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Holly Moore

White Manna

139 posts in this topic

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").


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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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.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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"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

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."


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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"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

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."

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"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

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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.


The human mouth is called a pie hole. The human being is called a couch potato... They drive the food, they wear the food... That keeps the food hot, that keeps the food cold. That is the altar where they worship the food, that's what they eat when they've eaten too much food, that gets rid of the guilt triggered by eating more food. Food, food, food... Over the Hedge

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

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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.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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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.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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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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“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted" JK

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oh man SO JEALOUS basquecook!

 

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

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

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oh man SO JEALOUS basquecook!

 

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

 

 

is it Linden or Roselle Park? or both.. I have been to both.  But, i have to get back.   I remember going there and it's right down the street from this seafood place I wanted to try and never did.. It was like a Maryland Crab place..  I  really like 25 burgers too but, haven't been in years..   


Edited by basquecook (log)

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted" JK

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The one I know is in Linden. They have inexplicably changed their name to White Rose Diner (why change history man!), but it's still the same owner and I'm sure it's magnificent:

 

http://whiterosediner.com

 

And yes, 25 sounds like a reasonable number of sliders to get!

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