Buffalo in the ’70s: Who remembers White Tower Burgers?

By Steve Cichon

In the 1930s, a federal court ruled that Milwaukee’s White Tower Hamburgers was a direct rip off of Wichita’s White Castle Hamburgers. For the next 40 years or so, White Tower and White Castle served up cheap fast burgers all around the country — but generally they steered clear of each other’s territory.

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Buffalo was White Tower territory. In the 1940s, there were White Tower restaurants on Broadway, Chippewa, Fillmore and on the 200 and 1000 blocks of Main.

While White Castle still thrives in 2015, White Tower didn’t fare as well. By the late ’70s only a handful of restaurants were left nationwide, including two in Buffalo — one at Broadway and Sycamore, and one at Kenmore and Tremaine in Kenmore. Both buildings remain, but they are drastically changed, to the point where it’s difficult to say for certain which location — complete with Courier-Express paper box — is in the photo above.

Update: Readers point out the broadcast tower in the background, which cements the location as in Kenmore. The tower is on Channel 4’s property on Elmwood Avenue.


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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.