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Cracker Barrel

The city I live in is over runned by chain places and is getting another one.....Crackel Barrel. I looked at their menu online and their blueberry pancakes and chicken and dumplings interest me. Has anybody tried them and are they any good? Thanks

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  1. I won't put down CB as one of the most obvious chains on the board. :) Actually, if you're in that mood, and on the interstate, it will most definitley suffice. I have had their chicken and dumplings, and they are "chicken and dumplings". You won't need to stop for another 400 miles... I like CB when I say, "Let's just stop at CB." You won't leave disappointed, you won't leave hungry, and you'll probably move onto the next leg of your trip, happy and full...I can't comment on their pancakes, but I'm sure they do the trick as well. As far as service goes, I've never had an unfriendly waiter...but then again, check for the stars.:)

    1. i havent had the blueberry pancakes. but i had their french toast. it was so much that i couldnt finish it. love the little individual bottles of syrup. my sister got the strawberry topping for her pancakes and loved them.

      but what is with the stars on the aprons? i noticed them the last time i was there and didnt get a chance to ask my server.

      8 Replies
      1. re: vttp926

        I've been wondering about the stars, too. We don't have a CB close to us, but I like the chain. Mostly because I'm a displaced Southerner who occasionally wants to have grits or fried okra without people looking at her like she's lost her mind.

        1. re: AlyKen

          I'm 99% sure the stars have to do with how long they've worked for CB-i think each star represents a year, but not exactly sure...

          1. re: rachelnyc

            The stars represent levels of training. It's not exactly based on time. I think for the first one you only have to work there 60 days and pass a short written test. If memory serves, to get the higher ones you have to demonstrate more complicated skills and pass other tests.

            I worked there two summers in college and got one star, but didn't try for the others. It does increase your pay if you get them.

            While working there, I was pretty impressed with their food. Almost everything is made from scratch. Their standards are the best - fried catfish, pot roast, chicken&dumplings, etc. Also very good grilled chicken sandwiches on sourdough.

            1. re: hufferc

              Almost....the stars go by PAR level (Personal Achievement Recognition) You start at PAR 0(or rising star) can get up to 4 stars and then get a maroon apron to show that you are skilled enough to train new workers. Chances are that if you gt a server with a 4 stars and a trainer apron they have been there for atleast 3 years. Anyways, you start at Rising star and when you are there for one month you get a star (PAR 1) 3 Months after getting your 1st star you PAR test to get your 2nd star. After that Par 3 is 3 months after the 2nd star and PAR 4 is 4 months after the 3rd star.. Every star you get a raise, but to go up a star you must pass a test with a certain % to get that level of PAR.

              1. re: 1998232v6

                Almost. The PAR stands for Personal Achievement Responsibility. You can get the maroon colored apron at two stars, if your management team feels you deserve it.

              2. re: hufferc

                The STARS are a level of training; you get 5 cents more per hour; a discount if the retail store there. No big deal -- some servers don't even care about all that and still have the Rising Star apron. It's a gimmick...being a server there is NOT rocket science,,,come on!

                1. re: ChefGirl412

                  Actually there are benefits to PARring. The most beneficial being that at Par 2 you can cross-train to do any job or you if you're really up for it, learn as many jobs as you want. Cross-training = more added skills = more use to the company = more hours = more money for you.

            2. re: AlyKen

              I have to laugh at your posting...I'm also a displaced Southerner (from GA, living in CT for the past 12 years), so once in awhile I have to go to CB for grits, ham, and fried okra.

          2. I do not like Crapper Barrel.
            IMHO, buyer beware.


            3 Replies
            1. re: Davwud

              Cracker Barrel has taken the idea of over-salted cheap food with kitschy marketing to the PhD level. Bob Evans does home style much better.

                1. re: Kelli2006

                  bob evans does a really good burger!

              1. Ugh! When they first opened by me they were quite good, tasty, large portions, but service was horrible! Now the food matches the service. The last two times I ate there, I waas amazed how smaller the portions got and how overcooked the food was. I could barely cut my slice of ham! And others I have talked to have said the same thing. Maybe its just my location?

