up in Ohio, Anna Williams had unlimited access to White Castle's delicious Sliders. After moving to Kentucky, finding a White Castle got a little more difficult, but she was still able to satisfy her Crave every now and then. Now, she lives in a small town north of Ketchikan, Alaska, and the closest White Castle is about 3,000 miles away. So her chances to eat at White Castle are far and few between. Fortunately, her local grocery store carries White Castle frozen Sliders, and she and her husband take full advantage of the opportunity. They even got their toddler hooked on Sliders. Pregnant when she submitted her Hall of Fame nomination, Anna wrote "My White Castle cravings have gotten out of control! We continuously buy the store out of the frozen six-packs; I just can't get enough!"
Ben Campbell, Scottsdale, Arizona "DJ Crave"
Ben Campbell has been a huge White Castle fan since 1985 when he was introduced to the brand as a teenager living in Nashville. "I remember a friend of mine … said, Hey, I just ate a hamburger at this new place called White Castle. It's like nothing you've ever eaten," Ben recalled. "He was right! I maintain the double cheeseburger is a legend in a bun!" Now a DJ at KNIX-FM 1025.5 in Phoenix, the dedicated Craver was so excited for White Castle's arrival in Scottsdale that he broadcast his morning show live from White Castle on the day it opened in October.
Jamie West and Drew Schmitt, Scottsdale, Arizona "Scottsdale Castle Royalty"
Jamie and Drew, both hailing from the Midwest where they grew up as White Castle fans, were the very first customers at the Scottsdale White Castle when it opened in October 2019. Now living in Scottsdale, the two of them arrived at the new White Castle in an RV and camped out in the parking lot for 96 hours to make sure they got the first spot in line. Dressed in medieval clothing, they looked like royalty as they placed the very first food orders at the newly opened restaurant. White Castle leadership acknowledged their dedication by letting them cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony.
White Castle, America's first fast-food hamburger chain, has been making hot and tasty sliders as a family-owned business for more than 99 years. Based in Columbus, Ohio, White Castle started serving The Original Slider®, made from 100% USDA inspected beef, in 1921. Today White Castle owns and operates more than 365 restaurants dedicated to satisfying customers' cravings, morning, noon and night and sells its famous fare in retail stores nationwide, in a growing number of international locations, and at military exchanges around the world.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 ImpossibleSlider, 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. White Castle is known for the legendary loyalty of its team members, more than one in four of whom have worked for White Castle for at least 10 years, and of its faithful fans, affectionately referred to as 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 pick-up orders any time. Theycan also have their orders delivered using one of White Castle's delivery partners. For more information on White Castle, visit whitecastle.com.
Media Contacts:
Wendy Schwantes or Mac Joseph
P: 614-224-8114

wschwantes@werthpr.com
mjoseph@werthpr.com
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