Country Cookin’ Cracker Barrel Style
In 1969, Dan Evins opened the first Cracker Barrel restaurant in Lebanon, Tenn.
Now, a little more than four decades later, there are more than 600 Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores (its official name) located in 42 states.
The newest Cracker Barrel opened this week in Boone at the former site of the Mountain House Restaurant on Blowing Rock Road, across the street from K-Mart.
The restaurant hired more than 150 local residents to work as cooks, servers, cashiers, hosts and other positions.
Cracker Barrel is famous for its wide variety of breakfast items and combinations, offered any time of day.
The popular Sunrise Sampler includes two eggs cooked to order with grits, sawmill gravy, homemade buttermilk biscuits, fried apples and hash-brown casserole, plus a sampling of smoked sausage, country ham and thick-sliced bacon.
The Wholesome Mornin’ Sampler features a mix of low-fat vanilla yogurt, seasonal fruit topped with honey oat granola mix with almonds and dried fruit, two eggs, blueberry or apple bran muffin, and a choice of smoked sausage patties, turkey sausage patties or thick-sliced bacon.
The restaurant also offers a wide selection of pancake options, such as pecan pancakes, blueberry pancakes or buttermilk pancakes topped with apples, blackberries, peaches or cherries. The kitchen also makes French toast from its own freshly baked sourdough loaves.
For those looking to cut down on their carbohydrate intake during breakfast, Cracker Barrel offers low carb options, such as “Eggs ‘n’ Meat,” a dish featuring three eggs, choice of bacon or sausage and sliced tomatoes.
There are also healthy choices on the “Tasty Alternatives” menu, such as Egg Beaters, turkey sausage, sugar free syrup, Promise (butter substitute) spread and low-fat fruit spread.
Lunch & Dinner
If you’re one of those diners who feel that eggs, bacon and pancakes are best served during the hours that end in “a.m.,” then you’ll be pleased to learn about the large selection of lunch and dinner items at Cracker Barrel.
Daily lunch special begin at 11 a.m., cost $5.99, and are served while they last. They include baked chicken and dressing with choice of one vegetable (Monday), meatloaf and mashed potato with choice of vegetable (Tuesday), chicken pot pie (Wednesday), and turkey and dressing with choice of vegetable (Thursday).
Monday through Friday, the restaurant offers the country house salad with choice of baked potato or cup of soup for $5.99.
Country dinner plates are $7.59 and include your choice of meat and two vegetables, plus buttermilk biscuits or corn muffins. The meat choices include fried chicken livers, sugar cured ham, fried or grilled chicken tenderloin, grilled pork chop, half-pound hamburger steak, hickory smoked pork barbecue or country ham, lemon pepper grilled rainbow trout, homemade beef stew and deep-fried or spicy grilled catfish fillet.
Vegetable choices include whole kernel corn, fried apples, macaroni and cheese, apple sauce, pinto beans, dumplings, turnip greens, coleslaw, steak fries, green beans, mashed potatoes, breaded fried okra, sweet potato casserole, hash-brown casserole and sweet whole baby carrots. There are also “vegetable of the day” selections based on availability and season.
The Cracker Barrel menu is clear about the fact that some of its offerings, such as turnip greens, green beans, corn muffins, hash-brown casserole and pinto beans, are made “the old-fashioned way,” using meat seasonings and are not strictly vegetarian.
The Cracker Barrel menu offers a large selection of low-carb items, such as grilled chicken tenderloin, grilled steak salad, grilled trout, chef salad and other meals.
If you are craving something tasty between two slices of bread, Cracker Barrel also features lunch and dinner items, such as the grilled Reuben platter, chicken BLT, half-pound bacon cheeseburger and open-faced roast beef sandwich. All are served with a side of coleslaw and your choice of either steak fries or a cup of soup.
Both the breakfast and dinner menus offer a wide selection of kids’ menu items, such as chicken tenderloin plate, mac and cheese plate, cereal and milk, grilled cheese sandwich, fried shrimp plate and others.
All of the menu items at Cracker Barrel are available for takeout. They even feature the “Country-Sized Meal to Go,” a complete meal for six people that includes your choice of chicken and dumplings, meatloaf or roast beef, served with three sides plus a baker’s dozen (13) of buttermilk biscuits, corn muffins or sourdough rolls, all for $49.99.
All Cracker Barrel restaurants feature the chain’s famous country store. Love the fried apples you just ate as a side dish? Take a jar home with you. Other signature items in the store include Cracker Barrel Coffee (regular or decaf), grits, country ham, buttermilk pancake mix and pure natural syrup.
The Country Store also has non-edible items, such as the classic peg game that is found on the restaurant’s tables and other old-fashioned games.
Cracker Barrel goes out of its way to make its restaurants easily accessible to everyone. Braille and large type menus are available, as are menus in Spanish. At its country store, all items are available to be shipped to the customers home address so they don’t have to haul them around during their vacation, and the store also offers complimentary gift wrapping.
Got restaurant news? Email editor Frank Ruggiero at (email@example.com) or call (828) 264-6397.