COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- As the original American hamburger chain, White Castle has been part of American culture since 1921, and therefore enjoys a passionate fan base unlike any other quick-service restaurant. Fans of White Castle are known as Cravers, and in 2001 White Castle began recognizing the most ardent of those fans with the honor of being inducted into the White Castle Cravers Hall of Fame (CHOF).
For the past year, legions of loyal Cravers from across the country have submitted personal, funny and heartfelt stories for a chance to be inducted into the White Castle CHOF. After reading and judging almost 1,000 entries, 11 loyal Cravers from nine states have been selected. The Class of 2015 will be formerly inducted into the 15th annual White Castle CHOF during a ceremony at the home office in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday, October 20, 2015.
The judges set criteria to evaluate each story based on the following: brand loyalty, creative presentation, originality and magnitude of the Crave.
"White Castle is always touched by the unique and creative memorable moments our Cravers have participated in over the years," said Jamie Richardson, White Castle vice president. "Many of our Cravers tell us stories about growing up with our brand and how it has been a staple in their lives, whether it's transporting Sliders to an army barracks in Germany, celebrating wedding anniversaries or just simply passing the passion for White Castle from one generation to the next. CHOF represents the most ardent of our fans, and it isn't an insignificant accomplishment to join the ranks. Many are called, but few are chosen. In fact, we think it's easier to strike gold than it is to be accepted into the CHOF."
To date, 195 inductees have been honored with this distinguished award. In 2002, White Castle added the "Craver in Extremis" category to recognize public figures, celebrities and pop icons who had publicly shown their love of White Castle.
The Class of 2015 inductees includes:
- Matthew Aull, St. Charles, Missouri – "The Mark of a Craver" – Matt is a self-proclaimed "Super Craver" and there is no better proof than the tattoo on his forearm. It depicts the White Castle logo and is a constant reminder of his "dedication to the Crave." From family outings to their local Castle, to dedicating 10-hour bouts in the Crave Mobile line, patiently waiting for his Sliders, Matt is truly worthy of his Hall of Fame status.
- Clyde Eide, Bryan, Texas – "Scouting Out The Crave" – Since the 1930's, Clyde has been using his Boy Scout intuition to satisfy his Crave. After discovering a White Castle coupon in The Columbus Dispatch as a young lad, Clyde and his Boy Scout buddies went door to door on a "scavenger hunt" for a very specific page of the newspaper, which offered a White Castle coupon. After securing as many coupons as they could, the boys headed to their local Castle and happily stuffed themselves all evening. These days Clyde is still as passionate as ever; he now has his daughter Sarah buy him Sliders from the grocery store as he lives in Bryan, Texas where there are no White Castle restaurants.
- Michele Malvern, Valdosta, Georgia – "A Tale of Circus Sliders" – As a high-flying aerial ballerina in the circus, Michele spent many years happily punctuating her tours with nocturnal stops to White Castles. Though bleary-eyed and weatherworn, her fellow circus Cravers could always be found with their flashlights out and their White Castle directories in hand as they crisscrossed the Midwest and East Coast. With one bite, gone were the thoughts of blistered toes and achy hamstrings. To this day, she still enjoys her Sliders and White Castle coffee as she reminisces about her time under the big top.
- Tom McCabe, Laguna Hills, California – "White Castle is Home" – Every Sunday, Tom and his family would pull their old Plymouth into a drive-in space at their local White Castle and his father, a humble police officer, would abashedly roll down the window as a cute roller-skating waitress approached. It was always the same, 35 Sliders, five Cokes, five orders of Fries and five pieces of Pineapple Cheesecake. To this day, Tom's Crave remains the same. And though he now lives far from a White Castle, he makes sure to get his fill with Sliders from the grocery store or small detours on road trips. No matter where he is, White Castle is always home for Tom.
