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Legendary Mississippi Delta restaurant closing its doors after 88 years

On Tuesday evening, owners of The Crystal Grill in Greenwood announced the doors of the 88-year-old restaurant would be closing effective immediately (Photo from The Crystal Grill/Facebook)

Just shy of 90 years in operation, a famous restaurant in the Mississippi Delta is shutting down.

Owners of The Crystal Grill, an Italian-Greek-American joint that opened its doors in Greenwood in 1936, announced on social media Tuesday evening that those doors were closing for good.

“With careful thought and a heavy heart, we are announcing that our family restaurant, The Crystal Grill, is closing. After many years, we have made this hard decision to close our doors effective immediately,” Johnny and Beverly Ballas wrote on Facebook.

The Ballases went on to thank “loyal” customers and employees who have helped keep the nationally recognized restaurant in business for 88 years. On July 1, The Crystal Grill closed for summer vacation and was set to reopen on July 11, but those plans were changed with the latest announcement.

“We are very grateful to our loyal employees throughout the years. Our success couldn’t have happened without your hard work,” the post continued. “Most of all, we are thankful to our customers in Greenwood and beyond. We enjoyed being a part of your lives as you gathered and celebrated throughout the years. Your belief in us has played a huge part in the success of the restaurant.”

The Crystal Grill was best known for its desserts, especially lemon icebox pie, mile-high meringue, and coconut cream pie (Photo from The Crystal Grill/Facebook)

Often grouped in the same category as Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville and Lusco’s, also in Greenwood, as some of the Delta’s top restaurants, The Crystal Grill attracted millions of locals and tourists alike over the years – people looking for good food.

In 2016, a New York Times food columnist traveled south to explore the “delicacies of the Mississippi Delta” and highlighted The Crystal Grill for its must-have desserts and more.

“For a town whose population has fallen below 16,000, it’s somewhat fanciful to think a restaurant would ever need to seat 250 people, yet the Crystal Grill has that capacity and has filled the seats for more than 80 years,” Phil McCausland wrote. “They also have pie – its impressive ‘mile-high’ meringue served atop chocolate or lemon filling has become the restaurant’s signature.”

This wasn’t the first and surely wasn’t the last time someone traveled over 1,000 miles to visit The Crystal Grill. Unfortunately, though, there will now only be memories to reflect on as the legendary restaurant also known for its chicken and seafood dishes will certainly be missed.

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