COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- White Castle, America's first fast-food hamburger chain, has built a passionate fan base, commonly referred to as "Cravers," that are loyal, dedicated, and willing to do nearly anything to satisfy their Crave. That's why White Castle created the Cravers Hall of Fame in 2001, as the industry's most exclusive, honorary club to recognize the restaurant chain's most zealous fans.
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For the past year, White Castle customers from across the country have gone to great lengths for the opportunity to be inducted into the coveted Cravers Hall of Fame as part of the 2018 class. After judging nearly 500 entries with personal, funny and heartfelt stories, White Castle selected 12 of the most dedicated fans to be honored forever in sliderdom as part of the celebratory club. Each member was formally inducted into the 18th annual White Castle Cravers Hall of Fame during a special ceremony at the White Castle Leadership Conference in the chain's hometown of Columbus on February 19, 2019. In addition to full travel, dining and hotel accomodations, each inductee received a celebratory plaque in front of hundreds of White Castle leadership and operations team members.
"Every year, we're amazed by the creative and touching stories we receive from Cravers who've made a tradition out of visiting our restaurants," said Jamie Richardson, vice president of White Castle. "We receive hundreds of entries each year, many telling the stories of growing up with our brand, sharing our food with younger generations, celebrating weddings and anniversaries with us, or even traveling across the world to get a taste of the one-of-a-kind flavor our sliders offer."
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, Kal Penn and John Cho, Telfar Clemens and the late Stan Lee, who have all publicly expressed their love of White Castle.
To date, 215 inductees have been honored with this distinguished award.
The Class of 2018 inductees includes:
- Warren Davis, Los Angeles, CA – "Craver. Gamer. Hall of Famer" – Warren came face-to-face with the Crave as a teenager in Brooklyn after being drawn in by the sliders' sensuous aroma. His hometown Castle was also featured in Saturday Night Fever, a moment that brought him great pride. In the 1980s, Warren was in the early stages of his career as a video game developer. The first game he developed – Q*bert – is now a video game classic and Warren admits he may have never finished the game without the late night slider sustenance provided by the nearby Castle.
- Noah Martin, Chicago, IL – "A Prince of Sliders" – Noah's Crave is one that affects him daily, to the extent that he's eaten 10 of the tasty sliders every day for the last 12 years. But eating wasn't always easy for him in his youth. As a child, he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and he was always a selective eater. On the day he tasted his first slider, courtesy of his father, he was hooked and had found his new favorite food choice.
- Mark Hammergren, Sacramento, CA – "Vegas or Bust" – Mark's love for White Castle began in the 1980s, but he moved far from a Castle shortly after. Still, the distance never deterred him from feeding his Crave whenever he could. During the 2018 holiday season, he felt a Crave that he couldn't resist. After some convincing, Mark and his wife packed up their vehicle for a slider excursion to the nearest restaurant in Las Vegas, more than eight hours away. After a sufficient serving of sliders, he and his wife had no doubt that the trip was worth it, and began the long journey home.
- Henry Leathers, Louisville, KY – "The Morning Cravers' Club" – Henry has had a lifetime of Cravings that have resulted in friendships and routines. Growing up near a Castle, he was always an early riser and began to notice other White Castle regulars in the morning hours. Soon after, he joined a troop of Cravers who began regular gatherings at White Castle for coffee, breakfast and conversations. Henry's wife and family are Cravers, too, and his son-in-law even asked for his daughter's hand in marriage at a Castle.
- Robert Matarese, East Greenbush, NY – "Generations of Crave" – Robert began his life as a Craver nearly 60 years ago and quickly learned that the minimum order to be truly satisfied was a sack of 10. After marrying and moving away, he ingeniously developed a Crave network to continue his slider access. Today, he uses the White Castle app to alert him of nearby Castles and his grandson was recently selected to the Junior U.S. Olympic Luge team after learning how to luge during the White Castle USA Luge Slider Search.
- Moses and Carmen Perez, Chicago, IL – "A Match Made in White Castle" – Moses and Carmen are a true Craver couple with decades of bold and memorable moments. After meeting in church, the couple uncovered they had a lot in common, including suffering from epilepsy and valuing friendship above all; and an unrelenting desire for White Castle sliders. The couple's wedding was complete with White Castle-catered hor d'voeuvres, appetizers and a Castle-topped cake.
- Dolores Brown, Alexandria, VA – "A White Castle Patriot" – Dolores' White Castle tale begins in New Jersey and shows that Cravings know no bounds. Her work as a U.S. diplomat took her all over the world; a dream trip for some, but for others, a serious slider hiatus. No matter how arduous the trip, her first move upon re-entering the country was making a long-awaited White Castle run.
- Peter Bevilacqua, Nanuet, NY – "A Birthday Crave" – After tasting his first slider at the age of five, Peter's love for White Castle grew into a tradition. For 57 years, he celebrated his birthday at a Castle in New York, where he developed a family-like relationship with team members. Peter recently passed away and was represented at the ceremony by his close friend, Thomas Lombardi.
- Ronald Cherry, Bellerose Manor, NY – "Spreading the Crave" – Ronald began a tradition of sharing sliders on his birthday at the age of five. Since then, he's made a tradition of sharing the Crave with others. In college, Ronald and his mother graciously donated 100 sliders for his fraternity brothers to enjoy. While volunteering at a local veteran's hospital, he facilitated the donation of 200 sliders to surprise patients. Legend has it, he's still introducing White Castle to future Cravers to this day.
- Adam and Whitney Ross, Fort Worth, TX – "A White Castle Love Story" – Adam and Whitney have a White Castle love story like no other after saying "I do" during the first-ever White Castle Royal Wedding in Las Vegas. When the couple met, they had different slider backgrounds. Adam grew up near a Castle in New York while Whitney developed her White Castle love through the frozen sliders. Their White Castle wedding experience was complete with a rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony, reception and their favorite craveable menu items. To cap it off, they enjoyed a five-night honeymoon in Belgium and stayed in a real Castle, fit for a true Cravers Hall of Fame couple.
About White Castle®
White Castle, America's first fast-food hamburger chain based in Columbus, Ohio, has been making Bold Moves™ as a family-owned business for 98 years. The company was founded in Wichita, Kansas, in 1921, serving The Original Slider®, made from 100 percent USDA inspected beef. Today White Castle owns and operates nearly 400 restaurants in 13 states. The pioneering original slider, Time Magazine's most influential burger of all time, is served alongside a menu of creatively crafted sliders and other tasty food options. White Castle's commitment to maintaining the highest quality products extends to the company owning and operating its own meat processing plants and bakeries as well as three frozen food processing plants. The retail division markets White Castle's famous fare in grocery, club stores, convenience stores, vending operations and concessions across the United States and in a growing number of international locations, including military base exchanges around the world.
Cravers on-the-go can access sweet deals and place a pick-up order any time in the official White Castle app. Download the app today from the iTunes App Store or Google Play. For more information on White Castle visit whitecastle.com.
SOURCE White Castle