White Castle’s Valentine’s Day celebration is ON for 2021, but this time, with a car-hop vibe

COVID-19 pandemic forces some changes to the restaurant chain’s 30-year tradition

The coronavirus pandemic will force White Castle to forgo its customary tablecloths-and-flowers Valentine’s Day dine-in event for 2021, but it won’t cancel the celebration entirely.

Instead, White Castle is inviting customers to join in a socially-distanced car-hop drive-in event in a throwback to Valentine’s Day of yesteryear.

The Columbus-based fast-foot chain known for its “sliders” is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. It operates restaurants in Trotwood, Springfield, Franklin, Middletown, Hamilton, Fairfield, South Lebanon and West Chester Twp. The company also has a manufacturing plant in Vandalia.

Since 1991, White Castle restaurants have been celebrating Valentine’s Day by transforming their dining rooms into fine-dining establishments complete with hostess seating, tableside service and festive holiday décor. About 30,000 people dine at a Castle each Valentine’s Day. But that tradition will take a hiatus for 2021.

“COVID forced us to re-imagine our annual Valentine’s Day event,” Jamie Richardson, a vice president at White Castle, said in a release. “This creative and safe solution allows us to celebrate a tradition our customers love. We’re happy to share that once again this Valentine’s Day, White Castle will become Love Castle.”

Here’s how Valentine’s Day 2021 will work: At participating White Castle locations on Sunday, Feb. 14, customers can book a parking spot and enjoy their meal car-hop style with car-side service. Hours vary; some participating restaurants will have a daytime event, while others will have an evening event.

To make a reservation, visit www.whitecastle.com/vday to choose your location. Customers will then be sent to OpenTable.com to confirm and choose your reservation time.

Customers will pull into a marked parking spot when they arrive at their reservation time. A restaurant employee will take their order car-hop style and deliver it in a sealed bag.

Restaurant employees are required to wear face coverings during their car-hop shift, and White Castle officials request that customers wear a face covering when speaking to their team members at the car-hop event.

For more information, go to www.whitecastle.com/vday.

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