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White Castle celebrates plant opening

That plate of frozen White Castle hamburgers you’re placing in the microwave? These days, chances are decent that those burgers were made and distributed by a plant not too far away.

White Castle’s frozen food plant off Peters Pike just north of Interstate 70 has been operating since December, but Bill Ingram — the company’s CEO and grandson of the company’s founder — was in town Wednesday to celebrate the opening of the company’s frozen food processing plant in Vandalia.

Columbus-based White Castle expects that the $19.4 million plant will soon employ more than 100 workers, and a second shift will start in July, the company said Wednesday. Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor joined Ingram, as did company White Castle President Lisa Ingram and others for a ribbon cutting.

The plant is producing more than 200,000 frozen Original Sliders, Cheeseburgers and Jalapeño Cheese Sliders for distribution to grocery stores across the nation. The retail side of the business is growing while the restaurant side of the company, with more than 400 restaurants nationwide, is “mature,” Bill Ingram said.

The nearly 80,000-square-foot building was built on 17 acres and is expected to employ 120 workers. Stonequarry Crossings is Vandalia’s business park for offices, high technology and manufacturers. Close by are Carter Express, Independent Can and Manufactured Assemblies Corp.

Greg Shackelford, Vandalia assistant city manager, said the city is always talking with businesses, but there are no immediate plans to announce another Stonequarry Crossings occupant at the moment.

Vandalia sought $300,000 in Montgomery County development funds for the project in 2012.

The new plant will produce more than 200,000 burgers — with the famous “five-hole” patties — each year.

Ohio has 61 White Castle restaurants, including four in the Dayton area.

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