Food & Drink

Their love of White Castle earns Central Kentuckians spots in Cravers Hall of Fame

Louie Stotz of Lexington, accompanied by his wife Jo-Ellen Stotz, was inducted last week into White Castle's Cravers Hall of Fame. Part of the celebration was held at the Ohio History Center in Columbus.
Louie Stotz of Lexington, accompanied by his wife Jo-Ellen Stotz, was inducted last week into White Castle's Cravers Hall of Fame. Part of the celebration was held at the Ohio History Center in Columbus.

When Louie Stotz was 8 years old, he suffered terrible migraines that often kept him out of school.

That all ended one day when the boy got a migraine while visiting the furniture store where his grandfather worked in Louisville, which sat across the street from a White Castle. Stotz, now 72, said his father employed the best remedy he knew.

"He took me over there and gave me some coffee," Stotz said. "I have not had a headache since."

Thus was born a lifelong love of White Castle.

"White Castle really is the Crave that Saves," Stotz wrote. "As a child, it saved me from migraines and taught me to love great coffee. It was my 'taste of home' in the Army, saving me from feeling homesick. With burgers just a few cents each, it always saves me cold hard cash. And when my finicky family is choosing a restaurant, it always saves the day!"

His adoration paid off last week, when White Castle inducted Stotz, of Lexington, into its Cravers Hall of Fame.

Stotz and his wife, Jo-Ellen, were treated to an expense-paid trip to Columbus, Ohio, for a fancy induction ceremony, a tour of the company headquarters and Sliders at practically every meal.

"We've had a great time," he said.

Kentucky must have more than its fair share of White Castle cravers.

Five of the 13 people inducted into the Cravers Hall of Fame last week hail from the Bluegrass.

Jeremy Shannon, a youth minister from Cynthiana who was among the inductees, said White Castle had woven itself into the fabric of his life too.

"It's been part of my identity," he said.

As a child, he and his father often stopped in for Sliders after basketball practice.

He and his wife, Jenni, spent their first Valentine's dinner — and every one since — together at White Castle.

At his wedding reception, a tray of Sliders was all he ate.

Now, Shannon, 26, is converting the next generation. He often takes his youth group for White Castle runs.

"My wife said she's very proud ... and embarrassed a little bit," he said last week.

Mike Goldsmith of Shepherdsville was honored after telling the judges about packing Sliders in a cooler in 1990 and taking them to Germany, where he distributed them to fellow soldiers in his barracks.

And Barbara and Steve Whitworth of Louisville were inducted because they have lost nearly 200 pounds together after joining Weight Watchers three years ago, all without letting Sliders slip from their diets.

White Castle has inducted 170 lovers of those steamy little buns into its hall of fame since the honor was created in 2001.

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