There are lots of things to love about Cracker Barrel, which is what makes us try to recreate things like their Coke cake and hashbrown casserole at home. But let’s face it: most of the charm of Cracker Barrel is actually going there.
Half restaurant, half store, Cracker Barrel invites us to browse candy, toys, gifts and more while we wait for our tables. And while we really do enjoy digging into hearty helpings of those country dinner plates, there’s a feast for our eyes, too. The walls of every Cracker Barrel are covered in (dozens of? hundreds of? thousands of?) antique pictures and objects to give that real down-home feel.
The flair of Cracker Barrel is legendary. What kinds of things are you likely to find? A portrait of smiling children on a hay bale? Check. A Depression-era advertisement for flour and lard? Check. Some sort of unidentifiable, rusty farm implement? Check.
Restaurants like TGI Fridays and Appleby’s have recently said “the flair is gone,” and adopted a sleek modern style. Probably has something to do with a little film called Office Space, right? Cracker Barrel, however, is sticking to its traditionalist roots. Visit any location, and it’ll look remarkably like every other one.
In fact, there are 4 pieces of flair that you’re guaranteed to find at any of the hundreds of Cracker Barrel locations spread across the country–from Tulatin, Oregon to Pooler, Georgia and everywhere in between.
Greeting you at the front of each location will be an antique ox yoke and a horseshoe. We’re not sure why the ox yoke is there, but we’re guessing it’s to remind us that this is an old country store. And if you haven’t heard, a horseshoe hanging over your doorway has long been considered a good luck charm. People will argue about whether the prongs are supposed to point up or down, however.
Over every bathroom, you’ll find a traffic light. Maybe that’s some kind of pun? Stop and go? And without fail, you’ll find an oversized checkerboard set up on top of an actual cracker barrel near the fireplace that seems to be blazing in every restaurant, whether its December or July.
And just what is a cracker barrel, after all? Back in the day, actual country stores would have barrels full of soda crackers. Townsfolk would hang around the barrel, nosh on some crackers, and throw in their two cents on local issues or just make small talk. Because of that, the venerable Oxford Dictionary tells us, “cracker barrel” is now also an adjective that means “plain, simple, unsophisticated.”
Hey, we needed some reason to get together in the days before Starbucks! Now that we know Cracker Barrel isn’t just for copy cat recipes, we’re sure to pay more attention to the flair items next time we stop by. Watch the video below to find out just how many items you’ll see in each store (it’s incredible).
Have you noticed the 4 special Cracker Barrel items? Do you have other favorite pieces of flair?