The first Cracker Barrel on the west coast opened recently! I'm told it's a popular food chain in the rest of the country, but they don't have them in Oregon. Just like T.G.I. Friday's, Steak and Shake, Bob Evans, White Castle, Waffle House, Culver's, that place with the ice cream...
But hey, Cracker Barrel is no longer on the list! It must be popular with the rest of the country, because it was packed with out-of-staters. The restaurant has its own gift shop, which strikes me as a little tacky, and it has Southern-style cooking. I've never had Southern-style cooking, myself. The closest I've come to the South is Texas.
I normally get burgers wherever I go, but I went with the sampler platter. It had chicken and dumplins, which are like square noodles. Have you have chicken noodle soup? Dumplins taste like those noodles, except they're square and about the size of a half dollar. They also had grits, which looks like porridge and tastes like gravel. It's rough and has tiny pieces everywhere. I guess the idea is that you really have to chew it in order to eat it.
The rest of the meal was things I've had before. Meatloaf was good, although I'm the boring guy who likes bland meatloaf. As in, nothing in the meatloaf but meat. That's the way my mom made it. The ham was fine, and the cornbread was just like the cornbread in the Nancy Drew cookbook: no sugar. So I guess I have had Southern-style cooking before after all!
Overall, the restaurant is fine. I'd wait several months before going back, at least until the crowds die down.