Max is Sweden’s favourite fast food chain, more profitable in the country than McDonald’s or Burger King, serving the usual fare of hamburgers, chicken bits, fries, and milkshakes but emphasising its national heritage and regularly topping taste tests. Swedish music only is played in Max restaurants, while the chain has taken a lead in the sector when it comes to healthy options, courtesy of its extensive Delifresh menu, and environmental sustainability, in 2013 offsetting 100% of its climate impact via the planting of more than 700,000 trees across Africa.
Today Max can boast 120 restaurants worldwide, the vast majority of which spread out over Sweden, with a smattering in Norway, Denmark, and the United Arab Emirates. But the chain’s roots are firmly in the north of the country, with founders Curt Bergfors and Britta Andersson opening their first restaurant in Gällivare, 100 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, all the way back in 1968.
The Gällivare restaurant was called X-grillen. Bergfors and Andersson’s food soon hit the spot among hungry northerners, so the following year they opened a second outlet, this time in Skellefteå, along Mackvägen road in Sörböle. Called Krysset (‘The X’ or ‘The Cross’), this restaurant has remained remarkably popular ever since, retaining its name and standing surreptitiously as the oldest Max in existence.
For the people of Skellefteå, Krysset is more than an institution, the site of a fond mutual sentiment which cannot be shared for the church, the hockey team, or the peculiarly reproductive fountain which shows erect in the main square. Along with a Frasses and a branded Max on a main junction close to the city centre, Krysset was partly responsible for ousting McDonald’s from Skellefteå in 2007, when the American company witnessed loitering youths but a shortage of real customers. Most importantly, the food at Krysset remains good, enticing people repeat eaters with the buremål, skravmål, and more.
All alas until now, because on Thursday evening Krysset burned to the ground. The restaurant’s kitchen operated out of what was essentially a hole in the wall of an adjacent Gulf petrol station, and a fire developed – apparently between the two parts of the premises – which quickly engulfed the building in flames. Amidst heavy smoke, locals in Anderstorp were advised to keep their windows closed, but nobody was harmed. After the alarm sounded at 6.44 pm, emergency services arrived and brought the blaze under control before leaving shortly after 11 pm.
Many took to social media to lament the loss, but on Friday morning Fredrika Fredmark, the manager of press relations at Max, vowed that Krysset would rise again. The iconic restaurant will be rebuilt, and in the meantime a mobile kitchen is being sent to Skellefteå to provide the locals with plenty burgers to last the weekend.
* * *