                1 Reply
                1. re: libgirl2

                  i been to 3 different locations and never had any problems with food or service. especially when on 2 different occasions, it was packed. still had some of the best service i received ever.

                2. I think they are okay. Not horrible and not fabulous. I don't really care for their chicken and dumplings, as the texture of the dumplings is off, plus the chicken isn't shredded up in the broth, just big chunks.
                  Breakfast is decent. Just average style eggs, bacon, etc.
                  The service has always been very polite.
                  I like to go there to shop for lotion in the store section instead of eat there. :)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: shalisah

                    Oh yeah, the shop saved my butt a few years ago. We realized that we had forgotten to pack the gift we bought for my brother's baby in NY and we were able to run next door and buy a teddy bear and a book. Phew. I like the rocking chairs too.

                  2. I'm assuming you mean Cracker Barrel? We stop at one in northern Virginia when we drive up to NYC. Out of neccesity. They're okay.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: southernitalian

                      southernitalian, ask on boards for recommendations to replace CB as your stop here in nova....e.g., smokybones bbq in woodbridge just off i-95 is good.

                      1. re: alkapal

                        But we've actually grown to enjoy it. Plus, we take 81 so we're not near 95. It's very slim pickins' and we don't mind CB. It's hokey, but fun.

                        1. re: southernitalian

                          81 really is slim pickin's for restos. i'll bet there are some good "homestyle" places that way, though, that may not have interstate signs....
                          and watch out for smoky on 81! (i'm sure you know...)

                      2. re: southernitalian

                        Traveling on 81 or 95 poses many problems for a place to eat quickly and well. I've only been in Cracker Barrel a couple of times, but when I went in, I had to pass by candle-type stuff. I have trouble with odors that are not cooking odors in a place that sells or prepares food. . Is this still the case?
                        Oh, I happen to remember that some of their vegetables were heated from cans, is that the case?

                        1. re: Rella

                          That's the General Store, which is the same footprint and design for all locations. It makes it easy for travelers to find the restrooms...and to pick up small gifts, candy and toys if necessary.

                          The General Store will rent a Book on CD, which you can listen to while driving and return at another Cracker Barrel location. We drive from San Diego to Detroit every year and the books help pass the time.

                          The food is also consistent from location to location. That's part of being a chain.

                          Cracker Barrel makes cross country travel a bit more interesting.

                      3. I have been to CB's all over the country and have never had a memorably bad experience. IMHO they took their best menu item off their menu a few years ago . . . the breakfast casserole. That and their cheesy hashbrowns were heaven. Now, however, the hashbrowns don't seem as good, and it isn't really worth going to a restaurant for just one decent side dish. Now the only reason to go is for a relatively clean bathroom and to rent a book on cd to make the travel a little easier.

                        1. My brother and I were randomly craving it the other day and drove to the one right before the interstate (because thats where they always are lol)

                          We both enjoyed our breakfasts and even though they were PACKED we got sat in under 10 minutes. They definetly know what they are doing and have their system set up.

                          Definetly recommend the cornbread and the french toast. =]

                          1. LOVE LOVE LOVE
                            CRACKER BARREL
                            Fell in love with in while in Branson, MO...grw to love it since, while growing up in LA, CA, we only got pancakes wqhen my Grama decided to make them (never went out for such things)...she used a cast iron skillet and tCB, I think, using one too. The pancakes are always perfect, fluffy, with crispy edges...hashbrowns-yummy, and you get your won little bottle of syrup! I was in MN in May and wanted to stop by a CB but we didn't have time...if LA would get one, I would go in a hurry!

                            1. order a loaf of sourdough croutons when you sit down, to go. They will be lovely. Also, grilled chicken tenderloin sandwich, grilled bread, colby and crispy bacon. Good eats!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: chelleyd01

                                I always get the tenderloin sandwich! It is so good I have never tried anything else. Good place to take the kids when you don't feel like cooking or when you are travelling.

