I Want The Old Krystal Back - And Response (7) (2022)

During my last four trips to the local Krystal restaurant, I have noticed that the hamburger buns are extremely soggy. The inside of the bun where the meat sits is a soggy, greasy, gooey mess.

Does anyone know why this is? Is this part of the steamed bun process? Is there any way to get a Krystal burger on a dry bun?

I have also noticed that the quality of the French fries is lacking. It seems that in their hurry to get the food out the fries are severely undercooked. Instead of getting semi-crispy French fries, we now get limp, undercooked fries that have the rigidity of an old shoelace.

Also, I have noticed that when I go through the drive thru, even if I am the only one in line, I almost always hear the drive thru person ask me to wait. The wait usually ends up being 3-5 minutes. Wait on what? There's no one else in line.

I love Krystal. I just wish they'd go back to their old ways.

Mary Anne Watkins
Maryannewatkins39@yahoo.com

* * *

I am 41 now. When I was a teen, I worked at the local Krystal in North Chattanooga.

Mary, you are so right - the food is nowhere the quality it was in those days. I remember we had a discard list. Food had a strict time limit to sit before it would be thrown out. The time was 20 minutes for Krystal burgers.

I think some of those burgers have been there all day. Back in the old days we made chili from scratch, and we served the best fried chicken anywhere - better than KFC. I went to that Krystal the other day and ordered some of those chicken sticks. They were overcooked and hard. They were awful.

The customer service is not too bad, but the food is.

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What can you do?

Annabelle Allen
North Chattanooga

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Ms. Watkins' point is well taken, and I've heard this from other Krystal fans, too.

I think Krystal food has suffered greatly since the Davenport family sold the chain in the mid-'90s.

The burgers don't taste anything like they used to. Since childhood I craved their rich, beefy, steamed-onion flavor, but now Krystals don't taste like beef at all. I can only describe the taste as "un-beefy" and unsatisfying.

Also, I notice the color of the patty is gray rather than brown. What's the deal with that? When I cook beef, it turns brown. I've never been able to come up with a gray hamburger patty at home. Not that I would want to.

I used to order extra pickles on a Krystal, but now they're so sour I have to toss them and add my own hamburger dills. Personally, I think the only thing that tastes the same is the mustard.

Krystal used to have the best breakfast and coffee in town. That changed, too. They ditched their famous coffee blend, the grits are now like sawdust, and - worst of all - they bake instead of fry their sausage, which is why it never looks or tastes done.

When I want a Krystal hamburger these days, I drive to Murfreesboro for a sack of White Castles and add my own yellow mustard. Now that tastes like a Krystal!

I, too, would love to have the old Krystal back.

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J.D. Gibson
Chattanooga

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“The inside of the bun where the meat sits is a soggy, greasy, gooey mess….”

Sounds like the perfect Krystal to me. Maybe Krystal is trying to compete with White Castle, king of soggy.

Bon appétit.

Bill Fauth

* * *

Ever since I left Chattanooga seven years ago, I really do miss the Krystal. When I come home, I fly into Nashville and my first stop to Chattanooga is in Murfreesboro to the Krystal there. They make the best Krystals.

If I could afford it I would open her Krystal here in Omaha. You just can compare them to White Castles. My opinion is they have always been soggy and greasy.

Also the Krystals on Lee Highway always are fresh. That is my first stop if I fly into Chattanooga.

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Patty Shirley
bestfr1303@cox.net

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Mary Ann,

As a 58-year-old Chattanooga native, I suppose I am as much a Krystal expert as anyone. I remember riding the bus downtown with my mother on shopping trips back in the early 50's. For lunch we'd visit the Krystal. The famous burger was probably a dime back then. I'd get a plate of four and after wolfing them down, if mom didn't catch me first, I'd lick the spare mustard from the plate.

And since I've probably been in a Krystal restaurant a thousand times I can say that nothing at all has changed in the way they are prepared. You see the cook place the frozen meat patties on the grille. When cooked on one side, they flip them over and that cooked surface is wet with grease. Chopped onions are sprinkled over the top, then the bun, bottom side down, is placed over the meat. You bet that the delicious gooey mess is soaked up into the bun and steam from the continued cooking saturates the bun.

If you get a freshly cooked Krystal, I don't know how on earth it could be dry. And who'd want it that way?

For my vote, give me the steamed gooey delicious mess. Never had anything like it anywhere else, including White Castle.

Jim Holcomb
Harrison

* * *

The lack of quality at Krystal is just the continuation of the decline of service levels at all fast food chains.

The one question I have is how it is that Chick-Fil-A consistently comes through with an incredibly high level of service while the others just can't seem to figure it out? Is there some factor that Chick-Fil-A has that is missing in other fast food outlets?

Blake Dennard
dennardb@comcast.net

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* * *

I couldn't read about Krystal without jumping in.

I've been a Krystal fan as long as I can remember but I usually pass them by these days.

Whoever said the food was better when the Davenport family ran the company was absolutely right. I loved Krystal when you could get a wonderful hot breakfast (two over-medium, bacon, toast) served on a real plate with outstanding coffee in a white porcelain mug. The side of grits was delicious and creamy. Breakfast at the Krystal was as good as homemade, or better.

I understand the economics of switching to disposables, but I personally think food tastes better and is aesthetically more pleasing when served on a real plate.

The food quality has been dropping steadily for several years. Breakfast is now very 'fast food' in taste and appearance. Yes, they still operate the grill and flip their spatulas the same way, but they are not flipping or grilling the same products. Nowhere near. The beef patty no longer tastes beefy and the last time I ate a Krystal which was about three months ago, I found gristle in the patty. That shouldn't be. The cheese is also not as good as it used to be.

A bun cannot be 'dry' if it has been steamed. The little square, steamed bun is one of Krystal's trademarks but steamed shouldn't be confused with greasy. There is an unappetizing difference.

Krystal's chili used to be the best around and they usually threw in an extra package of oyster crackers. I especially loved Krystal chili during the cold winter months, and I say that in the past tense as it is very mediocre now. The last time I ordered chili, I wondered which casino they got those flat, plastic like discs they called oyster crackers from. Crackers should eventually sink and soak into the chili, but these appear to be made from an unsinkable material.

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Today, it seems the Krystal focus is on one advertising blitz after another. The market is constantly flooded with Krystal ads, which, by the way, are not as good as they used to be, either. But if they focused instead on food quality, they could rebuild a strong customer base of satisfied customers and we long-time Krystal lovers wouldn't be having this disparaging conversation at Chattanoogan.com.

S. Miller

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