Here's What Happened To The Very First Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store gained its footing in 1969 when it planted its feet in the town of Lebanon, Tennessee, per the official website. Eight years later, the restaurant expanded to include 13 stores in Kentucky, Georgia, and the surrounding areas. Fast forward to 2021 and the business reports to have grown to include 664 locations in 45 states.

Besides the franchise owners themselves, nobody would know about every location as well as Ray and Wilma Yoder, a couple that has visited every single Cracker Barrel restaurant, according to Wide Open Country. Their quest began more than 40 years ago, yet their favorite menu items, which include some of the best foods you can order at Cracker Barrel, have remained the same – meatloaf, pancakes, and grilled chicken sandwiches.

 According to The Tennessean, the couple marked each location they visited on a map, stopping by famous landmarks on the way. Because they completed their journey of dining at every restaurant, it's obvious they stepped foot in the most iconic one of all — the first one.

A new beginning for the original Cracker Barrel

The Cracker Barrel that started it all was located on State Route 109 in Lebanon, Tennessee (per The Tennessean). Founded by Danny Evins, the original restaurant, which included a gift shop and gas station, is estimated to have closed in 1984. Unfortunately, after transporting it to Wilson County Fairgrounds with an original plan to restore it for Fiddlers Grove Historic Village, it was pronounced irreparable. After years of weather exposure and general use, the building had deteriorated.

Luckily, the legacy won't be completely lost. According to a 2019 Cracker Barrel press release, portions of the building will be stripped apart and used for a different project. "While we would have loved to have been able to place the building within Fiddlers Grove, it became apparent that this was not going to be a viable project, and we appreciate that Cracker Barrel was able to step in," Randall Clemons, Fiddlers Grove Foundation Treasurer said.