Established as a restaurant in 1933 (before that, it was a corner grocery store), the Crystal Beer Parlor is a Savannah landmark. It’s an upbeat, boisterous place that has a full bar and features a large inventory of local craft beers. (“Beer: It’s Our Middle Name”) It also is a family-friendly restaurant and a favorite place for business lunch and dinner dates.
The menu is extensive, its highlights including half-pound burgers made of ground chuck, lightly-breaded and expertly seasoned fried seafood, Greek-accented pita pizzas and gyro tacos, and such awe-inspiring desserts as fried pound cake and a huge peach cobbler a la mode. Root beer floats come in two parts: a mug full of ice cream and a bottle of Abita Springs root beer. Pour it yourself … and beware the foaming head!
While the burger itself can be boring, some of its iterations sing. Like the brown ale burger topped with jalapeno cream cheese and bacon; and the extra-savory lamb burger that mixes beef and lamb with tzatziki sauce. Whatever burger you get, do pay extra for onion rings. They are big, lightweight hoops with crisp skin and sweet, tender onion inside. Another must-eat side dish is Ocilla slaw — a longtime Georgia-coast favorite that is made with tangy-sweet marinade rather than more heat-sensitive mayonnaise. (Mayo-based slaw also is available.)
A large portion of the menu is devoted to suggestions for people with food allergies. These include gluten-free options, dairy-free options, soy-free options, egg-free options. shellfish-free options, and, of course, plenty of vegetarian options.