The #1 Most Southern Entree At Cracker Barrel

Every restaurant, big or small, has its own unique identity. It's what sets them apart and gives the customer the luxury of choice. If every fast food restaurant were like McDonald's and every sit-down restaurant like Olive Garden, after all, eating out wouldn't exactly be fun. Of course, when a chain like Cracker Barrel has an identity that roots itself in old Southern traditions and turn-of-the-century Americana, it needs to both dress and act the part.

When the restaurant first opened its doors in 1969, menus were handwritten on paper bags and featured "country-fied" spelling (i.e. "brakfast," "aigs," and "cow juice") in order to give the restaurant a genuine "country store" feeling, per Fox News. While today's Cracker Barrels are much more modernized, there's still a focus on making the experience feel like a trip down South. 

Take, for example, the interior of your local Cracker Barrel, which is decorated in relics of a bygone era. So vast is Cracker Barrel's collection of antique photos, old farm equipment, roadside memorabilia, and so on that The Atlantic describes the chain as wide-scale preservation of American culture. But for all of this talk about Southern this and authentic that, we can't gloss over the obvious part of what makes Cracker Barrel the restaurant it is: the food. Is there a single dish that truly encapsulates the Southern values and culture that Cracker Barrel represents?

The turkey n' dressing special is the South on a plate

If there were a single most quintessentially Southern item on the Cracker Barrel menu, it just might be the chain's Thursday night turkey n' dressing dinner special. The $5.99 plate comes with turkey, gravy, stuffing, sweet potato casserole with pecans, and a dollop of cranberry sauce — plus your choice of vegetables and a buttermilk biscuit or corn muffin. It's like a Thanksgiving feast that's available every single week, and what's more Southern than a comforting bounty like that?

As for what Cracker Barrel customers think of the turkey dinner, one TripAdvisor user from Kentucky said "the turkey is tender and the dressing is moist and flavorful." While they weren't fully on board with the chunky cranberry sauce, they still called the meal a "great value." Meanwhile, a TripAdvisor user from Tennessee summed up the dinner special's key selling point: "If you don't want to cook Thanksgiving meals, get it at Cracker Barrel. Dressing, turkey, vegetables, gravy, and all the trimmings."

It is worth pointing out, though, that Cracker Barrel's entire menu is pretty darned Southern. As the chain itself reported in 2021, the company couldn't call itself "true Southerners" without fried chicken on the menu. The company also says it sells an incredible 11 million Chicken N' Dumplins' dinners per year, suggesting that customers have more than one Southern favorite when they visit their local Cracker Barrel.