White Castle Named "Most Influential Burger of All Time"

Thanks to TIME magazine’s recent poll of hamburger historians and experts, we can now add "how influential the burger is" to our judging criteria.

By Kyli Singh
|  Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014  |  Updated 11:50 AM EDT
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    From top-tier restaurants that serve foie gras burgers to greasy fast-food chains that dish up mouthwatering patties, our inner burger critic has always judged the American classic by its taste and presentation.

    Thanks to Time Magazine’s recent poll of hamburger historians and experts, we can now add "how influential the burger is" to our judging criteria. The list revealed juicy details of which burgers have the largest impact on the burger industry and world.

    White Castle took the crown for the "most influential burger of all time," beating iconic burger joints like McDonald's (No. 2), In-N-Out (No. 3) and foodie favorite Shake Shack (No. 7).

    White Castle’s palm-sized, square patty originated in Wichita, Kansas, in 1921 and was the “first burger to spawn a fast-food empire,” Time notes. By 1930, the family-owned business had opened 30 locations. Today, White Castle restaurants are located in New York City, the Midwest and upper South.

    Time ranked the Burger King Whopper in fifth place, stating that it's the fast-food industry’s first gimmick burger, inspiring competitors to create “deluxe” versions.

    At No. 7, Time gave credit to chef Danny Meyer’s ShackBurger for sparking a food frenzy and attracting long lines at New York’s Madison Square Park. The chain has 21 locations in the U.S. (nine of them in New York City) and 13 Shake Shacks internationally.

    With a price tag of $325,000, No. 9 is the most expensive burger. The burger is so pricey because it is lab-grown, making it suitable for vegetarians. The meat patty, which looks, smells and tastes like a burger, was grown from cow stem cells by researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. 

    The Ramen Burger, which consists of a bun made of ramen noodles and a beef patty, landed in the No. 12 spot. Shortly after the cronut crave, the burger drew crowds to Smorgasburg, Brooklyn's outdoor food fair. An official Ramen Burger restaurant has not been opened, but that doesn't stop copycats from making it.

    The least influential of the 17 went to the Krusty Burger (No. 17), a "Simpsons" tribute at Universal Studios Orlando. 

    To view the complete list, click here.

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