Shove a burger into your face! At Krystal Jo’s Diner

Krystal Jo’s Diner is a hole-in-the-wall suitable for Food Network’s popular show, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. It may not look like much from the outside, but inside, you’ll find one of the best burgers in Genesee County. You can sit on an old-fashioned stool at the counter and watch owner Tony Tucker and cooks Shane Markle and Mike Scott flip burgers and work magic on the griddle. Tony bought the tiny Flint restaurant located on Fenton Road seven years ago when it was a breakfast place called Zora’s. He saw a “For Sale” sign in the window and the rest is history. “I’ve worked in restaurants ever since I was 14 years old,” Tony said, “and having my own place was what I always wanted to do.” So he took a chance, bought the place, and named it after his wife, Krystal Jo.

The menu is simple – hearty breakfasts, including mouth-watering omelets and skillet scrambles; big, juicy burgers, sandwiches, soup, and chili made from a secret family recipe. That’s right, there’s no room for dessert at Krystal Jo’s. The popular corned-beef hash is made from scratch and the French fries and hash browns are fresh cut. All meals are made to order with only fresh ingredients. Tony says the few salads on the menu are seldom ordered. “We are definitely a burger joint, and that’s what my customers want,” he said truthfully. “If you come in here to eat, you’ll not only get some good food, you’ll have a good experience.”

“The biscuits and sausage gravy are phenomenal!” Zachary Piercy

It’s all about the burgers at Krystal Jo’s. One of the most popular is the Jalapeno Burger, a quarter pound of beef topped with deep-fried jalapenos and onion hay, served with a spicy ranch dressing. “I came up with this one on a cold and rainy day at deer camp,” Tony laughed. He was inspired to create the Grilled Cheese Burger while watching an episode of Diners, Drivers and Dives. This is a quarter pound of beef with all the veggies you like, stuffed between two melty grilled cheese sandwiches! “I just had to have it on my menu,” he laughed. The king of all Krystal Jo’s burgers, however, is called the Barnyard Slaughter: a quarter pound of beef stacked with a fried chicken breast, bacon and a fried egg, and topped with two types of cheese.

The restaurant seats about 20 guests with four tables in the front. Most customers prefer to sit at the counter in the back to enjoy lively conversation, with much bantering between the patrons and the cooks. Customer Zachary Piercy was enjoying a burger at the counter when My City Magazine stopped by for a visit. “I love the breakfasts here!” he exclaimed. “The biscuits and sausage gravy are phenomenal.” His favorite burger is the Kielbasa Burger. “Exactly what I need: meat on top of meat,” he laughed. Another regular, Chuck Rossen, says the restaurant has been a great addition to the community. “We get to sit down and eat and get to know each other,” he said. “There’s no other place like it.”

Tony gives much credit for his success to his two employees. “I have fantastic help. Shane and Mike are two of the hardest-working dudes in town,” he said. But his customers are what he enjoys the most about owning a restaurant. “I absolutely love my job,” he smiled. “I am doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Flint has been good to me.” ♦

Photogrpahy By Mike Naddeo


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