As much as this country likes to tout its solidarity and support for all things American, we are, in reality, a nation divided. More specifically, we're a nation divided by hamburger chains.
Geospatial information scientist Matt Wingard recently observed that Northerners and Southerners get their diminutive hamburgers at two completely separate but similar chains: White Castle and Krystal. Moreover, there is very little overlap as to where these two franchises operate, with White Castle locations remaining largely in the North, while Krystal Restaurants operate almost exclusively in the South.
To illustrate his point, Wingard created a map showing exactly where each restaurant operates, as well as the geographical U.S. territory that each covers, proximity-wise:
According to Wingard — who used his personal geographic information system (GIS) technology to determine the exact location of his "updated Mason/Dixon line" — the above map helps determine exactly how "Southern" certain states are.
"I recently moved to Kentucky for a job and I've been pretty interested in getting to know the area," wrote Wingard, who grew up in South Carolina. "[I] realized that Kentucky had quite a few characteristics that reminded me of home. The state also has a Midwestern feel at times, and I was left wondering (like many people do) as to whether or not Kentucky is actually 'Southern.'"
This (somehow) led Wingard to ponder his region's closest burger chains and where they operated, which actually proved to be an accurate demarcation for his purposes. "One of the cool things that this map illustrates is that Kentucky is definitely a divided border state in the small hamburger world — just like it was [divided] in the American Civil War."
It should be noted, however, that the cuisine from both restaurants — whether located in the North or South — is nearly identical. Both serve square hamburger sliders with pickles and onions, in paper sleeves, along with side items such as fries, chicken nuggets, hash browns and milkshakes (or MilkQuakes, in Krystal's case). So as far as food preferences go, the North and South aren't so dissimilar.
But don't tell that to Wingard. He's lived in a few different regions of the U.S, and calls himself a Krystal fan. Conversely, two New Jersey residents by the names of Harold and Kumar love White Castle so much that they once journeyed halfway across their state in a well-documented quest for a burger — even spending a night in jail along the way.
What about you? Where do you stand?