Much to the delight of more than 9,300 followers of the Facebook page Bring White Castle to Florida, White Castle will be opening its first Florida restaurant within the next 18 months.
The 98-year-old family-owned business made the announcement Monday, first to the followers of Bring White Castle to Florida, and then, with the help of its Royal Town Crier, to the guests at a special event at the site of its future Florida castle—in Orlando in The Village at O-Town West, part of the $1 billion O-Town West mixed-use development on Daryl Carter Parkway off of I-4.
Construction on the new restaurant, which at 4,500 square feet will be among the company’s largest, is expected to begin in April 2020 and should be finished by late 2020 or early 2021. The Orlando castle marks the brand’s return to Florida; in the 1960s, it operated a castle in Miami.
“Florida Cravers have long been asking for us to open a castle there,” says Lisa Ingram, president and CEO of White Castle and a fourth-generation family member. “We believe now is the right time for us enter the Sunshine State, and Orlando is an ideal location to launch our business there.”
The move into Florida comes on the heels of White Castle’s entry into another state: Arizona. White Castle opened a restaurant in Scottsdale on October 23, the first company-owned castle west of the Mississippi River. Hundreds of people waited in lines for hours to purchase White Castle’s craveable little hamburger, called the Original Slider, as well as its fish slider, its chicken and waffles slider, its plant-based Impossible Slider, and all of its other mouthwatering menu items.
Based in Columbus, Ohio, White Castle has more than 375 restaurants in 13 states. The Florida location will bring that number to 14. Like most of the chain’s other restaurants, the Orlando castle will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
As part of the announcement, White Castle brought its Crave Mobile to Orlando, and fans ate up the opportunity to sample the Original Slider, cheese sliders and jalapeno cheese sliders. Many Floridians already know the tantalizing taste of White Castle thanks to the availability of the Original Slider, chicken breast sliders, veggie sliders, black bean sliders and other products in several retail outlets across Florida.