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White Manna


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136 replies to this topic

#121 froggert

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 07:36 AM

stopped by white mana in jc last night for the first time to see what it's like compared to white manna in hackensnack. i've probably been to the hackensack location several dozen times, but moved from that area to jc about 6 months ago.

white manna has great burgers (i usually get double cheeseburgers with onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard and hot sauce), mediocre fries and not a whole lot else. i believe they recently extended their weekend hours as well.

white mana is open 24/7, has an extended menu and more seating capacity. the burgers are just decent though. better than the fast food places, but not a top-10. the seasoned cheese fries are good. didn't have a chance to try anything else.

i'll stop by again because it's convenient and not a bad place, but i'll go out of my way to stop at the one in hackensack.

#122 Lima Bean

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 12:30 PM

we recently did the same thing and went to the JC location.
I think the Hack one wins hands down.
It was obvious other people think the same thing because the JC location was empty and I've never been to Hack when the line isn't out the door....ever

Lima Bean

Edited by Lima Bean, 21 May 2007 - 12:34 PM.


#123 bartl

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 06:16 PM

we recently did the same thing and went to the JC location.
I think the Hack one wins hands down. 
It was obvious other people think the same thing because the JC location was empty and I've never been to Hack when the line isn't out the door....ever

Odd; I pass there on my way home from work every evening around 6, and there's never a line.

Bart

#124 abooja

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 02:51 PM

After leaving Hackensack more than six months ago and never having visited White Manna while I lived there, I finally tried it last week on the way to Queens to buy a used car. I have to say, I was unimpressed. The burgers seemed completely unseasoned, as in no salt whatsoever. I had a cheeseburger and a regular burger, both with onions, and they tasted identical. It was around 2:30 in the afternoon on a Tuesday, and the place was loaded with high school students. I sat right in front of the grill and witnessed everything the grill chick was doing. Plop irregular sized balls of ground beef next to one another on grill. Squish down with spatula on top of razor thin onions. Flip. Repeat. It all looked very promising, but I just wasn't wowed. I guess I could have added my own salt, but didn't think to. I was too busy scarfing them down anyway. We waited quite a while to get them.

I'm no longer so disappointed that I don't live in the area. I'll make my own sliders soon and they will put White Manna's to shame. I use a combination of home ground chuck, short rib and brisket for my regular burgers, and will use that same combo for the sliders. Homemade buns, too. Yum.

#125 docsconz

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 04:26 PM

Suddenly I became curious.  Why the name White Manna?  Manna I know.  And these burgers qualify.  But white? 

So I did a search.  From the Catholic Encylopedia

The food miraculously sent to the Israelites during their forty years sojourn in the desert (Ex., xvi; Num., xi, 6-9). It fell during the night in small white flakes or grains which covered the ground and presented the appearance of hoar frost. These grains are described as resembling coriander seed and bdellium, with a taste like "flour with honey", or "bread tempered with oil" (Ex., xvi, 31; Num., xi, 7-8).


Aha, I never knew manna is white.

And their buns are indeed, "bread tempered with oil." - Tempered, oozing and dripping "oil" all over my shirt.

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I stopped by the White Manna in Hackensack yesterday with my 8yo son on our way down to Philly for a b-day party. We thoroughly enjoyed the cheeseburgers and the fries, which came directly from the fryer - I don't get the disrespect shown here, but that is another question). As for the name, I'm curious as to which came first, White Man(n)a or White castle? There are a number of similarites, though clearly Manna is better. The significance, though is that one is a takepff on the other. "Manna" is how someone from NJ would pronounce the word "manor." So instead of "white castle," we have "white manor" or vice versa. Either way, I think it is a clever pun by whoever came second (I suspect WC) and a nice nod to the inspiration.

Edited by docsconz, 03 August 2008 - 04:27 PM.

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#126 slkinsey

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 05:40 PM

The first White Castle opened in Wichita, Kansas in 1921.

The White Mana building was constructed as a diner for the 1939 World's Fair in Queens, and was moved to Jersey City (or Hackensack, depending on who you believe) in 1946. It's not clear that it originally served sliders, and I think it is unlikely that it did (the sign says, "hamburgers since 1946").
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#127 Fat Guy

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 06:10 PM

White Castle is definitely older. There are two different but often confused operations currently in business in New Jersey: White Manna and White Mana. White Manna is in Hackensack and White Mana is in Jersey City. The information out there about both is conflicting and spotty, though the New York Times -- which tends to do more fact-checking than the average source -- says White Mana in Jersey City

may well be the original 1939 World's Fair diner, as its owner declares; other New Jersey diners, notably Hackensack's White Manna, have claimed that title though none have proved it. (Hackensack's White Manna and Jersey City's White Mana may have been established by the same person, though this, too, is unclear.)


By the way White Manna is in my opinion a good bit better than White Mana, though both are good and both are an order of magnitude better than White Castle.

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#128 Fat Guy

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 06:19 PM

"Manna" is how someone from NJ would pronounce the word "manor." So instead of "white castle," we have "white manor" or vice versa. Either way, I think it is a clever pun by whoever came second

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Indeed, the first few times people from New Jersey mentioned White Manna to me I thought they were saying "White Manor," which made it virtually un-Google-able. When I finally got taken there for the first time I said, "Oh, it's White Manna!" I had the same problem with the Chinese restaurant Cathay 22 in Springfield, New Jersey. I thought our friends were saying "Cafe 22."

