The White Castle Mystery: Solved! The fervent desire of some Las Vegans to be able to enjoy fresh White Castle sliders is evident. My initial column on the subject on July 25 generated a minor controversy, with some readers insisting that White Castle was indeed here, while others (including those at the headquarters of White Castle) claimed, No way!
Instead of putting the question to rest, my follow-up column on August 15 resulted in more interest, with readers responding both via email and the Vegas Seven Facebook page. Maybe, as Roy R. suggested, there was an unofficial White Castle and the real White Castle’s lawyers forced them to stop operations. After all, something had to be causing so much confusion.
That something was (drumroll…) West Castle, a short-lived Las Vegas approximation of White Castle. Hopeful Las Vegas White Castle franchisee Kim K. (the company does not franchise) arrived here in the 1970s and remembers West Castle from the 1980s, exactly where everyone recalls White Castle: on Maryland Parkway just north of Sahara. Kim reports that the local company behind West Castle began to build a second restaurant on Charleston just west of Decatur, but something (an injunction, perhaps?) halted construction and closed the Maryland Parkway spot as well.
Readers Ken H., Robert W. and Alberto C. also recall West Castle. Ken found it to be “short-lived and poor” but “popular with diehard fans of the real thing.” Robert remembers it as “a place that looked sort of castle-like, and was white, and sold little belly bombers that looked like what you would get at a real White Castle”—but all the same, he says, it was no White Castle. Alberto, who played football for Valley High School, says he and his pals would stop at West Castle “near Gorman’s old campus” and that it sported a logo “almost identical” to White Castle. Research indicates trademark paperwork was filed for West Castle (#73650332) in March 1987 by Las Vegas-based Jeffrey Medlin. That paperwork states the trademarks “first use” date as July 1, 1982. Less than a year after Medlin’s filing, in January 1988, the trademark request was abandoned. I’ll bet it was.
There are likely dozens of White Castle knockoffs around the country, but perhaps ours went a little too far in its efforts to imitate the intellectual-property behemoth. Now, not only will we never have the real thing, but we likely won’t get another copy, either. Let them eat In-N-Out!