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Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

White Castle vs. Eddie's

Posted Tuesday, July 7, 2009, at 8:42 AM

June 7, 2009, is a date which the history of the Wabash Valley may ever commemorate. Perhaps the historical society could mount a plaque. We could even declare the day a local holiday.

June 7, 2009, is the day when -- as it must to all places where civilization flourishes -- White Castle Restaurants came to Terre Haute.

Because of circumstances above and beyond my control, I was not able to dine at this new center of culinary exceptionalism until recently. It was worth the wait, albeit an impatient wait.

Inevitably now there will be those born and bred in Brazil who will contend Eddie's burgers are just as good -- some declaring them better. This misses the point.

It is not about the sandwich -- neither is objectively all that great. It is about the memories.

White Castle vs. Eddie's is about being 7-years-old seeing real, live carhops in neat white uniforms; and hearing for the first time about how they were a nickel each when White Castle opened in 1927. My parents recalled the first, and only, newspaper announcement offering "20 for $1." During the Depression, as I recall the story, if you had a dime you could share a burger and a Coca-Cola. If you had a dime you had a date, if you had a dime. By the time I came along a nickel burger cost twelve-cents.

White Castle vs. Eddie's is about being very, very good at church; good enough we got to go to White Castle -- daddy, mommy, big brother Terry, and snotty little sister, Diane.

White Castle vs. Eddie's is about Terry getting his Learners Permit and being allowed for the first time to drive in heavy traffic. Where did he want to go? White Castle, of course. To his dying day Terry could each six, plus fries. I never could down that many in one setting at any age.

Mostly, though, White Castle vs. Eddie's is about The Bet with Terry. Sometime after one of us turned 50, we made The Bet: Whichever one died the youngest had to buy White Castles for the brother who lived to be oldest. It was, as we well knew, a sucker bet. There was no way for the "winner" to collect.

I wrote about this bet in a blog back on Dec. 11, 2008, when I had officially won our bet by living longer than Terry. At the time I wrote to White Castle Restaurants inquiring when they'd open in Terre Haute and telling them about my wager with Terry.

White Castle responded with a "3 for Free" Coupon, which is what I used the other day to get my White Castles. I like to think redeeming that coupon as redeeming my brother's "marker" due me when he lost the bet. Markers being a gambling term -- or so I was told -- by my brother.

White Castles are now 61 cents each. For that price I might as well have an Eddie's.

David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at kayanddavid@joink.com.


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

It's forever marked in my mind. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard WhiteCastle was coming to town!

Thanks Dave.

-- Posted by Dagnabbit on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 10:19 AM

Thoughtful: Which time? Rumor mill has had White Castles in our area on 46, then at Reece's point. I said that I wouldn't believe it till I actually eat there. I can proudly say, we have a White Castles in the Wabash Valley now, and I for one am extatic. I still frequent Eddie's. There is not substitute for the local ambiance.

-- Posted by Conservative Dad on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 5:33 PM

I have to say that I laughed out loud at this blog, especially the second paragraph. Sadly, in the Fort Riley, KS area, there are no White Castles. There aren't even any in the Kansas City Metropolitan area.

Aside from the fact that they are open 24 hours a day, I think the main reason I enjoy them myself are the memories I have also. I can only remember when they were $.49 a piece, ten times the price your parents paid. But at $.62 a piece, they're still worth every penny.

-- Posted by theoneinthearmy on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 8:26 PM

EDDIE'S!!!

I have grown up at Eddie's Sandwich Shop and all of my siblings have as well. They now bring their children to Eddie's. Eddie's has the one thing that White Castle doesn't have--Eddie's is NOT a chain restaurant. Eddie's is one and only! That in and of itself in this day and age makes Eddie's great. Plus, where else can you get such cheap, but tasty food & the nicest staff? You can walk into Eddie's without having been there in ten years-which is what I did-and everyone will speak to you like you are a lost relative--you don't get that at White Castle! Plus, Eddie's has the Wall of Fame and Wall of Shame! W.C. doesn't have that! I'll gladly take Eddie's any day over W.C.!! And my (future) children and grandchildren will as well! Long live Eddie's!! :)

-- Posted by millertime on Wed, Jul 8, 2009, at 7:27 AM

I waited YEARS for White Castle to come to town!!!! And.....lo and behold ! THEY FINALLY DID!!!!! So....that means no more Midnight (or later!) trips to Indy or Plainfield for our dozens and dozens of White Castles!!!!!

