Southern chain restaurant Cracker Barrel continues to push westwards, as the Tennessee-based chain opened its latest Portland-area location on Monday (February 26), in Beaverton.
It’s only the second opening for the chain in Oregon — the restaurant, known for all manner of Southern staples from grits and biscuits to catfish and chicken-fried steak, has stuck fairly firmly to more central parts of the country until recent years. Oregon’s first restaurant only landed less than a year ago in a Tualatin shopping center, while the first-ever California restaurant opened just a few weeks ago. Washington still remains a Cracker Barrel-free zone.
And for what it’s worth, a DC critic dubbed Cracker Barrel to be the best dining chain out there. On the flip side, the company had a Chick-Fil-A moment in the ‘90s by encouraging the firing of LGBTQ employees, and later, it was accused of racial discrimination against customers, yet the ‘Barrel has mercifully become far more reputable in the last decade or so, steering clear of controversial behaviors.
Those looking to divine where the chain will set up its next woody porch should look to the ‘burbs: in Oregon and California, Cracker Barrel has steered fairly far clear of inner-urban areas. The Victorville, California location is some 80 miles outside of Los Angeles in a small city on the highway between LA and Las Vegas — a decision that might seem to be out of left-field, but suggests that the chain has an acute sense of where its customers are, and they aren’t kale-chugging, latte-slurping downtown types.
According to the Oregonian, the Beaverton location seats around 180 people, and will employ over 175 people (across full-time and part-time positions). It’s Cracker Barrel’s 650th location, all up, meaning that elderly Indiana couple who want to visit every one of those restaurants will have to make a trip back to the west coast.