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Restaurant on Dollar Menu

You can buy the venerable White Tower restaurant in downtown Toledo — the last of the chain's units in Ohio — for only a buck, reports the Toledo Blade. The catch: you will have to pay to move it.

The corner on which the 600-sq.ft. now-defunct restaurant currently sits has been designated for demolition by the YWCA of Greater Toledo, which owns the property. YWCA, which plans to build living units for battered women and low-income families in the space, has made the dollar offer in order to comply with federal requirements governing historic properties being renovated using government funds (YWCA's project is partly being funded by a grant from the Dept. of Housing & Urban Development).

You'd think someone would want the retro premises given America's addiction to popular-culture nostalgia. The space includes a griddle where the chain's famous Butter-Burgers were made (both buns are buttered and grilled, hence the name), as well as its counter, seats and overall classic diner décor (for a picture of what a White Tower unit looked like in its heyday, go to and scroll down to the picture).

The downtown Toledo White Tower actually operated up until 2004, and according to the Blade did well until repeated robberies forced it to curtail its highly profitable overnight hours (the original concept for White Tower Restaurants called for 24-hour service).

White Tower was a White Castle knockoff founded in 1926 that at its peak operated several hundred units across more than a dozen states. During the Great Depression, it became noted for selling burgers for five cents, an inflation-adjusted precurser of today's popular dollar menus.

Given today's economic slide, perhaps some enterprising operator can use that history to theme the space with a retro-Depression atmosphere. It's not like there is a lack of customers who might identify with that…

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