In late 1932, a small burger restaurant popped up at the corner of Cherry and Seventh streets in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Even though the small restaurant was only 10 feet by 25 feet, both owners had big dreams. When the first customer counted thirty-five cents for six burgers and a cup of coffee, Rody Davenport and Glen Sherrill knew they were on to something.
Legend has it that Davenport’s wife Mary came up with the name of the restaurant after noticing a crystal ball lawn. Davenport and Sherrill were picky eaters about cleanliness, so “clean as a crystal” or “clean as a crystal” occurred to me.
Today, Krystal is one of the oldest burger chains in the United States.
Starting a restaurant during the Great Depression would prove to be a challenge, but Davenport and Sherrill were determined. They knew people still had to eat, and if they could provide high quality, affordable food in a clean environment, then their business would be a success.
Prior to opening this first restaurant, Davenport spent a lot of time at the already thriving White Castle learning about restaurant hygiene and the unique assembly line procedures used there. He studied the menu, the service and the prices. He took what he learned and decided to apply it to his own ideas.
The first restaurant started out with what could be considered a standard menu for the day – bacon, eggs, homemade pies, and freshly brewed coffee – but the most notable menu item was the Krystal burger. Soon after, word had spread about their square burgers served with steamed onions, and people started lining up. Less than ten years later, the famous Krystal burger was served in thirty-three locations in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.
In 1943 Davenport passed away and Sherrill took over as president of the company, a position he held until his death in 1961.
Krystal continued to stand out in the 1950s by using inexpensive porcelain plates to serve food, rather than disposable wrappers or boxes. Milkshakes, fries and chili were added to the menu, and as more customers started driving, the chain began adding drive-thru.
Almost 79 years after its humble beginnings, you can still get the original burger that started it all, the famous Krystal. The Square Burger is made with 100% USDA beef, grilled to perfection, nestled between a steamy bun and topped with onions, mustard and a pickle. There is also a Double Krystal, a Cheese Krystal and a Double Cheese Krystal. If just one isn’t enough, you can get these burgers in packs of 12 and 24.
The famous Krystal has always been the lifeblood of the business, but Krystal has a long history of innovative menu choices. The Original Scrambler is a breakfast bowl filled with oatmeal, scrambled eggs, cheese and sausage. Other items, like the Chili Cheese Pup, the Big Stack Breakfast, the new 4-Alarm Chipotle Wings, and the Big Angus Burger, all serve to set Krystal apart from other fast food selections.
“Krystal is an icon of the South, known for her hospitality and her worth,” said Brad Wahl, vice president of marketing for The Krystal Company. “The Krystal experience is one that virtually all of the men, women and children raised in the South have shared. In fact, Krystal is the oldest fast food restaurant chain in the South and we plan to continue to be a part of Southern history for years to come.