Cracker Barrel is half-a-century old, and to celebrate its golden anniversary, the chain restaurant is revealing little-known facts about its early years – including a look into the first-ever menu it served.
Cracker Barrel has 660 location across 45 states today, but the first-ever restaurant opened on Sept. 19, 1969, in Lebanon, Tenn., by Dan Evins. And in that first location, the menu was a little different than how it appears now – and you might not even be able to read it.
The first iteration of the 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” – known as Bologna – according to a press release from Cracker Barrel shared with Fox News.
Its famous buttermilk pancakes were also on the first menu, but then they were called "griddle cakes."
In the 80s, Cracker Barrel began adding to the menu, included a section called “Coffee Treats.” In 1988, Daily Specials officially became part of the restaurant’s offerings. Milkshakes were also listed as a breakfast item during this time.
It wasn’t until 1992 when the ice cream treat was moved, and lunch and dinner began being offered only starting at 11 a.m.
Fortunately for diners, the menu has expanded considerably, and now includes two of the most popular items served at the restaurant: Momma’s Pancake Breakfast and Hashbrown Casserole.
Though the outpost’s signature biscuits and cornbread have been staples since the day it opened, the menu has evolved over the years. But, Cracker Barrel's CEO says she's still proud that the restaurant retains its original atmosphere.
“Cracker Barrel has been one of America’s beloved home-away-from-homes for 50 years, serving as a familiar sign that greets travelers and local communities alike,” said Cracker Barrel President and Chief Executive Officer Sandra B. Cochran.