Review: Cracker Barrel serves up friendliness with a side of salt

Rebekah Corral, Opinions Writer

The Cracker Barrel sampler platter includes ham, meatloaf, and chicken and dumplings, as shown during the grand opening on Monday, Aug. 22, 2022. Photo by Rebekah Corral

Bakersfield welcomed its newest restaurant located just off Highway 99. Cracker Barrel Country Store serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Along with an open restaurant plan, the restaurant contains a small store offering items  such as candy, prepackaged food, and various knick-knacks. I also saw  some adorable Christmas and Halloween décor.

When I  arrived at 4:30 p.m. with my fellow foodie Carol Sue Perez, people were sitting outside in chairs spanning the entire building. I prepared myself to be handed a long wait time but was pleasantly surprised when they said it was 20 minutes or less to be seated. While waiting for our table, it was nice to enjoy the different décor and old-fashioned candy, and it did pass the time.

I must applaud all the workers there; considering this was such a busy day, multiple people came around to ensure we had everything we needed. I have been to this restaurant at its Utah location before, which caused me to be curious about how the food at this new location stacked up.

I chose a sampler meal so I could try a little of everything. Carol Sue had the chicken fried steak and hash brown casserole. The hash browns stole the show on her plate since the generous amounts of gravy weren’t to her liking.

The highlight of the evening would have to be the bacon macaroni and cheese and the broccoli cheddar casserole. The bacon macaroni and cheese had bacon, small breadcrumbs, and green onions. I am not a fan of onions on my macaroni and cheese, but they knew what they were doing. The mix of flavors tasted great; both dishes were cheesy comfort food at their best.

The candy section of the Cracker Barrel Store is connected to the restaurant, as shown during the grand opening Monday, August 22, 2022. Photo by Rebekah Corral

I love sweet potatoes, so I was thrilled to see the menu included baked sweet potatoes with cinnamon butter. It just tastes like the holidays to me. One surprise star was the peach tea that Carol Sue labeled “to die for.” However, the restaurant missed the mark with its heavily salted ham and bland chicken and dumplings.

The chain usually knocks it out of the park with these items, so opening day could be why some things didn’t make the cut. I commend the server for quickly replacing the overly salted ham with a more edible version. The meatloaf was pretty good, but nothing I would order again.

The menu items were varied and had some particularly yummy-looking breakfast options. Overall, I would recommend trying it. I give them a 6 out of 10 for their lunch options. In customer service, Cracker Barrel gets a 10 out of 10. I never had my drink go more than half empty; I received excellent, friendly and attentive service.