Look inside the world’s largest White Castle before its grand opening in Orlando
White Castle’s largest location is finally ready for their grand opening on May 3.
After years of pleading from the public, White Castle has finally put down roots in Florida. The restaurant is located at 11595 Daryl Carter Parkway in the new Village at O-Town West, just off of I-4. The up-and-coming area sits snug between Universal Studios and Disney, and just on the other side of I-4 from Sea World.
Vice President Jamie Richardson of White Castle System, Inc., said while there is still some detail work finishing up, they are ready for their grand opening on Monday.
“There’s always something,” he said. “[But] we’re ready for the rush.”
This will be White Castle’s largest free-standing location - a whopping 4,567 square feet - and will feature two drive-thru lanes. Customers will be able to customize their order and order whatever they want, whenever they want- that includes breakfast, morning, noon or night, or sliders first thing in the morning, if that’s your crave.
“It’s about being distinctive and craveable,” Richardson said.
Richardson told Orlando Weekly the kitchen has ten griddles, two of which are reserved just for their vegetarian and vegan sandwiches, and one just for their 1921 burger.
The Orlando White Castle will be one of only four locations to feature the 1921 burger. Richardson said this burger takes customers back to how White Castle originally created their delectable sandwiches.
“It’s a meatball, pressed under the grill,” Richardson said, just like they made it a hundred years ago.
But the 1921 burger is not all that makes it unique. On the top of the building’s castle motif sits a latin phrase: “Desideres Ego Ergo Sum.” It’s the only White Castle with the phrase on it, Richardson told Orlando Weekly.
“It means, ‘I crave therefore I am,’” Richardson said, looking up at the sign. “It’s on the throne at our home office … Orlando makes history again.”
Richardson said they will initially limit guests to 60 sliders per order, to avoid a situation similar to their Arizona grand opening. Some new customers ordered 500 sliders in one order, overwhelming the location in the same way Orlandoans did the recent White Castle ghost kitchen.
Eventually, they’ll lift that restriction, the VP said. Then customers can even order the Crave Pallet- almost 7,000 sliders for just over $6,000.
“Please call ahead for that one,” he said.
There are 140 new team members at the location, Richardson said, and they have used the media event and the construction workers to train and practice their skills. Richardson said they have been feeding the construction workers for free, both for the training and because it’s right thing to do.
“It’s how you make friends,” he said. “You do better work when you’re not hungry.”
It’s the same reason that their employees eat free on their breaks, and start at $13 an hour, going up to $14 after 60 days. Richardson said they offer benefits - health insurance, 401k - for all full-time employees 18 and up, regardless of the job they do.
“We’re a family owned business,” he said. “If [your job] is someplace you’re happy, you’ll stay longer.”
The grand opening ceremony will take place at 8 a.m. on Monday. The first customers at their recent Arizona grand opening, will ceremoniously pass Harry Blackledge a pair of golden scissors to cut the ribbon. Blackledge is the man behind the “Bring White Castle to Florida” Facebook page.
Richardson said that time will tell, but he feels very optimistic about the new location.
"We have high hopes and we're feeling good," he said.
The White Castle will be open 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. initially, and eventually work their way up to being open 24 hours.