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Cult burger chain slides into San Antonio with special pop-up eatery

Cult burger chain slides into San Antonio with special pop-up eatery

White castle exterior
White Castle is popping up in San Antonio for a limited time. White Castle/Facebook

Update: Since publication, all time slots for both February 14 and February 15 have been claimed. We will update this story if White Castle makes more available. 

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Texans revere Whataburger. Californians rave about In-N-Out Burger. But in the Midwest, the burger chain with the most cult-like following might be White Castle.

White Castle, best known for its sliders — square burgers steam-grilled on a bed of onions and then served with a slice of pickle on a square bun — doesn’t operate any restaurants in Texas. However, San Antonio, the headquarters of Whataburger, soon will get a taste of White Castle, if only temporarily.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, White Castle will spread the slider love February 14 and 15 with a pop-up restaurant at H-E-B’s store at 12125 Alamo Ranch Pkwy. in Northwest San Antonio.

The pop-up location will offer sliders as well as sides and desserts from 3-9 pm each day. Reservations, which are required, can be made at the OpenTable website.

Why did White Castle pick San Antonio for the pop-up? Well, it doesn’t hurt that H-E-B is based in Alamo City, and that the grocery chain sells frozen White Castle hamburgers and cheeseburgers.

“This is the first time we’ve done Valentine’s Day reservations and sit-down dining as a pop-up anywhere in the world, and we couldn’t be more excited than to be in San Antonio at H-E-B,” Jamie Richardson, vice president of White Castle, tells CultureMap.

For every customer — or “Craver,” in White Castle lingo — who’s served at the pop-up, the restaurant chain will donate $10 to charitable causes in the San Antonio area.

The San Antonio event will be part of White Castle’s annual Valentine’s Day dinner, held at most of the chain’s restaurants.

“Valentine’s Day has become a longstanding tradition that is very special to many of our customers and team members across the country,” Richardson said in a 2019 press release. “Many Cravers have shared stories with us about meeting the loves of their lives, or forming lifelong friendships at our restaurants, so we look forward to hosting this special event every year to help our fans build even more memorable moments.”

Based in Columbus, Ohio, White Castle operates more than 375 restaurants in 13 states, mostly in the Midwest. But it’s growing outside its traditional turf. The company’s first Florida restaurant is set to open in early 2021 in Orlando, while its first location in Arizona debuted in late October. And it now operates four restaurants in the Las Vegas area.

Although the fast-food chain is hosting an event in San Antonio, it doesn’t mean White Castle is eyeing a Texas expansion.

“We would never say never, but for now this is a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day and our great partnership with H-E-B,” Richardson tells CultureMap. “We have a strong presence in supermarkets in San Antonio and all over Texas, and can’t wait to greet our guests for the Valentine’s Day feast that will be one for the history books.”