Jan. 25, 2022 By Christian Murray
The burger chain White Castle will permanently close its Jackson Heights restaurant Wednesday after being in operation at that location since 1935, according to a company spokesperson.
“It was a tough decision to close,” said Jamie Richardson, vice president at White Castle, referring to the 88-08 Northern Blvd. site. “This restaurant served so many [people] for 86 years, 5 months and 25 days.”
Richardson said that the company has no plans to close any of the other restaurants in Queens and he said that business overall is doing well.
“We have a commitment to Queens that goes back to the 1930s and that is not changing,” Richardson said.
White Castle has restaurants in Sunnyside, Elmhurst, Bayside, Ozone Park, Jamaica and Queens Village.
Richardson said that all the employees at the Jackson Heights location have been offered positions at other White Castle locations. He didn’t disclose why the Jackson Heights restaurant is closing but sources said that sales were weak.
Richardson said that some of White Castle’s upper management once worked there. He said that John Vogt, who is currently the chairperson of Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, got his start there in 1970 working behind the grill. He worked his way up and became a regional manager before retiring in recent years.
The future of the property, which is owned by White Castle, is not yet known. Richardson chose not to comment as to the company’s plans for the site.
The company closed its regional headquarters at 69-01 34th Ave. in 2014. The city bought the property and built PS 398Q: The Hector Figueroa School.
White Castle is a family-owned business that currently operates in 377 locations across 13 states. It has been credited as the world’s first fast-food hamburger chain, founded on Sept. 13, 1921.
The popular burger chain is best known for its small, square hamburgers referred to as sliders.
Did you know that March 10th will mark the 101st Anniversary of White Castle?. Bill Ingram and Walt Anderson opened their first store in Wichita, Kansas with only $700 dollars on March 10th, 1921. It became the first national fast food hamburger chain. The original price was only 5 cents. In the early 1960’s, my parents would take me to the Kitty City Amusement Park which was just west of today’s Alley Pond Golf Center on Northern Blvd. Our next stop would be the Bayside White Castle on the corner of Bell and Northern Blvd. It was originally opened in 1932 and is still in business today. Even in the 1960’s, there was no seating area, just one long counter. It was a simple menu offering seven cents burgers or fourteen cents for a double slider, french fries and soda at low cost.. As I got older, White Castle would become a late night stop for a quick snack before going home. Prior to my 1997 wedding, Frank Sinatra was quoted in GQ Magazine saying he would always have White Castle hamburgers flown in to any performances in Las Vegas. My wife and I decided to honor the “Chairman of the Board” and had 200 sliders delivered to the Sky Line Princess in Flushing as part of our wedding reception. Every Valentines Day, they offer a special menu and treat for customers.
Today White Castle faces many other competitors such as McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys, Five Guys, Checkers, Hardees, Roy Rogers, Sonic, Shake Shack, Smash Burger and others. For me, nothing beats a half dozen White Castle Hamburgers topped with cheese, extra onions and pickles!
Wow! Had no idea it was there that long. Was a regular patron in the 70’s and occasional patron afterwards.
Good corner, big property, I guess it’ll turn into a new mixed use building.