Goat Burgers and Really Good Fries

I left home when I was 17. I had no real skills, oh I could talk a good game but really I was pretty clueless. Somehow I ended up rooming with a bunch of nutjobs with whom I had many adventures. Someday I may tell you about them.

So there I was, no security, no skills and no job. I’m not sure how I ended up at White Castle, but I did and I was hired on the spot. For those of you who don’t know about White Castle, you have really missed something.  At some point they were in competition with McDonald’s although obviously Mickey D’s had a much bigger advertising budget. Still, there was something about White Castle that was better to me.

You could get 10 burgers for $1.50 – maybe a little more – but it was dang cheap. We always made jokes about the mystery meat that was in the burger. I started calling them goat burgers because, well I don’t know why, it just sounded right. But man, oh man, the fries were the best. They had a ‘secret’ seasoning they shook on those crinkle cut babies when they were hot out of the fryer and they melted in your mouth.

The bad news was that the uniforms were out of the stone age and I wouldn’t be surprised if they still have the same ones – blue numbers with paper hats and ugly shoes. No pants, oh no, they were little dresses with sewn on aprons and just as pathetic as they could be. And I’m not sure what kind of fabric they were made of, but they always itched. 

Back then, I was a lithe, tan, blonde teenager among a herd of big-haired, middle-aged southern girls flipping burgers. In Michigan we had a lot of those gals who came up from Virginia and West Virginia. Things must have been bad in their home states to want to come to Michigan to flip burgers, but there they all were. They were all two-namers – Bonnie Sue, Betty Jean, Myra Joe – but they were all sweet and maternal and could flip burgers to beat the band.

We did it all, cook, serve, flip, clip, chip – oh yeah, we were the original multi-taskers.

We were open late – til 1 a.m. and what would blow through the doors after 10 p.m. was always interesting. The most memorable crowd we had rolled in on a Friday night, just before midnight. About 20, slightly drunk, long-legged, mini skirt wearing, gorgeous black women. I thought maybe they were models or singers or something. They all were wearing similar outfits and high heals with long curly hair and false eyelashes. Showfolk to be sure.

All the big-haired gals were giggling when these ladies came in and I wasn’t sure why. A few of the gals rolled their eyes at me and winked  – still, I had no clue what was amusing them so.

I went to the counter to take their orders. The first lady stepped up, looked up at the menu sign on the wall, cleared her throat and said, “I’ll have a….” Now what they ordered was of no consequence and frankly I can’t remember, but the thing that had so amused my co-workers came clear to me then. What came out of that lovely young woman’s mouth was a man’s voice. Not just a man’s voice but a deep, resonant, Paul Robeson kind of voice. You know? Like, I expected her to start singing “Nobody Knows the Trouble I Seen” any minute.

This was all too much for my feeble teenaged brain to absorb and so I just took the orders numbly and pretended not to notice that the voice and the outfit weren’t a match. They were all fed and left with their white bags full of goat burgers and fabulous fries, with nary a clue as to how they’d change my life. Forever. The big-haired gals congratulated me on learning yet another fact of adult life. Things aren’t always what they seem.


21 thoughts on “Goat Burgers and Really Good Fries

  1. Thanks for this amusing story. I think at that age I would be tempted to take a coffee break at the time when they appeared and sit very near to them and listen. Curious and nosey..Hehe!! When McDonalds is mentioned now in any fashion the only thing that springs to mind is this. My friend used to work there and she would steal on average 200 pounds daily. Okey!! She was addicted to stuff other than burgers, so she was driven to steal money. BUT 200 pounds daily WOW!! and do you know how long that carried on for…6 years. just by the by here. 🙂 I like the idea of that uniform. I’d love to wear a uniform again other than a school one, Ha!!
    Thanks WC

    Wow, I hope your friend has gotten over the need to do such things. At first though, I thought you meant 200 pounds of hamburgers. I don’t know why, I just did. 🙂

    I don’t think you’d really fancy the uniform once you saw it. Personally, I don’t like uniforms. I think if you’re not in the military you should stick to civvies.


  2. Oh that is just cool! I remember the first time my sister was in Syndey and saw the girls..although she didn’t call them that!
    Like mum, I too have images now….but in mine you also have a very fat cat winding it’s way round your legs 🙂

    And a little giggly devil perched on my shoulder, eh? 😆


  3. Uops!! I’m sorry about telling you that about my friend. It just came into my head. I just wanna say she isin’t addicted to stuff today and she does try to make ammends when ever she can to McDonalds, I’m going to suggest to her that maybe she……Dresses up to look like a tranny,and put some money in the charity box there.

    Well, let me know how she likes that suggestion. LOL. 😉


  4. Nothing like those little burgers cooked over a bed of onions with the holes in the burger like a domino
    then covered with the bun while they cook to get that steamed greasy goodness yummmm oh and a side of cheese fries 😉

    Hey Ger,
    Sounds like you’ve been there recently. They still have them, out there? I haven’t seen one for years and years.


  5. Hell yeah there are a few left around when you go to NY City there are even ones where you can have some for breakfast 🙂

    I could see having some for breffy. That would be mighty tastey for the morning after an all nighter. Something about grease and starch that is such a comfort. 😉


  6. I’m more into the sushi eating need to get into the competative eating circut for sushi my record is 101 pieces of sushi

    I’m speechless – that’s a lot of raw fish.


