There’s another new burger pop-up in Austin, this one drawing its inspiration from the iconic sliders of fast-food chain White Castle. Golden Castle is run by Stephen Kaste, who also owns East Sixth food truck Golden Tiger.
Golden Castle’s sliders are made with Martin’s potato rolls, loaded with beef patties, onions, and American cheese. Mustard is optional, but Kaste recommends it. The burgers are cooked and sold by the half-dozen on the spot.
The name of the pop-up is intentional, explains Kaste: “to pay respect to White Castle, while making it our own.” White Castle is a “nostalgic thing for me,” he says. His family would grab sacks of fast-food sliders often when they lived in Chicago. After he moved to Albany, New York, the chain was a required stop during his trips to the city. “I really enjoy the concept and the style,” he says, “the simplicity of it is something I have always admired, and I love the affordability of it.”
For its first two pop-ups in September, Golden Castle teamed up with newer East Sixth bar Low Down Lounge, as a way of helping out a fellow business. “Being a bar isn’t easy right now,” Kaste says, “so we wanna do anything we can to help them out. I like knowing that, no matter what, we are able to help the bar sell some drinks with our food.” During a recent pop-up last weekend, the bar sold several takeout frozen cocktails.
Golden Castle orders are placed in person through a socially distanced line with the host at the bar. Pickup orders are then placed on a designated table.
As a further way of keeping things fun while also socially distancing, the team at the Low Down created an amusing and engaging way of occasionally delivering the burgers: the burger canon. “Took a bit of time to get the pressure levels figured out,” explains Kaste, “but now we can safely send a wrapped burger airborne for guests to attempt to catch.”
Golden Castle’s next pop-up will take place at South Austin spot the Austin Winery, from Saturday, October 10 and Sunday, October 11, starting at noon each day. The burger canon, which didn’t make an appearance at its last pop-up, should come back during this one.
Future pop-ups will be announced on Golden Castle’s Instagram page. Kaste is looking into locations in north and south Austin especially. He also wants to expand the menu eventually too, by adding fries and Impossible meat for a vegan iteration of the slider.
Kaste, along with business partner Jamee Miller, opened Golden Tiger two and a half years ago on Rainey Street. Previously, he had been a manager of food trucks East Side King and Thai Kun. During the pandemic, the food truck started offering contactless ordering through its website, emphasized third-party deliveries, flyered the neighborhood, and added a phone line so people could call in orders.