Gotta love 'em!!!!

-- Posted by JaniLou on Wed, Jul 8, 2009, at 3:06 PM

I had my first White Castles when I was 5 years old. I think they were 7 cents each. We stopped at the one that used to be on West Washington St. in Indy. We would stop there whenever we went to visit my aunt in Indy,usually 2 or 3 times a year. I am quite a bit older now and I still enjoy White Castles. I've enjoyed the burgers at Eddie's, too, but I must say I did a "happy dance" when WC opened in Terre Haute.

I always enjoy your blog. Very entertaining.

-- Posted by virginiagrace on Sat, Jul 11, 2009, at 9:29 PM

Eddies was fifteen cents and close to the the old Brazil Times building,I think a couple of blocks west. It was wonderful on Saturday afternoons to go and get a bottle of Coke Cola and eat Burgers at Eddies before getting our news papers the folding and delivering them. And the aroma was that of real beef. Then there was the Tenderloins larger than the bun sold on a street that I can't remember but it was the West End of town, and oh I can't forget the West End store that sat on the South Side of Main Street and West of that street I cant remember the name of. I guess my point is that although I haven't been home in a while there may be comparisons but when it comes to burgers, yep, Eddies was the choice for me.

-- Posted by Nosredna Retep on Sun, Jul 12, 2009, at 3:54 AM

Well I am very jealous that I am not home to see the new White Castle. Unfortunatly Phoenix does not have white castle, and most people think im a weirdo for talking about them. I do have to say if Eddies never would of burnt down it would be a hands down winner to White Castle. Although I do like the efforts put into the new Eddies, its just not the after school place it was when I was a kid. Great blog sir

-- Posted by The Crabb in AZ on Sun, Jul 12, 2009, at 7:44 PM

Is that Jenny Crab???

-- Posted by benjilewis on Mon, Jul 13, 2009, at 12:22 PM

nope Brian type

-- Posted by The Crabb in AZ on Thu, Jul 16, 2009, at 3:36 AM

No posts have been made for a while on this topic, but I hope a couple of my memories of White Castle will get read. I lived in Indianapolis when I was young, and White Castle was a regular thing in my life. When my grandmother would come up from Clay City to visit us, a trip to White Castle, even if it was just to pick some up and bring them home, was in the works. One particular time, my grandmother was known to be coming for a visit, so my mother decided to surprise her by getting 50 White Castles. Keep in mind, it was just me, my mom, my dad, and grandmother. I was roughly 7 or 8 at the time, so I wouldn't have been much help on the consumption of said sandwhiches. So, a pretty large amount. I don't know, maybe she thought about sending some home with her to Clay City. But, it gets even better! My grandmother had the same idea, and came in toting 50 of them herself.

Yes, 100 White Castles! I still laugh when I think about it to this day. Another time, a friend of mine was having a party and was wondering what kind of food to have. I told him I would buy White Castles providing he provided the transportation to Bloomington, which was the nearest location to where he lived. He agreed, so he and I, along with my wife, went after the White Castles. It was going to be a fairly large party, so we decided on 100. Keep in mind, there are only three people picking these up. We ordered the White Castles, and before she thought, the cashier asked, "Is that for here, or to go?". When she realized what she asked, she got a priceless look on her face. My wife could only eat four at a time if she was starving to death, so I guess my friend and I were to eat the other 96. We still laugh about that to this day. One more comment, my personal best is 14, and I was miserable. My grandfather could pack away around thirty, and say, "That was good, now, where's the food?" LOL, glad White Castle is near, now.

-- Posted by Wiseguy on Fri, Jul 17, 2009, at 10:56 PM

Oops, forgot the chronological order of things on here. I guess it hadn't been that long at all as far as posts. Be patient with me, I'm new here.

-- Posted by Wiseguy on Fri, Jul 17, 2009, at 10:58 PM

Eddies rules.

I remember when the likes of Allan Thompson, Brian Shoemaker, Robert Neal , and Bryan Donath would go there for lunch in 1979 and ask funny questions like: "Are you gonna put a salad bar in here?" "Do you think Clydes Pinball Palace will reopen?" We need more of the local ambiance like Eddies and less of the chains like White Castle, Applebees, etc.

Also, Eddies was owned by a good Catholic family who was always donating to local causes, the big corp chains dont give a crap.

-- Posted by classof1979bhs on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 11:29 PM


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