                              2. I like their food. I wouldn't go out of my way for it, but certainly if you're drowning in chains you could do worse. I've only had breakfast, but it is as good as many a home-town diner.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: fara

                                  Can't vouch for the lunch or dinner menu items because when I visit Cracker Barrel it's always breakfast for me, no matter what time of the day.

                                  I think I first ate at a CB in the early 70's, and we always make it a point to stop and eat at least once at them when on a roadtrip. A family friend worked at the original location in Lebanon, TN and rumor has it that she created the recipe for the Hash Brown Casserole. These days I'm not interested in the gift shop as I was when a kid, but I NEVER leave the restaurant without purchasing a couple of rolls of their awesome sausage. Oh, and some of the flavored candy sticks....

                                  1. re: HMindy11

                                    >Can't vouch for the lunch or dinner menu items because when I visit Cracker Barrel it's always breakfast for me, no matter what time of the day.<

                                    I second this, I love their breakfast, the rest of the menu doesn't interest me at all.

                                  2. re: fara

                                    Far from it. Never been to a diner worse than CB.

                                    If you like Olive Garden, you'll probably like CB.

                                    They always seem to be packed, much to my surprise (but then so does OG & RL).

                                  3. Sorry to misspell the name of Cracker Barrel. Thanks all for taking the time to reply.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Tanglebriar

                                      Hey quit being so snobby guys! i LOVE gourmet food and eat out at mostly top tier restaurants in DC several times a month but the chicken & dumplins (how it is printed on the menu) at CB are awesome!! and the collard greens are a tribute to my southern mama. Grits rock, and other breakfast food is quite decent. Great coffee! Sometimes there is nothing like comfort food, and CB does it very well, very cheaply and with cheerful fairly quick service. Although my Cheesehead hubby calls it "Hick Barrel" he too is easy to persuade to go there for a big weekend breakfast. Of course now we aren't anywhere near one so it's a moot point but for someone raised on grits it's a taste of home! Anyone know anywhere in the greater DC metro area to get really good grits & country ham?

                                    2. When I was pregnant I would crave their sourdough bread. It made wonderful toast.

                                      1. Yes CB is another chain. I find it good for breakfast and lunch but wouldnt head there for dinner. My wife hates the place. For me - cute, nice, a good place to drop in when on the road because you know what you are going to get. There are much better places for food and if your looking for breakfast, try Perkins if one is near by.

                                        1. I've never left there unhappy, and once I discovered the baby limas on Saturdays, I'm happier. They accidently brought me the grilled chicken tenderloin dinner instead of the fried chicken tenderloin dinner last time, and I thought it was so tasty I might order it intentionally next time. And carrot cake's back on the menu for 4-6 weeks, so I imagine the wife will be making me drive up the road to get some. And it's a great source of candy I can't find anywhere else in town.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: podunkboy

                                            Arggh, they did it to us again. The Carrot Cake was supposed to be on the menu through Sunday the 28th. We went to lunch there on the 26th, and after finishing our meal, my wife requested a piece of carrot cake. "Oh, sorry, hun...we ran out of frosting mix on Wednesday, so they took the cake off the menu early." Okay, yeah, I get it, they don't do from-scratch cooking, but you run out of frosting 5 days from the end of the promotion, and NO ONE can figure out how to make frosting? That's unacceptable. And when I sent a complaint to corporate, I got back a standard "we're sorry your expectations were not met. We will communicate your concerns to your local store's manager." Here's a solution...put the danged cake on the regular menu, and keep the ingredients in stock!

                                          2. The food is consistant and yummy for what it is. When I am driving anywhere, I always look for a CB because then I know what I am getting. Love the fried Okra and alwasy can load up on candy while waiting.

                                            1. Last time we were at CB, my young son asked the waitress if they had hard boiled eggs. I found her response to be condescending, it was the verbal equivalent of rolling her eyes at him. Then I found it downright funny when she finally brought us our food after it had sat under the heat lamp for too long and the yolk of the poached eggs my son ordered had hard boiled themselves. I wasn't impressed with the place. We don't have them here, though.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: mercyteapot

                                                They absolutely have hard-boiled eggs, they are used in the salads. They are pre-boiled and shipped to the stores. They are kept in a large bucket in the prep area refrigerator and should be charged the same way as any other egg on the menu. Shame on your inept server for not knowing this.

