19 Interesting FAQs About Cracker Barrel

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A Cracker Barrel location.
* Photo attribution at the bottom of the post

Cracker Barrel attracts many Americans with its cozy country atmosphere and delicious meals, but it has also sparked some controversy in recent years. You will probably struggle to find many companies with equally conflicting features out there.

But no matter what you think about Cracker Barrel, it does have plenty of interesting things up its sleeve. If you’re curious about what made Cracker Barrel so famous or what its name means, keep reading!

18 Interesting FAQs About Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel counter
Photo from Todd Hoosear on Flickr.

1. What does the term ‘Cracker Barrel’ mean?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary lists “cracker-barrel” as an adjective with the following definition – “suggestive of the friendly homespun character of a country store”.

According to Southern Living, the term “cracker-barrel” was first used in 1916. It was inspired by barrels full of soda crackers available for sale in American country stores. Customers would sit around the barrels, chatting about this and that, which is where the “friendly homespun character” comes from.

In regard to Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. specifically, its name and theme were influenced by its founder Dan Evins’ childhood recollections of country stores. The name and logo of Cracker Barrel mark the old country store tradition.

2. Cracker Barrel got sued because its name was ‘discriminatory'(!)

On a related note, a few years ago, Ryan Koch from Iowa launched a hoax petition on Change.org, demanding that Cracker Barrel change its name. Koch argued that the name “Cracker Barrel” contains a deeply offensive slur for those of European-American heritage: “cracker”.

And actually, you may not know this, but the roots of “cracker” as a slur go back to the 16th or 17th centuries. This word was used to describe Scots-Irish people who came to the Americas. This is likely where Koch’s “complaints” came from.

But in the end, Koch revealed that the petition was a satire meant to poke at “how ridiculous and out of hand political correctness is in America”. Take the petition any way you want, but we’re guessing most customers love Cracker Barrel’s name 🙂

3. What is Cracker Barrel famous for?

There are countless things Cracker Barrel has built its name upon, but according to Mashed, here’s why the company is so successful:

  • It has a presence in 45 states. Cracker Barrel is particularly popular among travelers, who make up 40% of their business.
  • It serves perhaps the most delicious hashbrown casserole and biscuits.
  • It sells not only food items but also rocking chairs, cookware, and apparel.
  • Every table at Cracker Barrel restaurants has a peg game, providing customers with a fun way to pass their time.
  • The iconic Chicken n’ Dumplins may not be particularly healthy, but they are certainly popular! This delicious dish hits 11 million orders annually!
  • Rocking chairs, Americana antiques, and the tasteful interior make sure that you don’t get bored while waiting for a table.
  • Most food ingredients are sourced in the United States.
  • Prices are wallet-friendly.
  • No matter your age, you will find something interesting at Cracker Barrel, whether it be a new favorite dish or an exciting board game. The country vibe will particularly appeal to seniors!

Cracker Barrel has also been focus of lawsuits alleging racial, sexual, and LGBTQ discrimination and harassment, among other things. Perhaps as a result, in recent years, Cracker Barrel has engaged in ample touting of it’s “support for diversity”.

4. How many Cracker Barrels are there in the US?

Cracker Barrel locations example screenshot
Courtesy of Google Maps.

As of late 2020, there were 663 Cracker Barrel establishments in the United States. The number of Cracker Barrel locations has quite slowly but steadily grown over the past decade – in 2011, there were 583 locations across the US!

5. Is Cracker Barrel in all 50 states?

Cracker Barrel is present in 45 states and territories and 567 cities. Florida has the highest number of locations – 60 – followed by Texas (53) and Tennessee (51).

As for the states and territories without Cracker Barrel, those are:

  • Alaska.
  • American Samoa.
  • District of Columbia.
  • Guam.
  • Hawaii.
  • The Northern Mariana Islands.
  • Puerto Rico.
  • U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Vermont.
  • Washington.
  • Wyoming.

Image: States without a Cracker Barrel

6. Does Cracker Barrel allow overnight parking?

A parked RV at nighttime.

If you like RVing and flipping burgers with your FlipFork in the bosom of nature, you may be wondering if Cracker Barrel allows overnight parking.

Well, most Cracker Barrel locations do allow overnight parking. Besides, Cracker Barrels usually have parking spots large enough for 40 feet buses and RVs.

Overnight parking policies may vary between locations, however, so if you are looking for a place to spend your night, you may want to clarify details before you arrive.

