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White Tower

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White Tower Restaurants were inspired by the White Castle chain. The first White Castle opened in 1921. The first White Tower opened in 1926 in Milwaukee, WI. Both chains used white castle-like buildings. White Towers were built in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York, Boston and other large cities. By 1948, the chain had about 250 locations nationwide. I don't believe there are any White Tower restaurants still using the name. Meanwhile, White Castle now has more than 380 locations.

For more about White Tower, see these websites: 1, 2, 3, and 4. There is also a book about the chain.

former White Tower
Racine, WI
This former White Tower was built in 1929. The building has housed the DePizza Chef restaurant since the late 1980s. [map]

former White Tower
Chicago, IL
This former White Tower was built in 1930. These photos are from 2006 when the building had been recently occupied by the Blue Thistle Flower Market. It was then in use as office space. As of 2013, the building houses Gelato Greco. [map]

former White Tower
Cambridge, MA
This former White Tower was built in 1932 and closed in 1973. It is now home to Moody's Falafel Palace. [map]

former White Tower
Worcester, MA
This former White Tower opened in 1932 and closed in 1973. In the late 1980s, it was a pizza parlor with a White Tower Restaurant next door (no relation, just used the name). The main part of the building was most recently used as a nail salon. There was a restaurant on the side called "White Tower" that sold Chinese food. In 2006, the building was empty. As of 2013, the building houses Bebe's African Hair Braiding & Beauty Supplies. [map]

former White Tower
Albany, NY
The former White Tower was built in 1937 and moved twice. It was moved here in the early 1960s. In the early 1980s, it closed and became a luncheonette. From 1986 to 1999, it was used as the QE2 nightclub. It is now home to the Fuze Box Lounge. This vintage photo shows the building at a previous location. [map]

former White Tower
Syracuse, NY
This former White Tower operated from 1937-1973. It housed Lotsa Pasta when the first photo was taken in 2003. The building has since been repainted white. It has been occupied by the Burger Joint since 2008. The second photo above is from 2010. As of 2013, it is still operating as the Burger Joint. Nothing remains of the original interior. [map]

former White Tower [gone]
New Haven, CT
This former White Tower was built in 1941 and closed in 1980. The building was transformed into Villa del Sol, a Mexican Restaurant. The stainless steel doors and lights appeared to be from the Tower days. The building was destroyed in 2006.

former White Tower (later Yummy Burger and now White Lotus Café and Diner)
Dayton, OH
former White Tower (now Smokin' Bar-B-Que)
Dayton, OH
Yummy Burger building previously housed a White Tower which opened in 1948. In 2006, the White Lotus Café and Diner, a Thai food restaurant, took over the building. The Yummy Burger sign was adapted to reflect the new name. For more, see this website. [map]

Dayton's other remaining White Tower building is just a couple blocks away from the White Lotus. It was built in 1941. In 2005, it was converted into Smokin' Bar-B-Que. The canopies were replaced, the lights removed, and the interior was completely redone. The White Tower sign was replaced with a new one but the beanpole support was reused. [map]

Wympee Drive In
Dayton, OH

2009:

2012:
The Wympee Drive In was not a White Tower but I'll include it here simply because of its similar style and its proximity to the other two former White Towers in Dayon described above. The Wympee Drive In is located directly across the street from the White Lotus. The building is from 1938 and was pretty much in original condition when it closed in 2009. The original 25 stools and counter were still present. This was the last remaining location of a local chain. The name came from the Wimpy cartoon character who was especially fond of hamburgers. The restaurant had carhops from the 1940s until 1955 and was once open 24 hours. In 2010, the building was sold. It now houses "Olive, An Urban Dive" restaurant. The interior was gutted but the exterior looks the same. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

DiNic's [gone]
Mount Ephraim, NJ
Roney's [gone]
Collingswood, NJ
DiNic's, a former White Tower, had a well-preserved interior with seven stools. This White Tower opened here around 1946 and was previously known as Roney's. DiNic's was known for its roast beef and pork sandwiches. They still have two other locations in Philadelphia. In 2006, this building was sold and moved to a private residence in Morgantown, WV. For more, see this website.

