Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Breakfast at a Chain Restaurant

I am not a big fan of huge chain restaurants…although many have improved greatly over the years… As I’ve mentioned on many occasions, breakfast is just about our favorite meal and we’re always looking for the 'best' one.  We have yet to find a restaurant here in East Tennessee that meets the “gold standard” that Laurie and I experienced when living in Chicago… We’ve also had a few other top notch experiences a few times during our travels around the USA and Canada. 

In any case, we were out and about and I decided that, after many years, we should once again go to the one restaurant that seems to be everywhere along the Interstate System across the country…  

This is the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Restaurant right off of I-75 in Lenoir City Tennessee.  My last experience several years ago at a Cracker Barrel was not a positive one…but what the heck…let’s give it another shot.
As I said before, we haven’t found a great breakfast place in East Tennessee…could this be ‘the one’!?

Ah yes, the rocking chairs on the 'front porch'… In my last job prior to retiring we sold an alarm system that was used at some Cracker Barrel restaurants to secure these chairs. 

The lobby of Cracker Barrel, (aka. the sales floor), is not a ‘guys’ place.  It’s just too glitzy, crafty and cluttered with a plethora of ‘stuff’ for sale.  Of course, many of the women in our lives love this place.  Another favorite for the ladies at Cracker Barrel are the bathrooms.  From what I’ve been told, the company’s standards for these facilities are very high… 

The dining areas at Cracker Barrel are large and clean.  Décor is country cousin kitsch…kind of corny but sort of cute with lots of things to look at.

I departed from my normal breakfast items…and decided I’d go the carb route as a treat and for a break from my standard meat, eggs and potatoes.  I ordered the Buttermilk Pancakes with Fruit Toppings.  This consisted of 3 buttermilk pancakes served with my choice of golden delicious apples, Marion blackberry, sweet peach or Montmorency cherry toppings.  As you can see, I went for the apples topped with real whipped cream.  Then, to add on the carbs, I poured my individual container of pure maple syrup all over the top…
I did enjoy my breakfast… I can’t really make a comparison with other restaurants in the area as I didn’t order my normal sort of meal.  As for pricing…there was a little problem and I wasn’t able to get a receipt…more on that in a moment.

Laurie went with a standard breakfast.  She really liked her bacon, her easy-over eggs and the toast were fine, but she asked for crispy hash browns and these weren’t quite as crispy as she would have liked.  We both agreed that the coffee was good and the meal was more than competent.
The only problem with our “Cracker Barrel” experience was a technological one.  Perhaps the CGI Group, (the Obamacare IT Contractor), were working on Cracker Barrel’s computer system… In any case, the computer system crashed.  Our waitress had to write down everything on a separate pad of paper for eventual reconciliation.  The real ‘fun’ came at the registers… Timing is everything and I was lucky to a) be almost at the front of the line, and b) I had exact change so I could pay the bill and tip the waitress.  The entire inter-related computer system, including the registers, wasn’t working… The cash registers wouldn’t even open for the cashiers.  I was able to drop off my payment and escape the madness.  However, I felt sorry for the cashiers as the checkout lines were stacking up fast!
OK… The food wasn’t exceptional but it was a long way from being the worst breakfast experience we’ve had in East Tennessee.  We will be back…  The Cracker Barrel Country Store and Restaurant in Lenoir City Tennessee is at 325 Ft. Loudoun Medical Center Drive.  Phone: 865-988-3201.  Company website:
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. I try to avoid Cracker Barrel as I always eat too much, but we ate at one a couple of years ago in IL and I believe it had the best wait staff I've seen - it is still my gold standard for service.

  2. We haven't eaten at a Cracker Barrel in years and your experience was reminiscent of our last visit, minus the technological glitch. Were people able to use a credit card if they didn't have the right change? Wow, what a mess. Guess you really lucked out Dave to be at the head of the line.

    Thanks for reminding us that Cracker Barrel is still alive and well and a nice alternative to some of the other "stuff" you find on the road when you're traveling on the interstate.