7. Does Cracker Barrel hire felons?

Cracker Barrel reviews applications on a case-by-case basis, and they do appear to hire felons. But it goes without saying that you need to have stellar skills to be able to land a job at Cracker Barrel with a criminal history. Factors like the specific felony conviction and how long ago one has completed their sentence may be important too.

8. Does Cracker Barrel accept AARP discounts?

No, Cracker Barrel doesn’t seem to offer any special discounts for AARP members. You may want to ask your nearby Cracker Barrel anyway since terms may vary from location to location.

9. Does Cracker Barrel have a senior discount?

Grandparents with their grandkids.

We’ve had an in-depth look into the senior discount policy of Cracker Barrel recently – and unfortunately the company doesn’t have any official senior discounts. Cracker Barrel used to have a senior menu, but not anymore.

However, there are other ways for you to save money with Cracker Barrel – we’ve talked about them in our guide which you can find here.

10. Does Cracker Barrel have any other discounts?

According to Cracker Barrel’s FAQ webpage, the company doesn’t offer coupons or discounts to guests in order “to provide food and merchandise of the highest quality and value for the money”.

However, Cracker Barrel does offer discounts for bulk or corporate purchases of more than $1,000. Plus, the chain sometimes runs promotions – keep an eye on the Cracker Barrel website to stay informed.

11. Does Cracker Barrel allow open carry?

A person carrying a holstered handgun.

Cracker Barrel doesn’t seem to have an official firearm policy, but they reportedly don’t allow open carry. In 2016, a Dalton, Georgia man was asked to leave a Cracker Barrel restaurant when managers spotted his handgun.

So unless you are a law enforcement officer, security guard, or uniformed serviceman, Cracker Barrel won’t allow you on its property while engaging in open carry.

This has angered many Second Amendment supporters, and it is yet to be seen whether Cracker Barrel will change its policy.

12. One American couple visited over 640 different Cracker Barrel locations!

Yoders - Xavier Smith / Lebanon Democrat
Photo courtesy of Xavier Smith / Lebanon Democrat.

According to this article, a U.S. couple named Ray and Wilma Yoder visited over 640 different Cracker Barrel restaurants!

Their quest was completed over a 40 year span and was facilitated as part of 5 million miles of driving, but at the time of the article in question they were about to visit the final location on their list, #645 in Oregon!

The best part? They claim they never had bad service or a bad experience at a single location!

 

13. What you should never order at Cracker Barrel?

There is no doubt you can find some delectable dishes at Cracker Barrel, but some of them aren’t exactly diet food… Here’s what you should NOT order at Cracker Barrel if you’re trying to lose weight, at least according to Mashed:

  • Fresh Fruit N’ Yogurt Parfait Breakfast.
  • Fried Chicken Salad.
  • Sunday Homestyle Chicken.
  • Pecan Pancakes.
  • Momma’s Pancake Breakfast.
  • Grandpa’s Country-Fried Breakfast.
  • Country-fried Shrimp.
  • Chicken n’ Dumplins.
  • Macaroni N’ Cheese.
  • Sweet iced tea.
  • Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake.
  • Dumplins.

These items contain large amounts of fat, sugar, and calories. They are probably fine every once in a while, but if eaten daily they could add some belt loops onto your middle 🙂

You could, of course, have a Dumplin frenzy, if you counterbalance it with a strict home eating regimen, and lots of healthy homemade food like that described in The Fat-Burning Kitchen 🙂

14. What is the best meal at Cracker Barrel?

It goes without saying that “best” is subjective – some are going to like their meals meatier, while others will prefer to stick to veggies.

If you are not sure where to start, Eat This, Not That! shares its selection of the best menu items at Cracker Barrel:

  • Breakfast. Good Morning Breakfast, Egg-in-the-Basket, Apple n’ Cinnamon Oatmeal, and Fresh Apple Slices.
  • Entrees. Grilled Pork Chop.
  • Burgers & sandwiches. Open-Faced Roast Beef Sandwich.
  • Salads. House Salad.
  • Sides. Fresh Steamed Broccoli.
  • Desserts. Blackberry or Peach Cobbler.

15. Is there anything healthy at Cracker Barrel?

A delicious-looking serving of salad.

A delicious meal isn’t necessarily a healthy meal. On the contrary – healthy food items very often are bland and displeasing for our taste buds.

