As a billboard once succinctly described, Cracker Barrel is “Half Restaurant. Half Store. All Country.”
The big establishment just off Interstate 78 and Route 100, with a row of wooden rocking chairs on the front porch that beckons guests to set a spell, is part of a nationwide business that caters to travelers and locals alike. Both “halves” are constructed and decorated with the rustic charm of an old country store. The walls are chock full of Americana memorabilia and vintage signage.
Principally, the place seems best suited as a dependable way station for people taking road trips. Cracker Barrel is open seven days a week, from 6:00 a.m. Families with members of all ages can pull off the highway and find a hearty sit-down meal. A full motor coach could drop in and be accommodated without too much fuss. If there is a wait to be seated, the store provides plenty of diversion. Nostalgic candy, gift baskets, apparel, postcards, toys, collectibles and home décor are just some of the products available for purchase.
The food is meant to reflect homestyle, country cooking with a generous helping of Southern hospitality. Many things are made from scratch daily, like the biscuits and corn muffins, and even the mashed potatoes. The menu features stick-to-your-ribs country dishes: country ham, meatloaf, chicken pot pie, catfish, fried chicken livers, and pinto beans and turnip greens.
Besides mainstream vegetables such as green beans, corn and carrots for side dishes, Cracker Barrel offers fried apples and breaded fried okra. Yes, they also have hamburgers, soup and salad, and BLTs. A kids’ menu focuses on smaller portions of basic dishes chosen for younger palates. The drinks (soft drinks, hot and iced teas, coffee and juices) are strictly non-alcoholic.
Breakfast is served any time of day. Guests can fuel up with their favorite combinations of eggs, hash browns, grits, sausage, bacon and muffins, as well as fruit-topped buttermilk pancakes. From the retail side, customers can purchase packages of the buttermilk pancake mix to go, as well as Cracker Barrel branded syrups, sauces and relishes.
Those who are so inclined can take home a ready-to-assemble version of the trademark Cracker Barrel rocking chairs ($139 and up).
7720 Main St., Suite 19, Fogelsville, PA 18051. 610-481-0055. www.crackerbarrel.com