By: Elena Cawley and PRESS RELEASE
Cracker Barrel has welcomed guests for over 50 years, and the restaurant in Manchester was one of the first stores to open its doors.
Fifty years ago, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, America’s iconic destination for Southern homestyle cooking, warm hospitality and unique retail offerings, made its debut in the small town of Lebanon, Tennessee.
The original Manchester store – store #3 – was opened June 27, 1970. Cracker Barrel in Manchester was rebuilt and opened at its current location in March 1995. And that’s the store welcoming customers today at 103 Paradise St., Manchester.
According to local resident David Welborn the first Manchester store “sold Shell gasoline at the initial location on the corner of Interstate Drive and Woodbury Highway (location of current Circle K convenience store).”
“There is a copy of the original menu on the fireplace mantel in the Manchester Cracker Barrel with prices that might be amusing today,” Welborn said. “I remember eggs being spelled ‘aigs’ for fun. I also remember that the antique items on the wall were ‘for sale,’ but later this idea was abandoned probably because there was an uncertain and difficult situation to restock.”
The original menu was written by hand on a brown paper bag and had “country-fied” spellings for the menu items, such as “brakfast,” “aigs” (for eggs), “sanwiches,” “sho nuff hambergers,” “cow juice,” and “lonies and crackers (bologna to you Yankees),” according to Heidi Pearce, Cracker Barrel corporate communications specialist.
In 1969, a Tennessee man named Dan Evins saw an unmet need. The Interstate was expanding –connecting people to new places – but people on the move couldn’t count on a consistent, quality place to stop along the way, stretch their legs, refuel and find a good meal at a fair price. Evins had a vision to build an old country store to meet their needs – a place that preserved the ingredients of country life to share with travelers on the road and families from nearby.
Click here to read more about this story.