Roney's was a well-concealed former White Tower. It was owned by Mr. Toney, who also owned the White Tower in Mount Ephraim. It was renamed Roney's when he bought the building in 1981. In 2011, the restaurant closed due to a road expansion project. It was demolished by 2012.

Cafe 130 [gone]
Collingswood, NJ
In 2003, the Cafe 130, a former White Tower, looked like it had been boarded up for quite awhile. It seems to have been repainted and reopened sometime between the two photos. In 2005, it was destroyed after being hit by a tanker truck. [photo at right thanks Gary Flint]

former White Tower
Philadelphia, PA
This White Tower building was occupied by Germantown Ice in 2010 when these photos were taken. [map]

former White Tower [gone]
Pittsburgh, PA
former White Tower
Boston, MA
former White Tower
Richmond, VA
There were about ten White Towers in Pittsburgh at one time but only one remains, unrecognizable as a video store. The location shown top left became Theo's in 1999. It was renamed again in 2002 as WT's. It was built in 1936 and was the last former White Tower still serving food. The building was demolished in 2006. For more, see this website.

This former White Tower in Boston was in use as a jewelry store when this photo was taken in 2004. By 2011, it was housing Elecshak, a computer repair shop. [map]

This former White Tower in Richmond has been converted into a Subway. [map]

Roman's Deli
Toledo, OH
The Roman's Deli building originally housed a White Tower. [map]

White Tower [gone]
Toledo, OH
This White Tower was built in 1929 as a White Spot. White Tower bought the building in 1932 and added the porcelain enamel panels in 1935. It was the first White Tower in Ohio. The building had been vacant since 2004 but it still had the green stools and what looked like the original counter. In 2008, the building was purchased and there were plans to move it to a different spot in Toledo. However, as of 2011, the building has not reappeared. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2.

White Tower
Toledo, OH
This is the last White Tower still in operation. I think this restaurant opened in 1970. I don't know of any others that were built in this style. [map]

former White Tower
Baltimore, MD
former White Tower [gone]
Baltimore, MD
The former White Tower on the left was previously located elsewhere in Baltimore. It was known as White Tower #8. The building was saved and restored by the City Life Museum. The White Tower building located here is just a partial façade and counter. It is housed in 1840s Plaza, a lease-able space for private events. The tower on this White Tower and the one described below in Dearborn bear the cartoon character "Whitey" which is composed of the letters "W" and "T". The "Whitey" on this Baltimore White Tower was installed in 1997. It came from White Tower #6 in Baltimore which was disasembled and put in storage somewhere. It was nearly impossible for me to photo this building due to the its cramped position next to a window. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2.

The photo of the White Tower on the far right was taken in 2010. It was demolished by 2013.

Tamy's Diner
Dearborn, MI
Campau Tower
Hamtramck, MI
In 1928, White Tower expanded to the industrial Detroit area. More than 30 locations were built there that year. These buildings were often tiny since they were built on very small lots.

The Dearborn White Tower has been known as Tamy's Diner since at least the early 1970s but it is still very much intact. [map]

Campau Tower was originally a White Tower. It was renamed after the street on which it is located. For more, see this website. [map]

former White Tower [gone]
Detroit, MI
This former White Tower had been vacant for many years. It appeared to have been damaged in a fire. These photos are from 2007 and 2009. By 2011, the building was gone.

Valentino's
Richmond, VA
Valentino's was built as a White Tower in 1939. It was remodeled in 1960. This photo shows how it looked in the late 1930s. It has been Valentino's since at least 2006. [map]

More White Towers:
Sarasota, FL [vintage; gone]
Chicago, IL [map]
Atlantic City, NJ [vintage; gone]
Amsterdam, NY [vintage; gone]
Queens, NY [map]
Dayton, OH [vintage; gone]
Milwaukee, WI [vintage; gone]
White Tower Map [various cities]

If you know of any other White Tower buildings that still exist, I'd love to hear about them and include them at this page.

White Castle Main Eateries Page