Cracker Barrel Old Country Store just might be America’s favorite restaurant. With over 600 locations, the chain is a go-to for families on road trips — or anyone hankering for some chicken ‘n dumplins. One Indiana couple even made it their mission to visit every single Cracker Barrel location, which they accomplished over a period of 40 years!
The restaurant chain is beloved for their down-home cuisine, as well as their shop full of charming gift items. Even if you’ve been to the eatery more times than you can count, there are probably a few things you never knew about Cracker Barrel. Check out these seven interesting facts about the beloved restaurant chain:
1. Cracker Barrel turns 49 this year.
The first Cracker Barrel opened on Sept. 19, 1969 on Highway 109 in Lebanon, Tenn. By 1977, there were 13 locations, and today there are 646 restaurants in 44 states.
2. Cracker Barrel has its own charitable organization.
The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Foundation supports a number of nonprofits and programs and has awarded millions of dollars over 23 years. Their main focus is supporting members of America’s armed forces and their families. Supported organizations include Operation Homefront, the USO, the National Military Family Association, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, United Through Reading and the National Museum of the United States Army.
3. They have an online shop.
Even if you haven’t made your way to a Cracker Barrel store, you can still buy many of the items online. You can find everything from rocking chairs to board games to jewelry to candies!
4. Every single Cracker Barrel has the same four pieces of decor.
Each Cracker Barrel store features a horseshoe and an ox yolk hanging over the front door, a traffic light over the restrooms, and a barrel with a checkerboard in front of the fireplace. Overall, each store has an average of 1,000 pieces of decor inside.
5. There’s a new Cracker Barrel-owned restaurant aimed at millenials.
In 2016, Cracker Barrel debuted a new type of restaurant. They’ve opened Holler & Dash, a new restaurant concept with six locations. The decor is hip and modern, the menu focuses on affordable items like biscuit sandwiches, and customers walk up to a counter and order their food. There are no gift shops or rocking chairs, either!
6. A couple shot their engagement photos at Cracker Barrel.
People who love Cracker Barrel really love Cracker Barrel. Take Sam and Ashley, who had their first date at Cracker Barrel, continued to dine there throughout their relationship and eventually took their engagement photos at the restaurant. They even mentioned Cracker Barrel in their wedding vows!
7. A food critic ranked Cracker Barrel the #1 chain restaurant in America.
Wondering which is the best chain restaurant, according to a card-carrying foodie? A Washington Post food critic ranked Cracker Barrel as the #1 chain eatery in the nation. Cracker Barrel beat out nine other popular chain restaurants, including Red Lobster, IHOP, Outback Steakhouse and Applebee’s.
Cornmeal-dusted and golden crusted, our North Atlantic boneless haddock is guest favorite. pic.twitter.com/k45Guiidoo
— Cracker Barrel (@CrackerBarrel) November 9, 2017