                                              2. My family and myself prefer C B over any other restaurant. We visit the C B in Kingman Arizona on an average of twice a month. We live in Lake Havasu, Arizona which is about seventy miles from Kingman. We've ordered just about everything on the menu, with just a few exceptions. We are always so pleased with the food that is served. The service is always very good, the servers are obviously trained to be top notch people pleasers. We always have a pleasant experience. The breakfasts are soooo good that you wish you never had to stop eating. Only restaurant that I've been to that makes an egg perfect every time,hashbrowns are always superb. Their Sunday fried chicken is to die for. If you haven't tried C B , do it. YOU'LL BE HAPPY YOU DID.

                                                1. I think they definately vary from state to state. I've never had a bad breakfast from a store in the South. The pancakes are best with crispy edges and not overly sweet. Plus, they have pure maple syrup. I always get mine with a side of turnip greens and the smoked sausage patties. The sides are usually pretty good, but the main menu is lackluster. Stick with the breakfast menu.

                                                  1. Their chicken and dumplings are great! For a chain, you get good food. I've never had a problem with service(been to several different locations). I love the hash brown cassarole and their fried apples.

                                                    1. I don't eat there often, but I LOVE their BLT salad. It's huge, full of goodies, including hard boiled eggs, and is fresh. A good "on the road need to stop quickly" place.

                                                      1. For a Southerner who recently found himself in Rochester NY for a couple days, I was happy to discover a Craker Barrel there -- it's the only place you're likely to find grits in that part of the world.

                                                        1. I've driven solo across the country 2x from Los Angels to Key Largo, from Key Largo to Misourri, back to Los Angeles and back again...every time I saw a Cracker Barrel, it was a beacon of light, and my tummy would grumble with glee!!!
                                                          Mmm, the pancakes, the sercive and the great smelling hand soap in the wash room.
                                                          The ones in Georgia were great, the ones in North Carolina were great, the ones in Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, Oaklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Minnesota..all great too.
                                                          I wish there were some closer to my end of the earth in CA.
                                                          What I would do for one of their pancakes right now!

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: tatertotsrock

                                                            I agree. I'm in CA, too, and I just love road trips to other parts of the U.S. for many reasons, including stops at Cracker Barrel. I love their pancakes with the crispy edges served with warm, real maple syrup, the hash brown casserole, and their Sunday fried chicken is very good.

                                                            A couple of years ago I went to Niagara Falls, and after leaving NF on the way to New England, we decided to stop at CB for breakfast instead of eating in NF. So, the drive turned out longer than expected, but when I started seeing the signs for the next CB (beacon of light) in upstate NY my tummy also grumbled with glee, and I put the pedal to the metal! Well wouldn't you know it, I got pulled over, and ticketed for speeding, mere single-digit miles away from my beloved CB. That cop couldn't write the ticket fast enough for me to get the heck out of there, and off to wonderful CB. I've been to a couple in in MA, NY, NH, and NC and they were all great. I also got into a fender-bender (I wasn't driving) in a CB parking lot in MA, but that's a story for another day. Sorry for the hijack!

                                                            1. re: stopurmakingmehungry

                                                              Hello stopurmakingmehungry,
                                                              Do you have any idea where the closes CB would be from us in CA?
                                                              Would it be AZ? I guess I should investigate...it's getting close to roadtrip time...hopefully there will be some good climbing, kayaking, or hiking near the closest CB in order to ease the guilt of eating a years worth of pancakes in one sitting...mmm, cripsy edges.

                                                              1. re: tatertotsrock

                                                                Hi Tatertotsrock,

                                                                The closest one is in Kingman, AZ. I've been there once on my way to Vegas (not really on the way, but worth the stop for the CB deprived). There are a few others in AZ, take a look at their website. In AZ, you could visit Sedona or the Grand Canyon to burn off those delicious pancakes.

