A few years ago, we took a road trip from our home in Connecticut to Orlando. The purpose? To spend a few days at Walt Disney World so I could attend a conference and have a little fun with the kids in the parks. The trip delivered that in spades.
In fact, we had so much fun that I didn’t want to leave and nearly extended our stay an additional day. Nearly.
But then we started north again. Meanwhile, somewhere near home, a friend and her family spontaneously started heading south. I’d been posting photos and stories from our travels all week, and she decided she wanted to capture some of the pure joy too.
Somewhere along the way, she stopped at a Cracker Barrel and posted all about it. The down-home cooking, the reliable menu, the comforting atmosphere. It sounded interesting. And me, having only been to a Cracker Barrel restaurant once years prior, was curious.
We were passing so many of them … so finally, we stopped.
The first thing I noticed at Cracker Barrel in Georgia was the country store you have to pass through before entering the restaurant. Although I’d seen the store on my previous visit, I didn’t really appreciate the varied stuff they carry there. From cute decor to giant mugs to nostalgic candy, there were so many products to look at and explore. Inside the Cracker Barrel — the one we went to was somewhere in Northern Florida or Southern Georgia — I was struck by the Cracker Barrel’s Retail Store.
There’s a little irony in the fact that I had to go so far south to try a restaurant that’s pretty widely available in the northeast. But I digress.
Once we were seated, the kids checked out the kids menu. With items from standard fare like grilled cheese and mac n’ cheese, to more adventurous offerings like fried shrimp or chicken and dumplings, there was plenty to choose from.
For the adults, the selection was even greater. From salads to comfort food, burgers to steaks, the menu has a wide variety. There’s even a healthier section where dishes are portion controlled (and list calories) for those looking for lighter fare.
One thing I was told not to miss was the Cracker Barrel biscuits, which turned out to be warm, airy biscuits perfect with a little butter.
When we left on that visit, I made a point to let my friend know we’d stopped there. There was something special about how our trips could inspire each other.
And I was glad we’d dropped into a Cracker Barrel. With a strong focus on fresh made food, and a homey atmosphere, it was a perfect stop on our road trip home.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.