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Developer: White Castle just part of a bigger plan

The announcement this week that White Castle would — finally — have a permanent location in Las Vegas by late November has raised more questions than it has provided answers for the diminutive burgers’ die-hard fans (the company calls them “Cravers”), many of whom stood in line for up to four hours when a mobile White Castle kitchen showed up at the last couple of Las Vegas Foodie Fests.

Among the FAQ’s:

Why on the Strip (since so many Cravers seem to be locals)?

Why at the Casino Royale — now the Best Western Plus Casino Royale — which has perhaps the lowest profile of any Strip property?

Are more planned, maybe in the valley’s suburbs?

And, among the more industry-savvy Cravers: How, since the nearest White Castle is in Cape Girardeau, Mo., can the company find it feasible to supply just one restaurant?

Cravers and the rest of us will have to wait for most of the answers, said Troy Herbst, a partner in Herbst-Richardson, the local part of the project’s developers. Before the news leaked out this week, Herbst said, his intention had been to announce Herbst-Richardson’s plans sometime later this month.

In the meantime, Herbst did tell us this much:

The Herbst-Richardson name comes from Herbst, of the Terrible Herbst family, and Rob Richardson, a member of the Richardson family, late of Circus Circus and Mandalay Bay. Herbst said he and Richardson are lifelong friends who recently formed a business. For this project they’re teaming with longtime friends the Elardi family, owners of Casino Royale.

White Castle vice president Jamie Richardson (no relation to Rob Richardson) said the new agreement is a “different way than we have historically expanded. It’s a licensing agreement, where they have the right to use our name and our signature menu items.”

Richardson said the lack of a supply chain isn’t an issue.

“We’ve worked through that, and it’s easy enough for us to do,” he said. “We have product transported all over the country all the time. It really wasn’t that big an obstacle.”

He said the company has 401 outlets, and it products are available in freezer cases in all 50 states.

As to whether there will be additional valley locations — maybe outside the tourism corridor — Richardson said that remains to be seen.

“None that are planned at this point,” he said. “We’re always open to feeding the souls of Craver generations everywhere. As we’re still family-owned after all these years, that’s something we always want to be open to. It’s been amazing for us to find out how much love for the Castle there is in Las Vegas. It’s certainly gratifying.”

Herbst said more information will be forthcoming.

“We’re formulating a marketing program that we’re going to be rolling out soon,” he said. “We’ve got some really exciting stuff coming. We wanted to bring something fantastic to the Strip.”

Stay tuned.

Contact reporter Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474.

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