Saturday, October 26, 2019

Walter Anderson (1880-1963) and White Castle

J. Walter Anderson, a Wichita, Kan., who was a resident who went on to co-found the White Castle Hamburger system, the oldest continuously running burger chain. He was the cook behind the counter of the earliest White Castle restaurant.

Walter Anderson was born in 1880. He became a short order cook. In 1916, he opened his first diner in a converted streetcar in downtown Wichita. He flattened the traditional hamburger steak into a thinner patty that could be cooked quickly and created individual buns to substitute for sliced bread.

White Castle was founded in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas. The original location was the NW corner of First and Main. Walter Anderson, in partnership with insurance man Edgar Waldo "Billy" A. Ingram, opened his fourth 5-cent hamburger outlet and named it White Castle, which became America’s first fast-food hamburger chain, offering a standardized look, menu and service. White Castle pioneered the use of advertising to sell hamburgers and was the birthplace of the disposable paper hat for food servers.

When the first White Castle opened, the burgers were prepared with Anderson’s signature cooking method, and they were priced at a nickel a burger. The ads encouraged people to “buy them by the sack.”

Their first restaurants in Wichita, Kansas, were a success, and the company branched out into other Midwestern markets, starting in 1922 with El Dorado, Kansas. White Castle Building No. 8, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, originally built in 1936 and remodeled, was an example of the chain's prefabricated porcelain buildings.

In 1933, Ingram bought out Anderson, and the following year the company moved its corporate headquarters to Columbus, Ohio.
Walter Anderson (1880-1963) and White Castle

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