We spend a lot of time around Wiglar Headquarters thinking... thinking and asking questions about what it would take to make the Wiglar a more "legitimate" publication. What would it take to turn this rag into a more valued part of the community while at the same time helping the local economy? What could we possibly do to give the Reglar Wiglar a little more class? And then it hits us: restaurant reviews! What if we gave a couple of our best writers five bucks and sent them out to review a few of the local eateries? Yeah, we spend a lot of time around here thinking... thinking and asking questions...
Armitage & Milwaukee
There was this place that my friends and I used to go to when we were in high school called Burger Express. It was a rung or two below your McDonalds and your White Castles and a couple more steps below Burger King. We're talking a completely different level of fast food nastiness, but it was a buck or two cheaper than McDonalds and if K-Mart didn't pan out (at closing time we could sometimes get them to give us the unsold egg rolls, tacos, and corn dogs from the cafeteria for half price) the other option was The Express where we could gorge ourselves on their grade D cuisine and for a few fleeting moments, forget about our awkward, pimpled lives in a teenage vacuum.
Cut-rate mozz sticks, third rate burgers, onion rings and breaded mushroom fried to hell and back, they really know how to destroy food at that place. But, like most of life's great pleasures, it was short-lived and soon after we had gorged ourselves, like clockwork, we would all suffer the same symptoms simultaneously: headache, dry mouth, followed by nausea and then, by the time we made it home (if the gods were pleased with us that day) after a mad dash to the bathroom, the Burger Express left the station right on schedule.
So that brings me, finally to White Castle, a guilty pleasure if there ever was one.
Sliders, (as White Castle hamburgers are called for their ability to slide in one end and out the other with ease) you either love 'em or you hate 'em or you're like me and you're pretty ambivalent towards them. Yeah, some people like White Castle hamburgers. Some people like sniffing glue too, but that doesn't make it good for you.
I was thee only customer in the restaurant. The workers outnumbered me three to one. They were communicating with headsets and had a lot of other technology at their disposal but it didn't seem to help them. I guess fast food can't be rushed.
It was late in the evening on a Sunday and the seating section was closed and by closed I mean that it was barricaded with metal bars. Consequently, I had to order my diner to go. Which is just as well when I think of the collection of freaks that could be congregating in White Castle at this time of night.
This is what I ordered: three hamburgers, large onion rings, and a side of cheese sauce. This is what I got: three cheeseburgers, small onion rings and no cheese sauce. Three strikes. The cheese sauce error was corrected easily enough with the additional payment of fifty-four cents. I didn't bother with the rest, the onion rings weren't for me and the food took such an extraordinarily long time to prepare that I didn't want to deal with it.
One could pose the question, instead of selling four tiny burgers for fifty cents a piece, why not make one hamburger that's four time the size and charge two bucks? Because no one would pay two bucks for a White Castle hamburger but they will pay more for less if they perceive that they are getting a bargain. But the fact remains that you can buy a lot of food for cheap at the Castle and the Castle sells a lot of burgers. After all, it is a castle and not a shack--no offense to Harold's Chicken Shack numbers one through forty-seven.
Check, please!--Julio Childs