                                                                I see that they have recently opened one in St. George, UT, which is only an hour drive from Las Vegas, and very close to Zion NP and Bryce Canyon NP, both of which are amazing. Let us know where you decide to visit - I'll be getting my CB fix next month when I visit Tennesse, and KY.


                                                                1. re: stopurmakingmehungry

                                                                  Oh My Stars!, stopurmakingmehungry,
                                                                  It's so funny, have you been following me when I've been on my crazy xcountry road trips?
                                                                  2 years ago, on my way to guide kayak tours in MO for 9 months, I decided to hike the Grand Canyon for the 2nd time...maybe it was the CB that helped, but I traveled down the Bright Angel Trail to the "Platueau" and back to the top in under 7 hours...it was July 7th and it was 117 degrees by 12noon...crazy, amazing, and great..I then ran to McD's and after that went x the street to Wendy's....I had not eaten fast food in years but my body was craving grease and salt...
                                                                  Tonight, after teaching several spinning classes and having a not so great dinner at Oinkster (I will go back and try some other things...thank goodness I brought a bottle of Prosseco for the party) I could really use some great pancakes...any suggestions for good pancakes in Culver City after 2 hours of working out..around noon?
                                                                  Have you found any pancakes out here that satisfy you the way CB does?

                                                                  1. re: tatertotsrock

                                                                    Wow, I'm impressed, you must be in good shape. When the thermometer hits 95 degrees, I head for the nearest air conditioned or shady spot I can find. I went to the Grand Canyon in February one year. It was amazing, no storms at all, not too many people, with spots of snow on the ground, cliffs and lots of deer.

                                                                    I don't have any recs for pancakes, and I live in the SGV, so I can't be of much help to you in this arena. I have searched "pancakes" and found some I'd like to try, but they are closer to my area. I probably only eat pancakes a couple of times a year - at CB and at the Multnomah Falls Lodge in Oregon.

                                                                    1. re: tatertotsrock

                                                                      The pancake mix that is used in the restaurants is also available in the gift shop of every CB.

                                                            2. Great Pancakes and love their Chicken Fried Chicken w/ the Sawmill Gravy. We try to stop at the Kingman, ARIZONA restaurant when driving up to Williams, AZ (next to the Grand Canyon) to visit my daughter & her family. Take some time and go shop their country style general store and then, sit out on the porch in one of their numerous ol' rockin' chairs. -BnF

                                                              1. I wouldn't want to eat there every day but don't mind stopping on the highway occasionally. Specifically, I give them points for fried chicken livers on the menu--that's a good old Southern dish that's not so easy to find. I realize that liver is not for everyone, but that's my $.02.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Jim M

                                                                  I love chicken livers, but not cooked to a gray consistency. At Cracker Barrel I requested them slightly undercooked, so there was till a little pink in them. The first batch was as gray as hair, but I protested and they got it right! That was very satisfying, for me. I will go back for those!

                                                                2. I love the blueberry pancakes. Some of the best chain pancakes imho.

                                                                  1. I am southern and do eat at CB occasionally, usually while "on the road". At home, I cook my green beans only until they retain a slight snap to them. But, at CB, I just love the green beans - cooked until extremely soft and dull green - peppery and with bits of ham (hock?) in evidence. They remind me of the way my mother, aunts and every other southern woman I grew up with, made them. Satisfying in both yumminess and on some emotional level too. (Aw geez, I've just admitted that I love overcooked green beans...)

                                                                    1. Gross. Horrible. Hate it. I actually like other similar restaurants Bob Evans, etc. I'm not sure why I don't like it.

                                                                      I'm from the rural South, and I hate when Southern things are force fed to you. Look, we have rockers on the old-time front porch. Woven blankets! Candles! Painted pottery! We hang farm tools on the wall! You can buy candy in our old-time store!

                                                                      You must eat pork and potatoes and country ham with biscuits. Eat them NOW. More butter. Fry it.

                                                                      We are located beside every interstate exit in the South. You might be able to find us.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: in_wonderment

                                                                        We tried them last year for the first time on our 19 hour trip (don't ask) from Jersey to South Carolina. DH and I enjoyed the blueberry pancakes which come with tiny bottles of either maple or blueberry syrup. The hashbrown casserole though definitely not gourmet is something "grandma" would make and exellent.

