You are here

Say Big Whitey

Say Big Whitey Advertising Button Museum
Additional Images: 
Say Big Whitey button back Advertising Button Museum
Sub Categories: 
Text on Button: 
Image Description: 

Blue, white and red text on a blue, white and red background

Curl Text: 


Back Style: 
The Shape: 
The Size: 
The Manufacturer: 
Additional Information: 

The "Big Whitey" was a hamburger made by White Tower restaurants. White Tower was created in 1926 after Milwaukee dance hall owner John Saxe and his son Thomas visited several successful White Castle restaurants. The duo unabashedly copied the established, successful business by decorating the buildings similarly and borrowed a similar slogan to White Castle’s, "Buy 'em by the sack," using, "Take Home a Bagful." The restaurant served a burger known as the whitey in regular size with the king size being dubbed, “Big Whitey.” 

White Tower restaurants were involved in several civil rights issues and lawsuits. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, White Castle successfully sued White Tower for copying its brand. The court sided with White Castle and in 1934, White Tower had to undergo a style change away from it’s medieval look. In 1951, the restaurant was in the news after one of its Washington D.C. locations refused to serve a Puerto Rican student and his African-American classmate on a field trip to learn about democracy. In the early 1960s, a Bronx, New York, location was picketed by protesters for not hiring minority workers. 

In the 1950s, the restaurant peaked with 230 locations across the Midwest and East coast and as far south as Sarasota, Florida. By the 1980s, the number of restaurants was down to 80. Today, there is only one White Tower location operating in Toledo, Ohio.


Dunnigan, A. A. (1951, May 11). Youths get bitter lesson in democracy in Washington. Alabama Tribune, 11(5). Retrieved from

Kiger, P. J. (2009, October 27). 10 restaurants chains that flopped. In howstuffworks. Retrieved from

Larris, B. (1963, July 27). The people I meet. The Indianapolis Recorder, 68(30), p. 16. Retrieved from


Catalog ID: 
Share with your friends: