Analysis: Cracker Barrel Is America’s Happy Place

Friday night, I had the occasion to dine at a Cracker Barrel restaurant.

In Jonesboro, Arkansas. 

In The United States of America.

In other words – Friday night I experienced the inherent goodness and pleasure of the human condition. 

sampler
The Cracker Barrel Sampler (Country Ham, Meatloaf, Chicken & Dumplings) w/ 2 sides – Can be eaten in 90 seconds or less.

Friday night, freedom was delicious. As delicious as the Cracker Barrel Sampler platter (Meatloaf, Chicken & Dumplings, Country Ham + 2 sides). 

Google “Quintessential American Experience” – you’ll see a lot of things:

  • 4th of July BBQs
  • Route 66
  • State Fairs
  • Rodeos
  • NASCAR
  • Debt

You won’t see “Dining at a Cracker Barrel in Jonesboro, Arkansas”  – and it’ll be a mistake. Because there’s really no greater American pleasure than dining at a Cracker Barrel. In Jonesboro. Arkansas. On a Friday night. 

If you’re not familiar with Cracker Barrel then you really have to ask yourself: What made you decide to become a terrorist?

Here’s some background information on CB, from their Wiki Page:

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. is an American chain of combined restaurant and gift stores with a Southern country theme. The company was founded by Dan Evins in 1969; its first store was in Lebanon, Tennessee, which remains the company headquarters. The chain’s stores were at first positioned near highway exits in the Southeastern and Midwestern US, but it expanded across the country during the 1990s and 2000s. As of September 18, 2012,[4] the chain operates 630 stores in 42 states.

630 happy zones. 630 homes away from other, less happy homes. 630 little heavens on earth. 

Thank you Dan Evins. Thank you for enhancing our lives.

What makes Cracker Barrel so amazing – you ask?

Why do you hate Cracker Barrel?
This person doesn’t like Cracker Barrel.

Well, Infidel, I’ll tell you:

It’s a lot of things.

It’s the delicious Southern cuisine, it’s the old-fashioned ambiance, it’s the charming general store, it’s the relaxing front porch lined with wooden rocking chairs, it’s the stone fireplace, it’s the playful and enticing artifacts from the local area. It’s the peg board game on the table that tells me I’m not an ignoramus….but that my dining partner is.

It’s the sampler platter.

Most of all though, it’s all the other Americans, the other Arkansans, the other Jonesboroans inside the restaurant. It’s the teenager with the screaming plastic baby doll she’s carrying around for her school project – in her cheerleading outfit. It’s her grandfather. It’s the 320 pound dude with a mullet.

It’s the regulars.

It’s the folks who long ago decided that morbid obesity was a small price to pay for a basket of biscuits and a few other thousand calories of comfortable, breaded meat. And cheese. And fried-vegetables. It’s these folks. These are the folks that make the experience amazing. 

Because in Cracker Barrel, Carbohydrates is just another word for, “who gives a sh*t?”

In Cracker Barrel, time stands still.

In Cracker Barrel, life’s worries disappear like the last piece of cornbread.

In Cracker Barrel, it’s all good.

Especially the sampler.

3 thoughts on “Analysis: Cracker Barrel Is America’s Happy Place”

  1. Wow Jay,
    You nailed it. I know a little part of me has given up on ever having a thigh gap when I walk into a CB. Vegans need not darken the door. I think they have lard in the jelly.

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