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Strategy We compared White Castle's original slider with its new game-changing burger — and the winner is clear

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At White Castle, plant-based startup Impossible Foods just debuted its vegetarian slider that mimics the taste of beef. Here's what we thought.

The White Castle slider (left) vs the Impossible Foods slider (right). play

The White Castle slider (left) vs the Impossible Foods slider (right).

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

White Castle is known for its 77-cent beef sliders served in tiny cardboard boxes.

But now, the 97-year-old chain is testing out a more vegetarian-friendly option.

On Thursday, 140 White Castle locations in New York, New Jersey, and Illinois debuted a plant-based slider by the Silicon Valley startup Impossible Foods. Founded in 2011, Impossible has created a meatless burger that mimics the taste of beef.

We recently went to a White Castle in Brooklyn to see how White Castle's original sliders stack up to Impossible's. There was a clear winner.

We visited a White Castle in Bushwick — one of 14 in New York City — on the first day the Impossible sliders became available.

We visited a White Castle in Bushwick — one of 14 in New York City — on the first day the Impossible sliders became available. play

We visited a White Castle in Bushwick — one of 14 in New York City — on the first day the Impossible sliders became available.

(Jessica Tyler/Business Insider)

Considered America's first fast-food chain, White Castle was founded in 1921. The brand rose in popularity following the 2004 film "Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle," in which two stoners visit a New Jersey location.



The Impossible sliders are a little more than double the price of the traditional sliders ($1.99 vs 77 cents).

The Impossible sliders are a little more than double the price of the traditional sliders ($1.99 vs 77 cents). play

The Impossible sliders are a little more than double the price of the traditional sliders ($1.99 vs 77 cents).

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

White Castle already has a vegetarian slider, which it will continue to offer in addition to Impossible's.



We ordered one Impossible combo — which included two plant-based sliders, fries, and a soda — and a regular combo — which included four beef sliders, plus the fries and drink. We also asked for two extra Impossible sliders. It was a lot of food.

We ordered one Impossible combo — which included two plant-based sliders, fries, and a soda — and a regular combo — which included four beef sliders, plus the fries and drink. We also asked for two extra Impossible sliders. It was a lot of food. play

We ordered one Impossible combo — which included two plant-based sliders, fries, and a soda — and a regular combo — which included four beef sliders, plus the fries and drink. We also asked for two extra Impossible sliders. It was a lot of food.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

In total, the veggie combo with cheese cost about $8 and the other (without cheese) was $6.59.



Both sliders included the same toppings (onions, pickles, and ketchup), but the Impossible ones also had cheese.

Impossible sliders. play

Impossible sliders.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)


We first tried the Impossible burgers, which looked much thicker than White Castle's normal square patties. They also weirdly looked more like meat than the beef ones.

The White Castle slider (top) vs the Impossible slider (bottom). play

The White Castle slider (top) vs the Impossible slider (bottom).

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

Instead of beef, Impossible's burgers contain heme (the molecule that gives beef its reddish color and metallic flavor), textured wheat protein, and coconut oil, among other ingredients.



The center was slightly pink and appeared to have a meaty texture. It was moist and had a sweet, pleasant flavor.

The Impossible slider. play

The Impossible slider.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)


It similar to beef, but not quite the same as a regular burger you'd make on a grill.

Impossible sliders. play

Impossible sliders.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)


However, the White Castle ones didn't really taste like beef, either — more like a greasy substance that'd you expect to cost 77 cents.

The White Castle slider. play

The White Castle slider.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)


Unlike the Impossible burgers, White Castle's patties had their signature five holes in the center.

The White Castle slider. play

The White Castle slider.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)


The Impossible slider was the clear winner.

The Impossible slider was the clear winner. play

The Impossible slider was the clear winner.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)


That said, competing with a 77-cent slider — which essentially just tastes like grease, ketchup, and bread — presents a low bar.

The Impossible slider. play

The Impossible slider.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)


Impossible Foods hopes to launch its sliders in every White Castle in the US as well as other fast-food chains globally, COO David Lee said.

The White Castle slider. play

The White Castle slider.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)


The startup is now able to offer its sliders at a relatively low price.

The startup is now able to offer its sliders at a relatively low price. play

The startup is now able to offer its sliders at a relatively low price.

(Sarah Jacobs/Business Insider)

Previously, a larger version of the Impossible Burger was only available in higher-end restaurants, like Umami Burger and David Chang's Momofuku Nishi, for over $10.



The new Impossible slider presents a meatless alternative that beef devotees might warm up to.

The Impossible slider (left) and the White Castle slider (right). play

The Impossible slider (left) and the White Castle slider (right).

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)