Hold it now … close it!
“From here to White Castle” may get a little longer now that the ground has been sold out from under the burger joint that has served Williamsburg the chain’s famous sliders since 1992.
The owners of the family-run, fast-food chain, which has been a Brooklyn institution since the 1930s and the muse for many early Beastie Boys songs, opened its Williamsburg location on Metropolitan Avenue near Humboldt Street around 1992, but the company never bought the land it was sitting on, said regional director John Vogt.
“It’s a shame that we didn’t buy that property years ago,” said Vogt, who opened that store himself and said the company couldn’t afford the cost of the property these days. It sold for an astounding amount that you’ll learn if you read the next paragraph.
A business called 781 Metro Investors last month purchased the sprawling property, which includes a drive-thru lane and ample parking, for $6.72 million.
Vogt said White Castle is in negotiations with the new owner to extend its lease, but acknowledged that it might be a lost cause.
“You’re 100 feet from the subway,” said Vogt. “It has everything you need.”
If the legendary slider slingers cannot agree on lease terms with the new owners, the company plans to look for another location in Williamsburg. And, yes, they plan for it to be another one of the iconic castle constructions.
“We’ll find something with more visibility and a better corner,” said Vogt.
Today, there are eight White Castles in Brooklyn, just two down from the 10 the company owned at its height. All the existing restaurants have the classic castle design. A storefront location on Willoughby Street closed two years ago.
Vogt said the castle-shaped buildings are ideal.
“We’ve had some problems with the storefront locations,” said Vogt. “It’s better to have them in our own buildings.”
Of course, the most famous White Castle was on 92nd Street in Bay Ridge, because it was featured in the John Travolta movie, “Saturday Night Fever.” It closed more than 20 years ago.