- Lynn W. Rolf III, Leavenworth, Kansas – "Generations of Cravers" – After being elected as the Veterans of Foreign Wars western conference vice chairman, Lynn and his father elevated their Craver status in a truly "royal" way. Drawn by horse and carriage, they made their grand entrance through their local White Castle drive-thru, with 10 Crave Cases on their minds, which were enjoyed by friends and family who attended the election's reception. Later on, after the passing of Lynn's grandfather, he and his father made a memorial road-trip from Kansas to Columbus, Ohio, stopping for Sliders all along the way. Having also driven over 225 miles for a White Castle birthday dinner, Lynn truly embodies what it means to be a multi-generation Craver.
- Gene Snyder, Hermiston, Oregon – "The Traveling Slider-Man" – Gene isn't afraid of a challenge, and he certainly isn't going to pass up a craving for White Castle. Originally from Chicago where White Castle is prevalent, Gene moved with his family at a young age to Seattle where White Castles are only available in the grocery's freezer section. However, that hasn't stopped him one bit. Through planning ahead and thinking only of the Crave, Gene has visited White Castles all over the United States. Always making sure to set aside time during trips to visit family or while on vacation
s. His Crave truly knows no boundaries!
- Bill Ehlers and John Spanarkel, Maplewood, New Jersey – "Bill and John Go to White Castle" – In 1978, Bill and John met for the first time during their freshmen year at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Although from very different environments, they had much in common, including their love of White Castle. During their four years at Drew, they would make many White Castle runs both day and night. These regular trips helped build their bond and 35 years later, they still meet several times a year to share their craving and catch up. Their annual trips to the Castle are usually at the same Castle they first visited so many years ago. John sums up their "crave tale" by stating, "Life marches on, but good friends and White Castle are always there."
- Derrick Tung and Cathy Reyes, Woodridge, Illinois – "Your Castle For a Dance" – Derrick Tung has been a Craver for life. Following trips to White Castle as a kid and many late night runs during college (while studying for organic chemistry exams), White Castle has played a big role in his life. Fast-forward to his wedding where Derrick was so consumed by the Crave that he actually missed his last dance with his bride Cathy due to coordinating a Slider run! Luckily, his wife Cathy shares his love of the Castle and was thrilled to have the tasty treats as part of their wedding celebration. She even forgave him for missing their last dance. White Castle continues to be a significant part of their lives through other regular memorable moments such as Valentine's Days, while preparing White Castle's turkey stuffing recipe at Thanksgiving, through their regular late-night eats and breakfast outings after church. Although they both admit, their upcoming CHOF induction is the most memorable!
- Thomas Van Keuren, Oro Valley, Arizona – "Thousands of Craves (and Counting)" – Since Tom was a young boy, he's had the Crave and has gone out of his way to satisfy it. Growing up with a single mother on a budget, White Castle trips were a special treat, but that was only the beginning. His appetite continued to grow into his teen years where most evenings out concluded with a mandatory stop at the Castle, even after a date. His enthusiasm for The Original Slider® remained so great that in 1982 he began having Sliders shipped to his home in Arizona. Within three years, he had ordered more than 3,000 hamburgers and drove 52 miles round trip to pick up his prized Sliders. As if that was not enough, every trip Tom makes within a White Castle market, whether business or pleasure, naturally includes a stop at his favorite childhood restaurant. Tom's wife Janis not only accepts Tom's Craving ways, but she supports his affectionate affair with the Slider and was the one who nominated him for the 2015 CHOF. Tom is such a fan that both of his sons have also become Cravers, and White Castle has become a staple in the Van Keuren home.
About White Castle®
White Castle is a family-owned business based in Columbus, Ohio, that owns and operates over 380 restaurants in 13 states. The company was founded in Wichita, Kansas, in 1921 and is America's first fast-food hamburger chain. Famous for its loyal fans, known as "Cravers" White Castle is celebrated for its ability to create distinctive hot and tasty menu items, which inspire legendary loyalty from customers. For more information on White Castle, visit WhiteCastle.com.
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