Photo: White Castle
What's going on behind the venerable ramparts of White Castle?
As Nation's Restaurant News reports, it appears that the chain is looking to be home to more than just its oddly addictive little sliders. It's testing three different restaurant-within-a-restaurant concepts, trying its hand at a strangely diverse mix of fast-food fare: barbecue, pressed club sandwiches, and "Americanized Asian noodles."
Taken together, it kind of looks like company executives simply headed down to the food court at their local mall and had an epiphany: "Hey, we could do all this!"
Inside one of its restaurants in Lafayette, Indiana, White Castle recently opened Blaze, which it bills as "modern barbecue." (We have no clue what they mean by "modern" here; presumably they won't be serving mastodons on a spit.) According to the online menu, Blaze offers a range of barbecue staples, from pulled chicken to brisket, and traditional sides (baked beans, mashed potatoes, etc.).
Perhaps trying to capitalize on the recent mega-sandwich trend, the chain has also launched Deckers at its location in Lebanon, Tennessee. To quote from the menu: "Each Decker is stacked and packed with 3 layers of bread and 2 layers of meat, cheese, veggies and condiments, then grilled to hot, crispy, melty perfection."
As for the third new concept, the noodle shop -- it seems the company is preparing to open that at a store in Springfield, Ohio, but even the intrepid folks at Nation's Restaurant News couldn't get White Castle to say more. All we know is that the company recently filed to register the trademark for the name "Laughing Noodle."
No doubt that Harold and Kumar, at least, will think it's hilarious.