give me Krystal!

Yesterday, I talked about one of my favorite Atlanta food destinations, the Varsity.  There’s more to food in the South than that, though.


It’s true that barbecue is from the South, but I make barbecue at home.  I’m all for going for barbecue when I’m there, but the place I make sure I stop for food when I go south is… Krystal!  If you haven’t had Krystal, you’ll probably try to compare it to White Castle.  They don’t compare… They’re very different versions of burgers, with Krystal being great and White Castle being not toxic (maybe not toxic).


I don’t remember when I fell in love with Krystal, but it happened sometime over the years.  When I lived in Atlanta, I actually didn’t go all the time, but I would splurge maybe once a week while there.

Over the years, Krystal has come up with new burgers that are more like other places, called the BA Burger (they say that stands for Black Angus, but I think it means something else!).  Honestly, they look pretty good, but they’re not Krystals to me!   The quintessential Krystal experience, to me, has to include a couple double cheese Krystals.  That’s the first step to Krystal heaven!  These are little, square burgers that come in a small box.  The only complaint about this set up is that the cheese sometimes gets stuck in the bottom of the box!  But the box makes getting to them in the care really easy.

Double Cheese

Since I don’t get to Krystal often, I try to get the right variety when I do get there, so that means the next piece of the Krystal puzzle is a chili cheese pup.  it’s just a smaller hot dog wth chili and cheese.  It sounds simple, but, put together, the chili cheese pup is definitely more than its parts!

Don't Be Jealous

The last item that’s a must have is a Krystl Chik.  This is another square sandwich, but instead of a burger, it’s a small chicken breast sandwich, with just a touch of breading, with mayo and a pickle.  Southern chicken sandwich in a nice, compact package!  I do have one complaint about Krystal Chiks, though… They used to have a spicy version, but they did away with it!  It was Krystal Chik squared, and it’s not available anymore!!!  I love the regular Krystal Chik, but I LOVE the spicy Krystal Chik!


Krystal has great shakes, sweet tea, and, of course, Coca-Cola, but the drinks are secondary to the food.


We were only in Atlanta for a few short, quick days, and I didn’t really have much time for Krystal, but I did get a Chik biscuit and Kryspers (fried potatoes).  But for the real stuff above, I want to thank the very friendly people that work at the Lenior City, TN store for a nice visit.

About Curt McAdams

I guess I'm a bit of a foodie, learning to cook from my mom, then getting obsessed with outdoor cooking, competition barbecue, bread baking and just about all things food. Lately, I've been trying to upgrade my photography skills a bit, though I still have a long way to go.

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  1. The first thing Terry does when he gets to Alabama is (particularly since he generally gets on a late flight to BHM) run through a Krystal a few exits away from the airport. I had had Krystals before (I seem to have a habit of dating Southerners) and he insists that White Castles are OK (they need mustard) but Krystals are the best.

    He also told me about Varsity. I need to send him your way. I love Atlanta– I should be there again in a couple of months. I’ll see if I can try out Varsity while I’m there.

  2. Julie,

    The Varsity is worth the trip, and don’t let lunchtime even scare you away. You’ll get through the line in no time.

    I did forget to mention the corn pups… My wife loves those. And the biggest difference between Krystal and White Castle, burger-wise, is that WC steams their ‘burgers’ over onions, so they’re not grilled on anything. They also have holes in them so they don’t shrink down to nothing. I just don’t care much for them, really. Krystal makes a much better cheap burger.

  3. I am now craving Chili Cheese pups and am about 500 miles away.

    We lived in Atlanta for about 10 years and made a visit back a couple summers ago. My wife had a list of things she wanted to visit again ( Stone Mountain, Zoo Atlanta, etc. ) I had a better list., (Varsity, Harolds BBQ, Old Hickory House, Williamson Brothers, Fat Matts). I think I gained 10 punds that week.

    Thanks to your last 2 posts, I may have to plan a return.

  4. Dave, you mentioned others that are big faves in Atlanta, too! Fat Matt’s is a family favorite, and Williamson Bros is great bbq, too. I also love the Blue Ridge Grill.

    If you get there soon, let me know what places you hit.

  5. Wow, I am ecstatic to see that someone else appreciates Krystal as much as me. I can’t get it enough. There used to be one in Knoxville where I went to school, that was open 24 hours no less! The chili cheese fries are a big hit. Dang. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

  6. Great website name! Bacon is a great thing, too! I don’t know if Krystal has a bacon Krystal, but that I would drive to Lexington for.

  7. They look a lot like White Castles and WC’s cheese stick to the box also. I would love to try one.

  8. Lisa, they may look like White Castle burgers, but they’re not the same. Other than small and square, there’s not much else in common. Yeah, cheese sticks, but that’s what cheese does. :)

    WC steams their burgers over onions instead of frying the burger, and they make a big deal out of cooking to order. Try letting a WC sit around, and you’ll know why! All this really does is make things REALLY slow!

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