After opening its first spot in downtown Chattanooga eight decades ago, Krystal moves its corporate HQ to Atlanta this month. The fast-food chain known for steamy, onion-filled, square burgers is ubiquitous in the Southeast, where its nearly 400 restaurants are clustered. With the relo, Krystal brings the battle for brand loyalty directly to the home turf of that fast-food titan and symbol of Southernism, Chick-fil-A. Here’s how the dueling sandwich peddlers stack up.
|1967 (offshoot of Dwarf Grill, est. 1946)
|1,615 and counting
||380 and counting
|Closed on Sundays
|The place for post–kiddie soccer match outings—Saturday only (see above)
||The place for cheap and greasy postboozing snacks
|Popeyes in the South; KFC everywhere else in the world
||White Castle, primarily based in the Midwest and New York State
|The Chicken Sandwich
Serving size: 170g; Calories: 440; Total fat: 16g
||The Famous Krystal
Serving size: 65g; Calories: 130; Total fat: 6g
|Commercials starring spelling-challenged cows begging customers to “eat mor chikin” are among the decade’s most iconic ads.
||Spots from 2011 showed look-alike mascots from competitors such as Burger King and Wendy’s discreetly getting Krystal fixes.
|Tours of the home office in Atlanta are offered six times a week and include a chance to get close with those cows.
||Sharing the Love
||Starting in 2004, began inducting “most devoted customers” into the Krystal Lovers Hall of Fame. Inductees get their faces on 1 million burger boxes.
|In 2012 its Montgomery Plaza location in Fort Worth became the city’s first LEED Gold–certified restaurant.
||In 2003 launched the Krystal HotSpot; by 2005 was the largest fast-food free Wi-Fi provider
|Former presidential contender Mike Huckabee called for fan appreciation day after the company’s president caught flak for controversial remarks on gay marriage.
||Ronald Reagan once requested Krystal burgers on a flight from Chattanooga to D.C.