Cracker Barrel — Thornton

If you live anywhere but the West Coast, chances are you have a Cracker Barrel in the vicinity. During our time in the Denver area, we had the chance to enjoy Cracker Barrel on more than one occasion — and it’s a great alternative to the typical family restaurants like Denny’s. The food tastes homemade, the ambiance is that of a dining room in a cabin complete with a huge fireplace — perfect for a cold winter day.

Cracker Barrel locations are designed to be half country store, half restaurant. The store portion is always decorated according to season, so it’s a great place to browse for the holidays and always smells fantastic. The dining section is completely open, with wooden chairs and tables set around the room, and vintage pictures and signs hang from the walls. A large fireplace usually has a fire going during the colder months and really adds to that feeling of being warm and cozy.

Since we’ve been a few times, here are some of the dishes we recently tried:

As you can see here, breakfast is fairly simple – but it tastes homemade. The sausage patties have a smoky flavor and are super meaty, unlike the sausage links you find at other family restaurants *cough…Denny’s….cough*. The thick-cut bacon is pretty amazing, too. The biscuits. Oh, the biscuits. Buttermilk, flaky, soft, buttery — these words describe Cracker Barrel’s buttermilk biscuits. With most entrees, there is a serving of biscuits and cornbread muffins that come to the table before the meal. Do yourself a favor and ask for all biscuits. You’ll thank me later!

One thing we really love about Cracker Barrel is the seasonal menu. The minute the calender says fall or winter, you must go into the restaurant and try something off the seasonal menu — we tried the Apple Strudel French Toast breakfast and shared it, it’s that large. But oh so delicious!!

If sweet dishes aren’t your thing, then there are plenty of savory options, too. I happen to love the chicken tenders at Cracker Barrel, and when you pair it with homemade biscuits and a side of sawmill gravy — what is better than that?

If you aren’t going for breakfast, then dinner is another great time to go. There are so many amazing choices on the menu — from pot roast that just falls apart, to grilled pork chops or burgers. Each day of the week, there is a “special” entree — Jose got the fried pork chop dinner with a side of fried apples and wild rice pilaf.

I, of course, got the chicken tenders with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy. Biscuits were served and we even decided to get dessert!

Since it was our last visit to a Cracker Barrel for a while, we decided on a dessert from the seasonal menu. The dessert was Pumpkin Custard and Caramel Mousse with crushed Gingersnap cookies on top with a dollop of whipped cream. While the portion was a little small, it was a really nice end to our meal.

If you are lucky enough to be close to a Cracker Barrel, it is a place you need to try!

— Laura

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