                                                                      2. I think I'd have to echo what many other posters have said - CB isn't somewhere that I seek out to eat when I'm home, but when travelling, they're great. You get fairly consistent food, friendly service, a clean bathroom, and you can stock up on road candy or snacks for the next leg of your trip. I, too, have never eaten anything other than breakfast at CB, no matter what time of day it is - and their apple butter is SO good.

                                                                        I absolutely cannot understand why anyone prefers Bob Evans to CB - to each their own, I guess. Whenever I've been to BE, the biscuits - and I use that term VERY loosely - are tasteless and hard. The rest of the food's not been any better.

                                                                        1. Since 1991, I have been eating the EXACT same thing at CB. I start with cornbread and milk (I dip my cornbread in the milk...), then onto a yummy plate of chicken &dumplings with mashed potatoes and brown gravy, and pinto beans. MMMmmmMMM. I have NEVER strayed and don't plan to in the future!! (p.s. I haven't eaten at a CB in well over a year, if not more...it's not on the regular rotation of dining choices, but that dish is still one of my favorites for comfort foods).

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: flstnole

                                                                            this post makes me laugh---I've always said that CB only serves "beige food"--and read this last post---cornbread, gravy, chicken, dumplings, potatoes---not a color in sight! That said.....their breaksfasts are pretty good---eggs, toast, grits, pancakes... hmmmmmm more beige!

                                                                          2. CB isn't awful, but I'd never suggest it. Don't know why, but I'm always hungry when I leave, no matter what I order.

                                                                            1. Cracker Barrel is over-greased, over-salted, not from scratch, let's give country cooking yet another nail in the coffin chain restaurant.

                                                                              I will concede that they are just barely edible if you are on the interstate and can't find anywhere else.

                                                                              One of the sources of my disappointment with them is that 30 years ago they were a good chain restaurant with decent quality management. In the past 15 years, they gave up most of their quality of ingredients and the few remaining good recipes were altered out of recognition or dropped from the menu altogether.

                                                                              Bob Evans and Cracker Barrel share many of these issues -- the corn mush at Bob Evans these days isn't fit to eat, but even a decade ago it was a different product, at least in Ohio and in North Carolina.

                                                                              A lot of the people I know who stop at both, when you pin them down, say that "the bathrooms are clean, and you can stretch your legs safely".

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: fussycouple

                                                                                When you've been on the interstate a while clean bathrooms can cover a multitude of foodie sins. I will agree that a lot of their food is not as good as it used to be, but I know of few places and no chains where the food seems to get better over the years.

                                                                                For me, the appeal of CB is the comfort. For some reason I feel at home there and can unwind. It makes the long drive a little more bearable because I've used a clean restroom, eaten a warm meal that wasn't shoved at me in a paper bag, I can get a new book to listen to, and I have a Goo Goo Cluster to enjoy a little farther down the road.

                                                                                1. re: fussycouple

                                                                                  I live in Ohio, and Bob Evans used to be well prepared home style food. I used to love their breakfasts but the last time i was there is was second rate food. they have cheapened the quality in many ingredients and their procedure is second rate, at best.

                                                                                  I have been to CB twice and both times I thought I was going die from salt poisoning and poor sanitation. I know that many people love the place, my older sister included, but I don't understand why.

                                                                                2. I like Cracker Barrel for breakfast every few months or so. The one by my house cooks my eggs exactly like I like them. Over hard but not crispy around the edges and burned up!
                                                                                  I am also guilty of going there specifically to buy candles!

                                                                                  1. Being a former California Girl, now living in the South, I have grown to love CB! Considering that the CA options were Dennys, Bob's Big Boy, or IHOP, CB is leaps and bounds!!

                                                                                    When my folks come to visit the first place they want to go is CB. Mom loves their breakfasts and my dad loves the fact that he can get great grits (no one in CA even knows what a grit is).

