You may not have heard of Lebanon, Tennessee. Friendly and a great place to come home to. Dan Evins thought it was just the place to start a business.
While Dan working in the family gasoline business back in the late 1960s, Dan was thinking of ways to better meet the needs of folks on the road. Back in the day, the interstate system was still young and goods and services were hard to come by and often not trusted. What's more, with the rise of fast food, the little places that served up some of the real flavor of America seemed to be getting pushed out. Fast food might be a good business idea, Dan thought, but it sure wasn't a great eating idea. Truth is, Dan always saw mealtime as special, a time to spend with family, your friends, and your thoughts. Meals weren't meant to be swallowed down in three bites with a squirt of ketchup. One of Dan’s stories was to tell how, at the beginning of the dinner he remembered from childhood, his mother would let the family know they could start eating by pointing to the wide variety of country vegetables spread out across the table and saying, “Well, there’s the crop.”
He thought about simple, honest country food, and a store where you could buy someone a gift that was actually worth having.
Dan had in mind was the kind of place he'd been to hundreds of times as a boy. It was a place called the country store, something every small community once had. Out west, they called them trading posts; up north, they were general stores. Where Dan grew up, in Middle Tennessee, they were old country stores, and Dan figured maybe folks traveling on the big new highways might appreciate a clean, comfortable, relaxed place to stop in for a decent meal and some shopping that would offer up unique gifts and self-indulgences, many reminiscent of America’s country heritage.
The first Cracker Barrel location opened on September 19, 1969. Cracker Barrel was a lot like a friendly visit to a neighbor's home.
Folks liked Cracker Barrel and word got around. Soon, folks were waiting in line for turnip greens, biscuits and gravy, and all the other good country cooking that Cracker Barrel had to offer.
It didn't take long for Dan and his investors (most of whom were local friends and associates) to see a whole lot more interstate ahead of them, and by 1977 there were 13 stores, from Tennessee clear to Georgia.
Between 1980 and 1990, eighty four stores opened across the country. By the end of July 1996, there were 257 Cracker Barrel locations. And today, there are over 600 stores in 42 states, all owned by a company that has no plans for franchising so that we can maintain the consistency that our guests rely upon.
Research Source: Cracker Barrel
This is a copycat version of Cracker Barrel’s chicken tenders. This recipe is all over the internet so I’m not sure where I got the recipe from. I found the recipe long time ago.
Honey Italian Glaze Chicken Tenders
Copyrighted 2013, Christine’s Pantry. All rights reserved.
12 chicken tenders
1 cup Italian dressing
3 teaspoons honey
Combine Italian dressing and honey.
In a gallon zip lock bag, add chicken tenders. Pour dressing over chicken. Place in the refrigerator. Marinade 4 hours.
In a skillet over medium heat, add chicken and the marinade, cook until liquid has evaporated. You want a little bit of the glaze left in skillet. When the chicken is cooked through. Remove from skillet and serve. Enjoy!