Dozens braved nearly freezing temperatures to camp out and be among the first in line last Thursday morning as Krystal opened for business in Dawson County.
“We got here at noon yesterday,” said Bobby Brown, a Dahlonega resident who pitched his tent next to the front door 23 hours before the 10 a.m. grand opening celebration. “We wanted to be first in line, so this was pretty exciting.”
Brown spent the evening huddled with friends Jon McBrayer and Jennifer Browning, trying to keep warm as the weather dipped close to freezing.
“The wind chill at 4 a.m. was 10 degrees, and boy, it felt like it,” McBrayer said.
Krystal announced earlier in the week that the first 50 customers would receive vouchers for free hamburgers for a year.
Miki and Jim Petrella, who were third and fourth in line, said the lure of free food brought out the crazy in them.
“We’d never done anything like this. Everyone kept telling us we were crazy,” Miki Petrella said.
The couple and a few friends arrived early and set up camp next to an outdoor electrical outlet.
“We had blankets, heat, our dog and our laptops, so we watched movies,” Jim Petrella said. “It wasn’t bad. I actually slept pretty good.”
Christian Allen of Dawsonville wasn’t as prepared for a night outside in the elements, but he also wasn’t going to let a little cold ruin his chance for the free burgers.
“I had just fixed my truck and was riding around, and I got a call saying I could win free burgers for a year if I came here and stayed,” he said. “So that’s what I did.”
After the promotion winners filed through the restaurant, Krystal officially opened to a crowd of anxious paying customers.
Walking in with a smile across his young face, David Brouillette of Dawsonville ordered a couple of the eatery’s signature chicken sandwiches.
“He wanted to be first in line,” said dad Chris Brouillette, a truck driver. “I home school him and he travels all over the country with me, and we always eat at Krystal.”
The youngster said he’s excited to now have his favorite restaurant so close to home.