  7. Great story. White Castle was also an important part of my life. I used to go there with my high school buddies and we’d laugh at the college kids who were drunk and acting stupid. One night I had to talk my way out of getting punched in the nose.

    Hey Pete,
    Something kind of nostailgic about ol’ White Castle, huh? Even if you almost got punched in the nose. 😉


  8. goat burgers and fries, yum yum.
    i’ve never seen a white castle.
    i’ve never eaten at one either.
    this was a great post WC.
    two thumbs up!

    Well Kim, if you’re ever in Michigan, look for one. It’s one of those things that you have to try at least once.


  9. wait a sec. i just scrolled back up and looked at the pic. i hate to point out the irony there but….

    Yeah, this one I think had a banquet room, by the looks of it. OR…they knew the food at the reception was going to suck. LOL.


  10. Hi WC,
    Good work! On a side note, White Castle was the original fast food burger joint chain. If I recall correctly, they got started during the Great Depression, long before McDonald’s. Their signature feature was the tiny thin square burger, which was an advantage since it used grill space more efficiently and cooked quicker, allowing them to produce consistant food at a rapid rate. Would that we had them here, although we do have a knock off called Krystal. Unfortunately, their fries suck.
    the Grit

    Hi Grit,
    I can almost smell those babies cooking. Dont’ know what it is about greasy meat mixed in with onions and warm wonder buns but they made my mouth water. No decent knock-offs here that even come close. It’s funny though, I could have eaten ten White Castle burgers without thinking but I could never eat one McDonald’s burger. Must be the onions.

    Thanks for the background data – I never knew that and once again, you are the source of many interesting facts. 😉



  11. Hahaha! That must have been an interesting experience. I remember when I went to visit my sister once and we were coming home late at night and I saw a “woman” right in front of her apartment building. As I got closer, I noticed her well-muscled arms and then the voice of a man emanated form her body. Ha. Clearly, I was shocked.

    Yeah, the first time is the shocker. After that, you kind of feel that you’ve seen everything. 😉


  12. Mmm, I’ll take a case of burgers, thank you.
    Soo umm, ya got any pictures of you in said uniform? :]

    LOL – are you kidding? Any evidence of that was burned long ago. In fact, a friend just sent me a link to a youtube vid of White Castle, looks like they tossed the blue checks for Micky D type duds.


  13. we don’t have white castle here in canada but whenever i see the ads ~ i crave and i crave only because i can’t have .. lol
    fantastic story 🙂

    Hi Daisies,
    Isn’t that the way? We always crave what we can’t get? As some of my readers have commented, you can buy them frozen in the grocery store – but personally, they don’t do much for me. Maybe it’s the whole fresh sizzling grill thing coupled with the bizarre ambience that’s missing from the frozen version.


  14. We had a White Castle in Minnesota. Your post was great and brought back some thoughts of those square buns!

    Hi CB,
    Isn’t it funny how a little greasy burger joint can conjure fond memories? I love it.


  15. okay, when I saw the picture I said outloud, “Shut up!” BAHAHAHAHAH!!!! I have a White Castle about a mile from my house and we refer to them as “sliders”. It’s where you go after you get bombed off you ass 🙂 I don’t drink much anymore BUT, I do have to have a slider everyonce in a while…. They even sell them frozen at our local grocery store.

    Hey Bella!
    Oh yeah, sliders – I totally forgot that. Definitely was the next stop after the bars closed. I don’t really like the frozen ones, do you? They just don’t taste the same to me.


  16. All the WC’s have left this area, but I remember referring to those little bitty things as sliders also, and WC as THE place to hit on the way home from a night of drinking. They sell them frozen here also. One of my workmates eats them all the time.
    Trannies: What a great story WC!. I think my first exposure was at age 19, the first time I saw Rocky Horror Picture show (1976). Been a fan of the “sweet transvestite” ever since!

    Hey OB!
    Happy 4th – how’s that shirt working out for you? 😉

    I don’t like the frozen sliders, just not the same for me.

    I’m telling you, those ladies were probably the prettiest women I ever saw in my life. Strange how that can be but it’s true.

    Oh my brother took me to see Rocky Horror and what an experience. Everybody brought props and it was a really crowd participation. Quite something for me to see. My favorite song was “Damn it, Janet, I love You” – in fact, I thought that if I ever had a restaurant I’d call it “The Damn it, Janet, Cafe” 😆



  17. OMG…I went to see the Rocky Horrow show last Friday. I loved getting all dressed up . What made me laugh so much was the audience shouting ‘SLUT’ everytime Janet’s name was mentioned, and ‘ARSEHOLE’ every time Brandon’s name was mentioned. Did they do that when you went to see it. It’s like they all kinda just knew what to say when certain words and names were mentioned. Hehe! I’ve just read that you just mentioned about crowd participation. Yer….I loved the show and would go to see it again. Thanks for reminding me about this WC 🙂

    Hey Di,
    Yeah, it was a load of fun and very unique. I remember mostly people throwing bread in the air when Tim Curry said, “A toast” and they also threw out toilet paper, but I can’t remember why. 😉


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.