Who's The Guy In The Cracker Barrel Logo?

Have you ever looked at a logo and wondered about its origin? Sometimes a logo is nothing more than the literal representation of the company name, as in the case of big names such as Target and Apple. But other times, it provokes specific questions. Case in point? The Cracker Barrel logo. If it weren't posted above, it'd still be easy for you to picture it. That mustard yellow background, the barrel, and the man in overalls seated in a wooden chair.

It's the iconic image that greets you before you approach the front porch rockers and checker boards. It's plastered on the merchandise in the country store and on the menus in the restaurant.

The cracker barrel in the logo is pretty self-explanatory, but what about the man? Who is he, and what connection does he have to the restaurant, if any at all? Some suspect he's based on Uncle Herschel or some other real-life person, as is the case with the Wendy's logo. Or, is he just a random creation intended to mimic a stereotypical Southern man sitting on his porch, waiting to welcome you inside?

Cracker Barrel's early days, before the proper logo

The first Cracker Barrel Old Country Store opened its doors in 1969 in Tennessee, without a proper logo. At the time, the simple yellow letters of the restaurant on the outdoor sign served as the unofficial logo. The idea for the store/restaurant stemmed from founder Dan Evins' desire to give travelers an opportunity to rest, enjoy a warm meal, and buy things that reminded them of home.

It didn't take long for word to spread about the restaurant, with its from-scratch cornbread, turnip greens, and other Southern cuisine items. Evins' uncle Herschel, "the soul of Cracker Barrel,” also played a major role in the store's increasing popularity. He used his personal experience with Southern country stores to create the same pleasant, welcoming experience for diners and shoppers.

You might recognize his name from the breakfast menu at Cracker Barrel: Uncle Herschel's Favorite. Yes, it's the same Uncle Herschel, but contrary to popular belief, he is not the man in the logo.

The logo, from napkin to fruition

By 1977, a dozen more Cracker Barrels were added throughout the country, but still without a proper logo. And founder Dan Evins decided it was time for a revamp. He teamed up with a Nashville-based graphic designer, Bill Holley, to share his vision for the logo.

Evins wanted something to represent the same nostalgia that the stores did, so Holley sketched his idea on a napkin, which included a man in overalls. According to The Focus, the men found someone (nicknamed "old timer") who resembled the man in overalls and asked him to pose for an illustration, one that wasn't one on a napkin. The image eventually became what is now the iconic Cracker Barrel logo you see today.

The logo was updated in 2006 with some minor tweaks, as shown in the feature photo of this story. In 2015, it was modified again with some more obvious changes; the man in the chair was made a little taller, and the font was altered. Will more adjustments to the logo be made in the future? It's possible, but for now, the "old timer" in overalls is here to stay.