                                                                                    ANYWAY -- for Christmas this year I ordered the Country Breakfast Sampler off the CB website (complete with Cast Iron Skillet) and sent it to my folks in CA. THEY LOVED IT!! My father even called me to tell me he was sitting down -- in Hanford California -- eating real GRITS!!!

                                                                                    IT WAS A SCORE!!!!!

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Madeane

                                                                                      Even a wide-eyed west-beach lass should be able to find a true good old-fashioned country place if she sticks her head in enough holes. :)

                                                                                      All joking aside, I really hope cracker barrel isn't the pinnacle of southern cooking where you are because that's pretty sad. Living in the south for four years was really life-changing (I'm still craving sweet tea done right up here in Baltimore and I've been gone for almost 9 months). But as for CB, I'll admit that their breakfasts are overall pretty good. Decent pancakes, hashbrowns, and I do love their apple butter. I've only had their lunch/dinner food a few times, and I've pretty much decided to stay away: too much salt, not enough flavor.

                                                                                      1. re: Wangus

                                                                                        The closest Cracker Barrel is always packed, esp. during the weekends. The pancakes and eggs are pretty good but everything else was just ok.

                                                                                    2. Nothing wrong with Cracker Barrel. It is a themed restaurant. Someone from the South may indeed have a hard time comparing it to "real suthern cookin'" Hey, I grew up in Los Angeles and know what real Mex cooking is like but don't pop a gasket when I walk into a Del Tacko or Tacko Bell because it is making a feeble attempt to qualify as Mexican food. You go with it or eat somewhere else. The beige food thing is funny. Hmmm.....lack of artificial colors maybe. Now, where did I sit my burger down?

                                                                                      1. i had a couple of decent dinners there, but now i think that was just dumb luck. last time i ate there, i had to spit out my greens. they were so tough i could not chew them. their gravy had no flavor...the rest was so forgettable, i guess it was a step up from the terribleness of the greens and gravy. at least i can't recall enough of it to complain about. just know i did not like it. also, it annoys me that they claim to cook from scratch. i sure do not believe that! must be that if you fry eggs in your restaurant, you can make that claim. i have seen that claim in other chains that clearly serve packaged foods (copelands and olive garden both come to mind)

                                                                                        1. I love high end restaurants, but I can always go for Cracker Barrel, especially since I have two toddlers. It's very family friendly. I don't think I have ever had a bad food item there, although I'm not usually a fan of restaurant mashed potatoes anywhere except upscale places. But Cracker Barrel has fantastic breakfasts (pancakes, biscuits & gravy, and they are famous for their hashbrown casserole; admittedly, they sometimes have "off" days on the hashbrown casserole, but it's usually great). I love love love the fried shrimp and hush puppies. The salads are always SUPER FRESH. I have never had even the slightest wilted or brown lettuce on a salad at Cracker Barrel.

                                                                                          They offer approximately 15 different vegetables, and each meal comes with 2 or 3 vegetables, depending on the meal. You can also get a veggie plate with 3-4 veggies. They are all good. My kids and I love the green beans. Also their "fried" apples aren't really fried. It's like apple pie filling without the pie crust, and it's heavenly.

                                                                                          If you are a tea drinker, the raspberry iced tea is very good, but it's presweetened and it's overly sweet (I grew up in Alabama, and even I think it's overly sweet, it's pure sugar). I always order a half unsweet/half raspberry tea, and it's perfect.

                                                                                          1. I ate at a CB coming home from VA this weekend. The service was very good, quick and efficient. The food was awful. I had a chicken fried steak that had no, zero, nada, flavor (including the gravy). The cheesy hashbowns were fair, but not much flavor for something covered in cheese. My wife had chicken and rice smothered in gravy. No flavor there either. The corn muffins were heavy and greasy.

                                                                                            The cottage cheese was excellent.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Shann

                                                                                              You know you're doing something wrong when the cottage cheese has more flavor than your chicken fried steak. Yeesh.

