Florida Guide > Dining
Cracker Barrel-Old Country Store
Cracker Barrel is quite unique as it is both a store and a restaurant, hence the name so you can shop, eat or do both. This is a country wide chain with various locations through out the Orlando area. They are easy to spot with the traditional country store wooden exteriors and rocking chairs lining the length of the porch. The Hinkle rocking chairs date back to the very first Cracker Barrel store and were put in place by the founder so his guests would have a place to sit and read the newspaper after eating a good meal.
All Cracker Barrel locations have exactly the same layout where you go through the store to reach the restaurant, the same products, namely old time American shopping and the same menus with slow cooked home-style American recipes. Products, displays and menus change with the seasons, with themed displays for Christmas, Easter, Halloween etc.
If you have to wait for your meal or maybe to just chat after your meal you can relax outside on the porch on the rocking chairs and take in a game of giant checkers or browse inside the store which is furnished with old advertising signs, farm equipment, early kitchen appliances, photos, and more. All the old toys, tools, utensils, signs, and advertisements are original and have been restored, many are unique to the individual stores surrounding area.
The store features clothing, cast iron pots and pans, scented candles, novelty items, collectible dolls, classic children’s toys and a great selection of old style chocolates and candies.
Open for breakfast, lunch or dinner this makes a great change for a place to eat out. Each dining table features the "Peg Game" a triangular-shaped, hand-made skill game which is another Cracker Barrel tradition. The menu is extensive and is made up of traditional items. A large selection of “made from scratch” roast beef, meatloaf, steak and chicken dishes are on the menu as are fish dinners such as Catfish and trout to try with sweet potato casserole or mash with baby carrots, turnip greens etc.
Every day they have a “Lunch Special” served from 11am, on a Friday it’s the Friday Fish Fry which consists of 4 hand cut cod fillets in crunchy batter served with chunky steak fries and coleslaw, this comes highly recommended and is nothing like typical UK fish and chips although if you ask they do actually have malt vinegar for the chips!
If you’re not too full after your main course check out the home-style desserts such as strawberry shortcake, fruit cobbler served with vanilla-bean ice cream, pecan pie or caramel apple pie the dessert menu changes regularly depending on the fruits in season but at around a $2-$3 each these are fantastic value and often the portions are large enough to share.
This is one of the few restaurants that opens for Thanksgiving lunch, we tried it and last year and it was lovely, good quality food at very reasonable prices (under $10 a head including a soft drink or coffee) but be warned they don’t take reservations so get there early and be prepared to wait as the place gets packed out!
If you want to try traditional home style food that is tasty, plentiful, served by friendly helpful people and that will defiantly not break the bank. Look no further than Cracker Barrel.
Author: Steve and Julie Roach
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