This week when I was in Columbus, OH, there was a White Castle a couple blocks from my hotel. Since I had a refrigerator and microwave in my room, I decided to stock up. I'd have a good White Castle dinner the first night, and have left over snacks for the rest of the week.
I'd been to White Castle before, but only in NYC. This one was different.
I walked in and went up to the counter. There was no bullet proof glass. The cashiers stood at their registers and handed the sacks of mini burgers across the counter just like any store. I was shocked.
The White Castle I've dined at the most (mainly in the late-80s and early-90s) is in Queens, near the Queens Center mall. In that location, the counters and kitchen were in the middle of the restaurant, encased in bullet proof glass easily an inch think. The cashiers spoke to customer through the windows, just like the banks in New York. They had a lazy susan attached to the bullet proof glass that they used to hand food over.
I never quite understood why the White Castle was built like the Federal Reserve or local Citibank. The local McDonalds didn't have this kind of system. And I imagine a McDonalds might be a better target for armed robbery. Bigger burgers must bring in more money, right? Perhaps it was actually some sort of CIA front or something. If it was, well, good going with the "inconspicuous" thing, guys.
Dining at the secure White Castle facility did result in a tense evening one time, though. My friend Adam and I stopped by for some awesome burgers. We sat down and yammered on about whatever it is we were talking about at that point in our lives.
A few minutes later, some drunk kid comes up and start talking to us. He appeared to be a denizen of Howard Beach. He start loudly swearing up a storm and throwing racial epithets all over the place. He was not keen on the African American population in the city. At that point, Adam and I looked around and realized that even though the White Castle was pretty full, this lunatic and the two of us were the only white people there. As the guy ranted, more people started to stare.
At this point I wasn't sure if this guy was going to get us assaulted by the other patrons, or if he was going to attack us for our lack of sympathy to his cause. A few tense moments later, this character realized we weren't going to rally around his out rage. He got annoyed and left. People were still looking at us, but there wasn't a whole lot for us to do except shrug and finish off those tasty morsels of almost meat.
The point is, I was shocked at the lack of ballistic fortifications at the White Castle in Columbus. I guess not everyplace is New York.