So long, farewell

By Andy Balaskovitz

South Lansing White Castle to close its doors Oct. 2

Lansing is about to lose a landmark: the White Castle at 6541 S. Cedar St.

Managers at the south Lansing White Castle confirmed today that the restaurant’s doors will close Oct. 2. They referred all other questions to the White Castle corporate headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, which is yet to return calls.


White Castle, 6541 S. Cedar St., in Lansing, will close Oct. 2. Photo by Andy Balaskovitz.

The nearest White Castle outside of Lansing is in Howell, about 30 miles away.

The location not only serves Greater Lansing but is the western most outlet in the state.

Mary and Dick Shirey, Grand Rapids residents, gasped when told the Lansing location will close. “Oh no,” they said simultaneously.

The Shireys’ drive to the Lansing location as often as they can. “It’s our little treat,” Mary said. They started going to White Castle on date nights in Ohio about 50 years ago and have come to the Lansing restaurant for about 10, they said.

“There goes our White Castle,” Dick Shirley lamented. The Shireys said they don’t stray from the classic White Castle “sliders.” They ordered eight with mustard and onions for themselves today and took 20 more home for their children in Grand Rapids.

While pre-packaged frozen “sliders” — White Castle’s trademark miniature hamburgers steam grilled on a bed of onions — are available at retailers such as Kroger, Meijer and Sam’s Club, Lansing “cravers” will have a bit of a drive after Oct. 2.

Tony Curtis, a truck driver from Taylor, said the frozen patties just aren’t the same.

“They’re OK,” he said. “I just like the fresh ones better.” Curtis added that he’s been going to White Castles for 20 years and stops in the south Lansing restaurant once per month.

“It’s a bummer. I’m sorry to see it go,” he said.

Billy Ingram and Walter Anderson founded White Castle in Kansas in 1921. The BBC reported in 2003 that Anderson invented the hamburger bun and modern fast-food style grill around 1916.

White Castle preceded McDonald’s in fast-food glory and reportedly restored American faith in ground beef after the groundbreaking 1906 novel “The Jungle,” by Upton Sinclair, which exposed horrific conditions in early 1900s Chicago meat-processing plants. White Castle’s white porcelain interiors were meant to give an air of cleanliness.