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#129 docsconz

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 07:25 PM

"Manna" is how someone from NJ would pronounce the word "manor." So instead of "white castle," we have "white manor" or vice versa. Either way, I think it is a clever pun by whoever came second

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Indeed, the first few times people from New Jersey mentioned White Manna to me I thought they were saying "White Manor," which made it virtually un-Google-able. When I finally got taken there for the first time I said, "Oh, it's White Manna!" I had the same problem with the Chinese restaurant Cathay 22 in Springfield, New Jersey. I thought our friends were saying "Cafe 22."

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In which case, I believe that the creators of White Man(n)a came up with a really good homage/ pun on White Castle, a company they improved upon and surpassed.
John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

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#130 Mistinguett

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 09:21 PM

The current issue of Saveur has a page dedicated to New Jersey and White Manna is mentioned (with a pretty enticing picture). I don't know how well they check the facts but this is what they say (for whatever is worth):

"the building once belonged to a small burger chain that got its start at the 1939 world's fair; another outpost of the former franchise, called White Mana (sic), is still operating (under different ownership) in Jersey City."

From the NY Times article I gather that White Mana opened in 1946.
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#131 cindys

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 08:39 PM

I never understood the whole White Manna vs. White Castle debate. Both are small burgers with tons of onions. :wub:

#132 Fat Guy

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 05:28 AM

I think back in the day there was probably a lot in common between White Castle and White Manna burgers. The differences today primarily pertain, I think, to scale and modernization. White Manna is a single establishment and is still making sliders according to what I understand to be the procedure that was also in place at White Castle stores long ago: the ground beef is not frozen and it's made into small balls for portioning; the griddle cook takes one of these balls and puts it on the griddle then covers it with thinly sliced onions; when the burger is flattened and flipped with the metal spatula, the onions wind up integrated into the meat; the bun is placed on top for the last bit of cooking; then everything is assembled.

Today, unfortunately, White Castle uses frozen patties of inferior quality, reconstituted dehydrated diced onions that to me have a distinctly chemical taste and, I should add, terrible buns (White Manna uses the very good Martin's potato roll product). So it's kind of like the difference between a legitimate pizzeria and, say, Domino's: both pizzas may be just dough, sauce and cheese, but there are so many differences in product quality and procedure at each step of the pizza-making process that the two end results are pretty much entirely different foods.

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#133 rlibkind

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 11:59 AM

As a native of Union County, though displaced for many years in Philadelphia, I have fond memories of the various "White" and "Blue" burger stands. After a late night newspaper shift I'd head to the local at Stuyvesant near Walker/Oakland, a "Blue Diamond" iirc, but maybe it was a "White Diamond". Long gone, of course. Last spring, en route to Best Provision to pick up some Syd's dogs, I stopped by the Roselle White Rose, East First & Walnut. As satisfyingly greasy a slider as ever.

All these burgers, I believe, are best approached not as hamburgers, but as meat-flavored onion sandwiches -- particularly those made in the style Steve described, with fresh onions.

None of the "Roses" or "Diamonds" or "Castles" or "Towers" exists in the immediate Philadelphia-South Jersey area, but the spirit of the meat-flavored onion sandwich lives on at Roney's (Rt. 130 & Haddon Ave., it's either Camden or Collingswood), which may have been a former White Tower.
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#134 basquecook

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 11:51 AM

white manna Hackensack.. In my opinion the superior location
 
 

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It's probably been a couple of years.. These burgers are fantastic.. I had front seat and was able to watch how they are made.. It's a griddle that is really not that hot.. Firstly, there is no heat coming off it, secondly, the burgers cook for a while with tons of onions and nothing gets charred.. I am guessing the heat of the grill is around 280-300 degrees..  A ball of meat, small, perhaps 3 ounces is plopped down.. Then super thin onions are placed on top and it is smooshed down.. The burgers cook, roughly 3 minutes on the one side, then flipped and 3 minutes on the other side, onion side down.. While that is happening, cheese is placed on top of the burgers.. Then, entire buns are placed on top of the cheese, that's on top of the burger, thats on top of the onions.. Now the buns are steaming.  Eventually, about  maybe another 1.5 minutes, the burgers are lifted off the grill, the buns are separated and the patties are placed inside the buns..

 

here you can see the buns resting on the burgers getting a steam on the far right., burgers getting cheese after being flipped in the middle and on the far right, newly placed burgers topped with onions getting the first side cooked.. 

 

 

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It gives more of a steamed burger flavor and the buns are perfectly warm and soft..   The buns are martin potato roll 12 pack..  

 

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there is an intense onion flavor, the pickles are really light and I add mustard.. They were super delicious.. Better than I remembered..  


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#135 patrickamory

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 09:32 PM

oh man SO JEALOUS basquecook!

 

we may have discussed but have you been to White Rose System in Linden?



#136 Richard Berg

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 04:02 PM

Sounds good. I'm sticking with 6" wide so I can seal two at once in a VP-112. When are you in Manhattan?

#137 rlibkind

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 01:52 PM

To eyes in Camden/Collingswood area closed about 2-3 years ago.
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