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Restaurant Review

August 30, 2017

 

 

In keeping with my desire to always focus on the important issues of the day, like North Korea’s missile launches, Trump’s disregard for our country’s time-honored institutions and Hurricane Harvey, today I bring you another important post, one sure to impact your life.

 

Mrs. Chatterbox and I are fans of the TV show Better Call Saul. Last season there was a funny episode where Jimmy (Saul Goodman) is instructing his dour legal secretary on how to talk to senior citizens, Jimmy’s bread and butter. When potential clients call, Jimmy tells his secretary to sound as “folksy” as possible and always, always, work The Cracker Barrel Restaurant into the conversation. According to Jimmy, senior citizens love The Cracker Barrel, particularly their trademark biscuits and gravy.

 

I’m thinking about this scene because they’re building a Cracker Barrel Restaurant a few blocks from where we live. Having never eaten at one, I was curious. Mrs. C. mentioned there was one in a nearby town, and on Sunday morning we made the trip to see what this restaurant was all about.

 

Walking into the restaurant, we crossed over a large porch with several dozen rocking chairs. I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to sit on these rockers since they had price tags and were being offered for sale. Inside the entry was a gift shop selling country-themed items, candles, shawls, cowboy hats and such.

 

As we were seated, I noticed several camera crews filming an elderly couple at a table nearby. According to our waitress, the couple had been to every Cracker Barrel Restaurant in the country except for this one, which they were now crossing off their list. It must have been a slow news day.

 

The restaurant was clean and the décor interesting, with walls covered in antiques and collectibles. I wouldn’t want to dust everything. The food was acceptable, although uninspired, although I don’t generally look for inspiration in my breakfast food. The menu was heavy on starch—cheesy hash browns that didn’t need cheese, trademark biscuits and gravy that I didn’t want but came with my entrée anyway, and baked apple slices with cinnamon. I’m a hearty meat eater and I ordered a breakfast that should have satisfied any carnivore, but I received a small sausage patty and a morsel of ham so small it was hidden beneath a bacon strip. Mrs. Chatterbox ordered pecan pancakes and she was pleased with them.

 

The service was good, perhaps too good. A waitress came by every four minutes asking if we wanted more coffee, even when our cups were full. I would have preferred less attention but I won’t criticize a restaurant trying to give excellent service.

 

All in all, the Cracker Barrel ranks alongside IHOP and Golden Corral, nothing bad but nothing special. I doubt we’ll go back, but if I ever need to entertain a senior citizen I’ll treat them to a bland but palatable meal at The Cracker Barrel.

 

 

 

 

Have you visited one in your neck of the woods? Did you enjoy it?

 

 

Note: Mrs. C. just reminded me that we are senior citizens.

 

 

 

