Last weekend, while my wife and I drove home from a trip to the Grand Canyon, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Kingman, AZ.
The Cracker Barrel is a chain of restaurants that serve the usual Americana fare of breakfasts, burgers, steaks, pretty much what you might expect to find at any family-style restaurant.
But they have a "country store" that sells candies, books, clothing, knick-knacks, toys, resembling something you might expect to find on an episode of the Andy Griffith show.
They're also known for selling wooden rocking chairs that sit on display outside the restaurant on the front patio.
But it's mostly their restaurant that attracts locals.
Cracker Barrel started in 1969 with a location in Tennessee, built around an "old country store" theme where travelers could get "home style" cooking, where kids could get some candy, and moms could shop for souvenirs. And then it just spread from there.
You typically find Cracker Barrel restaurants in towns where folks still hold on to "core values", where NASCAR is always on the front page, and where people still cling to their guns and their religion.
We don't have Cracker Barrel restaurants in California, but yet the chain claims to have locations in 41 states.
Make a point to visit a Cracker Barrel for breakfast, and get one of their pancake breakfasts, which comes with three buttermilk pancakes, two eggs, and two sausage or bacon.
The pancakes have crispy edges. I think they fry them with lots of oil. In fact, I think they might fry them on the same griddle as with all the other food, because my wife's pancakes showed bits of burnt bacon. To a junk foodie, that only makes the pancakes better.
I've had pancakes at IHOP, and Denny's, and even at The Original Pancake House, and I'm sorry, but Cracker Barrel beats them out.
Visit Cracker Barrel online for locations..