                                                                                            2. aww, you know what, today i'd love to have some of their excellent biscuits with their pretty darned good fried catfish near here in the dc area. unfortunately, we're in a high rent district ("region"). ;-(

                                                                                              they are the very best "mama-compliant" biscuits that i've ever had in any -- ANY -- restaurant -- bar none.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                I should have gone with the biscuits, but we both had the cornbread.

                                                                                              2. I like CB for breakfast. Never had lunch or dinner there though.

                                                                                                1. I got turned on to CB when I lived in Nashville in the mid-70's. I loved it then -- the chicken and dumplings, homemade cobbler, biscuits and gravy, etc. The last time i ate there was in the late 90's - the food quality seemed to have plummeted. Shortly after that, gay friends told me about the boycott, which I hadn't known about before. I haven't eaten there since.


                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                                                    That article is from more than 20 years ago.

                                                                                                    1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                                                      I remember their anti-gay policy, and have still not forgiven them.

                                                                                                    2. I live in the west, and we drive 3 hours each way just to eat at C.B. I'm from KY, so I miss my southern roots. Not gourmet by a long shot, but it's my salvation for country ham, biscuits and real southern green beans. I buy the packages of country ham to bring back home, too.

                                                                                                      1. Tried CB after a long Day of driving towards home from FL. Never been before! It was so enjoyable. The food is cheap, the ambiance is kitchy in a good way and the food was delightful.
                                                                                                        The lemonade tasted homemade. I loved their meatloaf. The mashed potatoes didn't seem real, but no biggie.
                                                                                                        It was a wonderful end to the day after driving for hours.

                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: monavano

                                                                                                          i wish there was one closer to us, monavano. i'm craving their great biscuits now....

                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                            Oh, me too! The closest is in Fredricksburg, VA. Ack!!
                                                                                                            Went one time and I'm hooked! I so wish we could just take a quick drive and have that home-cooked ambience for cheap.
                                                                                                            Oh, well.....I'm going to look for their meatloaf recipe online. It was right up my alley with those onions and bell peppers. In fact, my FIL LOVES it, so I want to make it for him next time my in-laws visit.

                                                                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                                                                              i think there's one in centreville or manassas, too. but still a hike.

                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                Just came back from St. Petersburg FL and had brunch there twice. First time I had Eggs in a Basket, which were a little too greasy, but the biscuit and coffee were fine.
                                                                                                                Second time I had great Fried Catfish, grits, biscuit with fruit butter, another biscuit with gravy, over-easy eggs and Fried Apples. Everything was acceptable and not too pricey.

                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                  Yes, there is one in Manassas. Although a hike frim Arlington, it is directly off 66- about a minute from the first Manassas exit-it probably wouldn't be too bad a trek on the weekend.

                                                                                                          2. Since they serve breakfast all day, that's what I usually end up getting. Their sausage gravy is SO good - poured over fluffy biscuits!! Yummo! I've never had a bad breakfast there. Always consistent.

                                                                                                            1. For those of us who don't have one nearby, a lot of their products are available from them online. I always buy a bunch of stuff when there to re-stock my Cracker Barrel pantry, and in fact, just opened a new jar of Chow Chow today.

                                                                                                              1. It's excellent hangover food...enough said!

                                                                                                                1. As you can see from the comments on this board, the vast majority of commenters like Cracker Barrel. I do, too. I generally stick with their breakfast items because they're so good. I can't vouch for the lunch items.

                                                                                                                  Cracker Barrel has an occasional faux pas, but I think that this usually due to their being extremely busy because if I come at another time, the food item in which I was disappointed has returned to its normal "good" state.

                                                                                                                  The cooks at Cracker Barrel are serving old-fashioned southern food, not known for the cuisine's use of spices, but for most items, the use of spices would be out of place.

                                                                                                                  Considering the low price of meals there, I think that it is one of the better restaurant chains around in that price range.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                    I always liked Cracker Barrel because they served my favorite meal all day and night. Breakfast!

                                                                                                                    1. re: genoO

                                                                                                                      I'm with you on that Geno0! Morning, noon, and night, 90% of the time that's where i'm at......unless I'm jonesin' for meatloaf. I pity the poor fools that can't get satisfaction from Cracker Barrel food.