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Comments

24 Comments
It doesn't sound like the kind of restaurant I would like, but then I didn't grow up with that kind of food.
By: Jenny Woolf on August 30, 2017
Crackerbarrel restaurant s are a staple of the south/Midwest. The food is down home cooking. My mom being from the South familiarized her children with Southern cooking. Needless to say, I love to eat there, but, I will admit there is not much low cal on the menu besides maybe a salad. Maybe it's the store that I like the best even though I rarely have bought. I'm sorry your experience was not that enjoyable, but as for me, I will be back....
By: Linda on August 30, 2017
I've been to Cracker Barrels a few times but I'm not a huge fan of them. The one in Louisville, KY I regretted not ordering cheese grits with my catfish because they don't have t hose in the Michigan locations.
By: PT Dilloway on August 30, 2017
Are they going to have to change the name? Cracker Barrel is not Politically Correct.
By: Agent 54 on August 30, 2017
eeek I ate at one ONCE in Birmingham Alabama...not my choice of food. We also ate at the restaurant that serves fried green tomatoes....that was a delicious meal! Cheers!
By: Kathe W. on August 30, 2017
Ooh - I love their French Toast & Chicken & Dumplings (um, those are two different things). But I must admit that when I went after a few years of healthy eating I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I did in years past.
By: The Bug on August 30, 2017
Never heard of this restaurant chain. However, you comparisons to similar type restaurants did help.
By: Daniel LaFrance on August 30, 2017
I ate at a Cracker Barrel once, and it was pretty awful. I won't ever be going back. It's just a weird place.
By: Michael Offutt on August 30, 2017
We don't have a Cracker Barrel close to us but love stopping there when we travel, their breakfasts are perfect and one thing I always order is fried chicken livers. Needless to say we have been to Cracker Barrel in several states and love them all.
By: Jimmy on August 30, 2017
I've dined at my share, but it's been quite awhile. I eat plant-based now and that's harder to do there. I saw a news report about that couple when they only had one to go. How odd that you saw the moment of completion! I wonder if they'll have to keep on as new franchises are opened?
By: Kelly on August 30, 2017
I could see my in laws going to this place because they liked Country music and the typical "antiques" one would see in a country style restaurant. I know my mom would not be impressed. She would immediately be looking at all the dust that had accumulated on all the items (I am certain they have not been dusted but I hope you will say I am wrong). She would not like the food as she hates cheese on stuff. I don't know if she would care for the biscuits in gravy and she hates cinnamon (I know she is a bit weird there). In our land here, The Mandarin is the place the older people love to go but so do the younger people and the middle-aged. One thing the older crowds love are usually tablecloths and brightness. My mom hated a place that was always dark
By: Birgit on August 30, 2017
I'm shocked that this was your first visit to a Cracker Barrel. They're all over the place in this part of the country, perhaps because of the heavy concentration of senior citizens. Willy Dunne Wooters likes to eat there occasionally. They serve breakfast any time of day, and that's what he likes. The last time I was there I had a salad that was pretty good. I saw the story about the people who were going to visit their last Cracker Barrel. Whatever. I'm not going to travel the country visiting Cracker Barrels, but at least I know when I see one that it will be the same as all other Cracker Barrels. No surprises. Never had bad service. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on August 30, 2017
It has been ages and I can't remember so that means it wasn't bad nor memorable--just all right. Kind of feel badly for the couple who completed their quest--now what.
By: Arkansas Patti on August 30, 2017
There's one not far from here. I think I've been twice in my whole life. My sister the ex-mayor's wife loves Cracker Barrel, but I thought the food tasted like it came out of a can, or was pre-cooked. Not a favorite, but if other people vote to eat there, I'll order a plate.
By: Val on August 30, 2017
I've been to a couple, mainly because the people I was with wanted to, and I was outvoted. I call it "Crapper Barrel"....needless to say I'm not a big fan. If their biscuits and gravy are their signature dish, they're in big trouble. It barely ranks as "mediocre". I would go back to one to be courteous to a group I was with, but on my own, NEVER!
By: scott park on August 30, 2017
Mrs c was faster than me. I was going to remind you of your status. Many chains have a set pattern that's pretty bland.
By: red Kline on August 30, 2017
They cook the way Sweetie's mama cooked, and the way i mostly cook for him now. It's down home and we used to stop every time we were on vacation. Sweetie and Brother-in-Law, The Mouth, go once in a while.
By: messymimi on August 30, 2017
I have never been to a Cracker Barrel! That yellow-fake-cheesy color in their signs (and in their cheese) always put me off.
By: Mitchell is Moving on August 31, 2017
I have eaten in a few (I think I even blogged about it a long time ago). Not my favorite but I don't go hungry there. I just hate having to wait for a table in a trinket shop!
By: Sage on August 31, 2017
I was very disappointed with The Cracker Barrel Arlynda and I ate at here in town several years ago. It was generally all-right, but I had some very high expectations after hearing about what a wonderful place it was. We did like the decor, though.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on August 31, 2017
Before we left the midwest we visited the Cracker Barrel on several occasions. It was close to an Interstate Highway exchange and made it convenient for relatives facing a drive home. It was equal distance. It was a favorite of my parents so we were there occasionally. And when I was on the road with a news crew it was a known commodity with an interesting menu. They used to have a rosin baked potato that I was fond of. Been a while since I've been in one.
By: TomCochrun on August 31, 2017
Yup, I've been to our local Cracker Barrel a couple of times but never was really satisfied. We also have IHOP and Denny's and there's a Golden Corral over in Prescott. I'll take IHOP or Denny's over Cracker Barrel for breakfast and we haven't been to the Corral in years.
By: Catalyst on August 31, 2017
No I've never eaten in one and from your review, I don't think I'd want to. I have eaten in ihop and it's fine in a fast food kinda way.
By: Llcooljoe on September 1, 2017
We've been to a few Cracker Barrels (they are convenient when traveling), but we always come away a bit underwhelmed. Cracker Barrel will always stick in my mind as the ONLY restaurant where my husband once got food poisoning. It was awful...I had to drive the car the entire time from West Virginia to South Carolina!
By: Pixel Peeper on September 3, 2017

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