GateHouse — I don’t know about you, but I spent New Year’s Eve getting hammered at White Castle. Ha! That’s a joke, of course — as I’ve somehow ended up with children living in my home, what I actually did was nothing! Well, at least nothing that required me to apply pants that aren’t operated by a drawstring.
But if I had gone anywhere, it would have been to The Castle, because according to a newspaper article that has been received by the Vrabel family with something close to the reckless delirium we felt when the Bears won the Super Bowl, The Castle is considering expanding its current roster of menu offerings (Gruel, Gruel On Bun, Gruel On Bun Feat. Chili, etc.) to include beer and/or wine.
Now, first of all, why this is needed is a mystery. White Castle, of course, is a brand that needs no improvement, no upgrading, no bridge to the 21st century. White Castle is built on the idea of shoe closet-sized restaurants that serve construction paper-thick burger-type objects on synthetic breadsubstance, all delivered to you in an environment that would suggest you are eating the food of kings and queens, if your royal subjects were all 400 lb. NASCAR fans or on their way home from the bars and think they’re in a Taco Bell.
Obviously, this is not a negative. This is what White Castle does, and it does it magically. Seriously if they started serving “salads” or “shrimp” or even burgers that were made of burgers I would be the first to lead the nationwide uprising. Ron Paul-college-volunteer style. “BRING BACK OUR WHITE CASTLE!” I would shout into a megaphone I stole from a hippie, “THESE NEW MENU ITEMS ARE DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO FOOD.”
Regular readers of this column — and hello again to whoever showed up looking for “too fat for diver’s suit” — know that we Vrabels have some history with White Castle. The Castle in Whiting, Ind., sits just feet from both my grandparents’ old house and the massive church that’s served as home for most of our family’s major life events. Yet many of these events happened long ago, and since time has a way of bending and reshaping your memories, most of us now believe that our grandparents and many of my cousins were married in White Castle, probably, if the family history is any indication, with benefit of a coupon. So when I say that White Castle is in my blood, I mean it’s in my blood, and that sometimes there’s this tingling sensation on my left side.
Anyway, domestics there are $3, and wines are $4.50. It’s unclear what kind of wine they serve, though I’m going to guess their house wine, is something light and oaky and made of 45% unused bacon grease with a delightful whiff of pickles. I literally do not know why White Castle representatives are not writing these ideas down right now.
Related, sort of
(Incidentally, this story’s Related Items include a headline “Local foods, healthful kids’ meals among 2012 restaurant trends,” which is obviously an indication that White Castle does not need your elitist left “restaurant trends,” and if it wants to serve heavily watered-down frat-daddy beer alongside its partially liquefied burgerslush objects IT WILL DO WHAT WHITE CASTLE WANTS TO DO. White Castle’s like the Rick Perry of fast-food joints, except with a much stronger chance of becoming president.)
Even the restaurant industry is taking notice. “It’s been a very challenging time in the restaurant industry … folks are trying all kinds of ways of driving traffic into their restaurants,” said Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant industry analyst, to The Newspaper. I couldn’t agree more! The answer here clearly lies in liquoring up consumers in a restaurant that offers drive-thru service, a place in which you can order 50 edible objects for $2.49 and still go home pretty much starving, a place that has been perfectly OK with its main food item being called a “slider” for 500 years, instead of something wacky like offering food.