Florida Guide > Dining
Cracker Barrel Restaurant And Retail Store
For several years our only experience of Cracker Barrel was looking down on them as we passed exits on the I4 and wondered why their car parks were so full and there were always a lot of people sitting in rocking chairs outside. Our initial perception was that they were some kind of store and it wasn’t until friends in Alabama enlightened us that they also did great southern cooking that we decided to visit one.
Our first visit was at lunchtime to the newly opened store on the 192 near Splendid China. It took us ten minutes to persuade my Mother that there would be plenty of time to shop in the retail part of the store after we ate! However this did not stop her buying a Yankee Candle, a large scented candle in a jar which I must admit was very good value as they last for ages.
The girls were delighted because there were “peg games” on every table. These are a triangular shaped peg games not unlike solitaire, great for keeping the children happy whilst waiting for their food. We also bought one in the shop afterwards to take home with us.
The Menu, which is also available in also available in Braille, Large type (just as well as Dad had forgotten his glasses) or Spanish was very comprehensive and with so much choice it took us a while to decide. There were lots of old Southern favourites like Meatloaf, Chicken n Dumplings, Roast beef and plenty of country vegetables.
Both girls opted for the Kids menu, which had more choice than most, one had Homemade Chicken with Dumplings and the other Macaroni n Cheese, drinks were included with the meals.
I chose from the Sandwich Platter menu and ordered the Country Ham Platter which came on sourdough bread with coleslaw and I opted for the Steak Fries instead of the Cup of Soup. There is also a great selection of salads including several Chicken salads, BLT, Country Chef salad and Oven Roasted Turkey salad.
Dad ordered and really enjoyed the Meatloaf dinner which came with 3 vegetables and Buttermilk Biscuits whilst Mom chose one of their All day Breakfasts. I have yet to have a breakfast there because there are so many I find it impossible to choose but Mom (aptly?) chose the Old Timer’s breakfast. This included 2 eggs, Grits, Sawmill Gravy, Buttermilk biscuits plus Hashbrown Casserole and Thick sliced Bacon. Although she too enjoyed this she is still not sure that she likes grits!
Cracker Barrel have also recently introduced a Low Carb Lunch and Dinner menu but we have yet to try this.
Whilst we left Dad to pay and the girls to play with their peg games Mom and I went for some retail therapy in the store.
The store, which is designed like an old country store with antiques hanging from the ceilings has over 2000 gift items, gifts, housewares and children’s toys.
They have a great range of Books on Audio with prices from $12.99 - $48, these are great for long car journeys with children. You can purchase one at one store and return it to another and they will refund the purchase price minus $3.50 for each week you have had it. We did this and highly recommend it to others.
There is a Food section where they sell foods served in their restaurants including blackberry, peach and cherry cobbler fillings, coffee (we purchased some of this and it was delicious) fried apple slices, apple butter, sourdough bread and smoked country ham.
The girls appeared from nowhere as we got to the Candy section, we bought them old fashioned coconut bars whilst Grandad had pecan logs. They then left to wait for us outside at the front of the store with Grandad sitting in a Rocking Chair whilst the girls played Checkers with one of the sets provided for customers use. Both the Rocking Chairs (in 3 sizes one adult, two adult and child) and the Checkers can be purchased in the store.
The Games and Toys section has traditional games for both young and old and we purchased sets of pick up sticks for the girls Christmas stockings.
When Mom last visited at the end of August the Christmas stock was just coming in and she bought several lovely trinkets for her tree.
I really do recommend a visit to Cracker Barrel even if initially it is just to have a look at the store. The men can have a rest in the Rocking chairs whilst the children play games and the ladies browse, something for all the family!
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