Cracker Barrel & Waffle House

No trip to the Old South would be complete without a stop at one or both of these fine dining establishments. And while native Southerners might scoff at that statement, trust me, to a couple of born and bred Californians, these places are downright exotic!

Cracker Barrel!

Cracker Barrel serves heaping, artery-clogging portions of fried, boiled, and mashed Southern staples. It’s not great food by a long shot, but, depending on what you order it can be pretty tasty (the Chicken Fried Chicken pictured below is amazing — the chicken and dumplings, a little less so) and the prices can’t be beat.

Plus, you literally can’t miss the place…we counted almost 20 locations on the drive from Raleigh to Nashville alone. But the real star of Cracker Barrel is the front porch and Old Country Store.

Chicken Fried Chicken Dinner

Just the fact that they have a wrap-around front porch at all is cool enough, but when you couple that with the fact that they actually sell the rocking chairs (most start at around $149.99) out there, well, how can you not love this place?

And the porch is just the beginning. Step inside the swinging front doors and you find yourself in a country store straight out of “Little House On The Prairie”.

The Old Country Store

Loaded with cool vintage candies, jams, toys, Southern spices and seasoning packets, cookbooks and a plethora of John Deere merchandise for the home, this place rocks. And, since they have been a proud sponsor of the Grand Ole Opry since 2004, their collection of Cracker Barrel exclusive CD’s leaves Starbucks decidedly in the dust. So, go for the food, but stay for the store. And no, the rocking chairs do not count as a carry-on item. We tried.

Now, for the pinnacle of our vacation breakfasts, our old standby…Waffle House.

Waffle House!

Simple, cheap and delicious, Waffle House is truly heaven-sent. Where else on this planet can you get a single freshly poured waffle for only $2.70! Yeah, you heard me, Denny’s, $2.70! Incredible!

Anyway, I usually order the chocolate chip waffle ($.35 extra, but worth it) with a side of eggs and hashbrowns and Christine gets the pecan waffle with a side of bacon. But everything we’ve ever tried there is fantastic. And that sweet slab of country ham pictured below is like, death-row-inmate-final-meal spectacular! A must try!

Chocolate Chip Waffles & Country Ham!

And when you go make sure to bring tons of quarters, because aside from the kick-ass breakfast selections, most locations also have a jukebox. And this is no ordinary jukebox, friends, for this one comes equipped with a whopping two rows of songs about Waffle House. Seriously!

This place is so good, people write songs about it! And the music is great. None of the singers are really famous or anything, but the songs are hilarious: “I’ll Take Mine With Hashbrowns”, “Working At The Waffle House”, and our all-time favorite, “Grill Operator” sung to the tune of Sade’s “Smooth Operator”. Trust me, you never heard music like this at McDonalds. True road trip classics!

Waffle House jams!

So, save the fancier, bigger-budget food for dinner and get yourself some Waffle House waffles ASAP. You won’t be disappointed!

On the web front, Cracker Barrel has a pretty cool website with tons of hillbilly stuff for sale and an e-mail newsletter called Front Porch News, which sounds kinda rad.

But if you really wanna experience these places online, check out the Waffle House tunes for yourself at:



Filed under Eat

9 responses to “Cracker Barrel & Waffle House

  1. James

    I can’t wait to try Waffle House someday. Sounds delish. And I never heard that about the jukebox before. (Where have I been?)

    Cracker Barrel? Not so much. Just knowing that you guys spent money there makes me feel like making a contribution to GLAAD! 🙂

  2. James

    My God that ham looks good!

  3. Kemosabe

    The Waffle House ROCKS! Anyplace that can cook your hashbrowns 3,538,944 different ways can’t be bad!

    (Make mine ‘Scattered all the way’, if you please!)

  4. Tom F. Romero

    Courtney and I had a great breakfast there this summer I beleive. You can check with her to be sure. Anyway it was delicious.


  5. yeti9000

    Yeah, I think we ate at the same one you guys did. De-licious! And, Rob, you must tell me what ‘scattered all the way’ is, it sounds amazing!

  6. Kemosabe

    ‘Scattered all the way’ means your ‘taters are scattered on the grill (instead of cooked in a little retaining ring), with diced onions (‘Smothered’), American or Swiss Cheese (‘Covered’), Bryan Ham (‘Chunked’), Bert’s Chili (‘Topped’), Diced Tomatoes (‘Diced’), Jalepeno Pepper Rings (‘Peppered’), and Mushrooms (‘Capped’).

    A little country gravy on the side, and you’re all set.

  7. yeti9000

    Oh my God…I never knew such beauty existed in the world. I am so trying that next time we’re in N.C.. Wow!

  8. Can someone tell me who sings “Grill operator” – a Waffle House song ??

    Thanks alot!

  9. yeti9000

    Hey, Gareth!

    Thanks for your comments, man. “Grill Operator” is probably my favorite of all of the Waffle House tunes, and though it took some serious digging to find — a Google search was useless! — I looked closely at a picture I took of the jukebox at a WH in Tampa, Florida and there it was!

    The official title of the song is actually “Grill Operator/Waffle House” and according to the label on the jukebox, it is sung and/or written by Bill Kahler, Billy Lee Cox and the WH Singers. Don’t know who did what in the song, but man alive, that thing is a classic!!

    Now if I could just find somewhere to download the song, I’d be happy as a chocolate chip waffle! 🙂

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