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A CENTURY OF SLIDERS: White Castle turns 100 and will celebrate milestone with new menu items, more

Columbus-based White Castle officially turned 100 years old this week. Though many have assumed that one of the larger fast-food chains, such as McDonald’s, may have been the first fast-food restaurant, that distinction, according to several credible accounts, actually belongs to White Castle. Since 1921, the chain, which now operates more than 360 locations around the country, has been serving up its famous sliders.

White Castle was founded by Walt Anderson and Billy Ingram in Wichita, Kansas in 1921. Prior to founding White Castle, Anderson operated hamburger stands in and around Wichita. Anderson met Ingram, an insurance salesperson who saw potential —and profitability — in Anderson’s famous hamburgers.

At the time, fast-food restaurants as we know them did not exist. In the early 20th century, dining at a restaurant was often considered a luxury only for the wealthy. Additionally, Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel, “The Jungle,” made many question the cleanliness of the food industry as a whole. Though White Castle faced an uphill battle from the beginning, it managed to win over the public with food for the everyman in a sparkling clean environment.