First off, the name alone wins points in this battle. The day we rolled into Detroit, past miles of wasteland, with plenty of bright spots showing a healthier, inventive, urban future, there was a wait for burgers, not because anyone wanted them, but because the line out the door was for their coffee. Everyone was ordering "double doubles," "single doubles" and the occasional "triple triple" in referring to how they liked their cup. Yes, the coffee was great as well, much in the way White Castle coffee has that discernible comforting flavor you can't find anywhere else. White Castle was also the link that brought me to Telway at 10 in the morning, as it was described as "a mom and pop version" that late night palace of burger. Never underestimate the attempt to make a slider, even if it is White Castle. Telway know what they are dealing with when it comes to being economically and aesthetically "stuck in time." Even the wait staff seemed untouched, as if we were in nowhere Kansas.
As you can see, 4 burgers cost you $2.25, and I'm pretty sure that's under the line at a White Castle these days. That said, I'm old enough to remember when White Castle's were a quarter and we'd drive 20 miles to get one. So Telway has grown with inflation, but still remains a gem of a cheap meal. The interior reminded me a lot of K's in Troy -- with the white tin walls and red text everywhere, a spotless small counter -- only this was in the middle of a warzone and not an idyllic downtown square.
I can honestly say these are better than the iconic slider, even if they're missing key elements and are actually less of a patty than a White Castle. It's possible. The burgers were fresh with just the right amount of grease claiming the bun, and the standard onions and mustard giving off the usual slider musk. Perfectly dive and perfectly cooked. I could have probably eaten another four. But it was apparent it was time for us to leave. Just the institution alone, in operation since 1947, is worth your trip. The original location is likely much safer and resides in suburban Madison Heights.