But if you are committed to keeping your nutrition plan healthy, here are a few healthy Cracker Barrel food suggestions from Verywell:

  • Breakfast. Apple n’ Cinnamon Oatmeal.
  • Sandwiches and burger platters. Open-Faced Roast Beef Sandwich.
  • Salads. Homestyle Chicken Salad with Smoky Southern Grilled Chicken Breast (without dressing).
  • Soups. Vegetable soup.
  • Entrees. U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish Fillet.
  • Sides and specialties. Steamed Broccoli.
  • Kid’s meals. Kid’s Grilled Chicken Tenderloins.
  • Desserts. Fresh Seasonal Fruit.
  • Beverages. Water (quite expectably), but Unsweetened Iced Tea is great too.

Verywell also lists a few diet-specific options, starting with gluten-free dishes:

  • Baked Potato with Butter and Sour Cream.
  • Country Vegetable Plate.
  • Eggs, Egg Whites, Egg Beaters.
  • Fresh Seasonal Fruit.
  • House Salad (without croutons).

Good low-carb menu items include:

  • Chicken or Noodle Soup (cup variety).
  • Grilled Sirloin Steak.
  • Lemon Pepper Grilled Rainbow Trout.
  • Two Eggs/Whites with Turkey Sausage.
  • Wholesome Fixin’s Vegetable Platter.

If you have diabetes, then consider:

  • Country Morning Breakfast.
  • Country Vegetable Plate.
  • Hamburger Steak.
  • Lemon Pepper Grilled Rainbow Trout.
  • Roast Beef.
  • Spicy Grilled Catfish.

Low-fat dishes include:

  • Apple n’ Cinnamon Oatmeal.
  • Grilled Chicken Tenderloins (from Kid’s Menu).
  • Scrambled Egg Whites.
  • Sweet Whole Baby Carrots.
  • Vegetable Soup.

If you want low-sodium meals, have a look at:

  • Baked Sweet or White Potato.
  • Broccoli.
  • Grilled Sirloin Steak.
  • Grits.
  • Hamburger (from Kid’s Menu).

If you are vegan, then you may request a salad with no dressing, cheese, meat, eggs, or other non-vegan ingredients. Vegetarians, in the meantime, have more options:

  • Applesauce or apple slices.
  • Baked Sweet or White Potato (without dairy-based toppings).
  • Oatmeal.
  • Tossed Salad (without croutons).
  • Yogurt & Granola.

16. Does Cracker Barrel have a secret menu?

Cracker Barrel staff will make a milkshake for you even though milkshakes are not on the menu, according to Eat This, Not That!.

Aside from that, Amelia Frazier, a former server at Cracker Barrel, says on Quora that Cracker Barrel has “hidden items” that are no longer listed on the menu but can be ordered.

Besides, Frazier writes that the Country Boy Breakfast comes with unlimited hashbrown casserole, although the menu doesn’t say this. Likewise, “Traditional Favorites” items include unlimited biscuits, gravy, and grits.

And if you order a meal, then extra bread, biscuits, and cornbread are free as well.

With all that said, take this info with a bucket of salt because Cracker Barrel may refuse to serve anything that is not on the menu. Asking won’t hurt though, so make sure to inquire about items like the ones listed earlier.

17. Do they serve alcohol at Cracker Barrel?

A bar with beverages.

Cracker Barrel started serving alcohol in 2020 – for the very first time in its 51-year history.

The chain had begun testing the concept before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, Cracker Barrel added mimosas, beer, and wine in test locations in Florida, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Having received overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers, Cracker Barrel decided to make alcohol a permanent component of its menu.

18. Does Cracker Barrel microwave their food?

Cracker Barrel generally doesn’t cook food in microwaves. However, microwaves may be used when the restaurant is running low on baked potatoes, for example, and needs to make some in a hurry.

Also, Cracker Barrel seems to make much of its food in-house, though things like eggs can come to the restaurant pre-cooked or frozen.

19. Does Cracker Barrel still sell rocking chairs?

A rocking chair near a window.

At the moment of this post’s writing, Cracker Barrel was still selling rocking chairs. In fact, Cracker Barrel buys a whopping 200,000 rocking chairs annually from the Hinkle family in Springfield, TN, for resale!

Cracker Barrel sells wicker, wooden, and even log wooden chairs. Some of the chairs are intended to be used outdoors in any weather as well.

 

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed these interesting facts about Cracker Barrel! If you have anyone in your life who is a massive Cracker Barrel fan, make sure to share this article with them on social media!

Even better, you could go eat at a Cracker Barrel right now!

 

 

*Photo by Michael Rivera on Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International. Resized and cropped from original.
All other photos are from Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay and are copyright-free.

 

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