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Cracker Barrel Experience

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Cracker Barrel Experience

The Ranger | Jan 16, 2006 12:16 PM

We visited a Cracker Barrel, the first I'd ever been to, on one of our trips back into Socal from AZ a few years ago. I was quite hyped because there were four restaurants about (two "Denny's" type), a sandwich joint, and Cracker Barrel. Cracker Barrel had significantly more traffic, a larger lot, over two dozen* large rigs, and misting sprayers for those waiting outside.

We pulled into the CB's parking lot and went in, placed our name on the seating list, and before we could walk back into the "store" area to browse called back to the hostesses' station to be seated.

A quick review of the menu is impossible. It's PAGES long! I did see the chicken-fried steak with sawmill gravy, though, and immediately knew what I was going to have.

The place was HOPPING! Our waiter never once allowed the numbers in his HUGE section to prevent him from providing superior service, though. He stopped by, took our drink orders, and was back in minutes asking if we were ready to place our entrée order. SWMBO is very thorough when going to a new place and needed a couple extra minutes to review everything. Both Daughter-unit Alpha and Beta had decided that breakfast at 1500 was just the thing for 106°F blistering heat. Spawn's appetite, conversely, was reduced to a simple side of fries for her meal.

Eventually... SWMBO decided the taco salad sounded great and I signaled the waiter that we were ready. As quick as that, he placed our order, refilled our drinks, and our meal arrived.

I can't say enough positive things about our server; he was great.

The food, OTOH, was not anywhere near as stellar. The first bite into my chicken fried steak showed that all taste had been Focus Grouped out for maximizing profit. I added salt, more pepper to the generous amount of cracked pepper already present, Tabasco, and more salt. Nothing seemed to help it.

SWMBO took a single bite of her salad and pushed the entire plate away. The girls were similarly unimpressed with their food. Our waiter was at another table but was immediately there asking if he could substitute anything. SWMBO just asked for the check and said we'd be on our way. He immediately got the manager and she comped our entire meal. (That was an unexpected surprise.)

I think the service would be excellent at every Cracker Barrel. Would I expect the food to be any more edible than my previous experience? Nope.

* Long-haulers are a good indication of any restaurant's prices, quantities and qualities; usually in that order.

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