Cracker Barrel is the only major restaurant chain catering to low-carbers
On my recent trip from Spartanburg, South Carolina to Nashville, Tennessee for that obesity conference I attended there, Christine and I stopped for lunch in Lebanon, Tennessee at the Cracker Barrel franchise. I've always been a fan of these unique restaurants because of their reputation for being a fun, family-friendly place for good down-home cooking.
In fact, when we went on vacations in the 1980's, my mom often took us kids to Cracker Barrel because she knew we could occupy ourselves playing the little peg game, browsing around in the Old Country Store, or playing checkers on that big board outside while rockin' in those famous chairs lined up along the front. This place brings back a lot of happy memories for me, especially all those plates of homemade Chicken 'N Dumplins I downed. :)
But, now I'm in my mid-30's and that option isn't on my low-carb lifestyle anymore (gladly so!). Most places I have to come up with my own low-carb menu choices and they work with me to make that work. But have you been to Cracker Barrel lately? Not only do they make options available for low-carbers, but they actually CATER TO US with our own low-carb menu items! WOW!!!
Look for the "Low Carb Offerings" section of the Cracker Barrel menu
When I opened up the menu for Breakfast, I was flabbergasted that they actually used the phrase "low-carb" on their menu. Now that's a switch considering restaurants like Ruby Tuesday are running away from the low-carb market. And yet there it was staring me right in the face--"Low Carb Offerings" for Breakfast.
They explain why they have this separate low-carb section on their menu.
"Here at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store we know that many folks are watching what they eat, so we’ve prepared some of our favorite choices with fewer carbohydrates. From our Country Grilled Sampler to our Double Meat Breakfast, you can enjoy a low carb breakfast without sacrificing great taste."
Incredible!!! They also offer a lower-carb whole wheat bread option with "real butter and low sugar fruit spreads" for those who prefer to eat a few more carbs, but still want to watch their carbohydrate intake. They even offer Splenda as a sugar substitute--surprisingly, this is something not all the chain restaurants have done yet.
But wait, there's more! :)
Cracker Barrel also has a "Low Carb Offerings" for Lunch & Dinner with a whopping 11 genuinely low-carb meals to choose from, including roast beef, grilled chicken tenderloins, spicy grilled catfish, grilled steak salad, and so much more. These meals range from 0-10 carbs each--well within anyone's definition of a low-carb meal!
"We know many folks are watching what they eat, so we've prepared some of our favorite dishes with less carbohydrates. All salads served without croutons."
They even offer Blue Cheese crumbles as an added low-carb delight to any of their low-carb dishes. Side items that are excellent for people who are livin' la vida low-carb include Green Beans, TABASCO® Spiced Pork Rinds, Turnip Greens, and Tossed Salad with Blue Cheese, Peppercorn (my favorite!), or Buttermilk Ranch dressing.
While restaurants like Applebee's try to sneak in a low-carb menu item without explicitly calling it that, it's nice to know that at least one of America's top sit-down restaurants actively markets themselves to the low-carb dieter. With companies like Subway taking away our favorite low-carb menu items, perhaps the time has come to spend more money at Cracker Barrel.
Is it any coincidence that Cracker Barrel is the leader of their genre of restaurant for the past several years? They're innovators for the restaurant industry to mimic. As a strong support of the low-carb lifestyle, all I can say to them is THANK YOU for getting it and reaching out to people who are trying to limit their carb consumption. You don't know how good it feels to have a company willing to at least acknowledge our wants and needs with a menu that's actually low-carb.
The only complaint I have (and it's minor) is there are no low-carb dessert options. Ruby Tuesday used to have an outstanding cheesecake which had only 2g net carbs and was out of this world. Now, we're left with restaurants like the Olive Garden pushing a "no sugar added" dessert for diabetics and low-carb dieters that has an eye-popping 69g carbs in it!
EEEEEEK! We'd love to have a real low-carb dessert, Cracker Barrel, although I realize you sell some sugar-free, low-carb candy products in your country store. Just some food for thought to tweak your low-carb menu even more.
We appreciate your decision to include the low-carb customer in your in-store marketing efforts and it will not go unnoticed during the upcoming summer vacation season. I challenge everyone who supports livin' la vida low-carb to be on the lookout for Cracker Barrel restaurants along your traveling path this summer (they're EVERYWHERE!) and make an effort to stop in early and often to show them our support for being a low-carb diet utopia.
And if you appreciate Cracker Barrel's decision to meet your needs as a low-carber, then be sure to let them hear from you about it. Express your appreciation to them by writing or calling TODAY! Then go pay a visit to see for yourself what an awesome low-carb menu they have!