Type of Food: Burgers and Fries
Interesting Fact: Krystal is often described as the Southern equivalent of the older Midwest American hamburger chain White Castle. Also, every year, Krystal announces inductees to the Krystal Lovers Hall Of Fame. The inductees are chosen from e-mails and letters received by The Krystal Company and represent the dedicated and diehard customers who have helped make Krystal a cultural icon. To commemorate the win, Krystal will feature each inductee on his or her very own Famous Krystal Hamburger box or Cheese Krystal box, for a limited time. Along with their likeness on the the box it include a quote from the inductee that describes his or her passion for Krystal. They will also be officially honored with a special plaque during an induction ceremony to be held at the inductee’s favorite Krystal restaurant and celebrated at the Krystal website.
History: Krystal is the seventh or eighth-oldest hamburger chain in the United States (the oldest being White Castle) and the oldest in the South. The first Krystal restaurant opened in 1932 on the corner of Seventh and Cherry Streets in downtown Chattanooga, Tenn., amid harsh financial times of the Great Depression. But founders Rody Davenport Jr. and J. Glenn Sherrill knew that even in these hard times, people would patronize a restaurant that was kept spotlessly clean, where they could get a good meal with courteous service at the lowest possible price.
Designed by Chattanooga architect Gordon Smith, the first Krystal restaurant measured 10 feet by 25 feet and was constructed in what, at the time, was a revolutionary and expensive method of building. Made of gleaming white porcelain and stainless steel, the building was prefabricated in a metal shop in Chicago and assembled on site in Chattanooga.
The restaurant was an overnight success. Customers flocked to the small building with the spotless chrome and tile fittings to perch upon the six stools, savor hot-off-the-grill Krystals and sip freshly brewed coffee from thick china mugs. Those not lucky enough to snag a stool would order sacks full of Krystals to take with them, making Krystal a pioneer in the business of food “to go.” Based on the success of their first location, Davenport and Sherrill began opening Krystals all over the Southeast – creating one of the first fast food restaurant chains in the United States. Krystal’s product line also still centers on small, square hamburgers served on a square steamed bun called, simply enough, a “Krystal”. Small hot dogs, named “pups” are also featured menu items.
Krystal restaurants, both company-owned and franchised, operate in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. There is also a single Krystal in Bristol, Virginia (which lies on the Tennessee-Virginia border), and two in Arkansas, one in West Memphis (directly across the Mississippi River from Memphis), and one on the other side of the state in Springdale (which is in the Fayetteville, Arkansas metropolitan area). Krystal is often compared to a similar Midwest restaurant chain White Castle, but other than Nashville and several Kentucky markets, the two restaurants seem to have drawn their own Mason-Dixon line when it comes to competition. Krystal still maintains corporate headquarters in Chattanooga, and has been owned by Port Royal Holdings, Inc. since 1997. Krystal has more than 400 locations across the South. More history here.
As for the origins of the Krystal name, company legend states that the name was conceived by Mrs. Mary McGee Davenport. She selected the company name after noticing a crystal ball on a neighbor’s lawn. The name she chose, “Krystal Klean,” reflected the cleanliness of the restaurant; the name was later shortened to Krystal. A crystal ball became a symbol outside all Krystal restaurants.
Krystal Website: www.krystal.com
View the Krystal menu: here
Find your local Krystal: here
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