By Chris Cooper
Ridley Park is now home to the 647th Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, which opened its doors this morning at 125 South Stewart Avenue. The 10,000-square-foot restaurant and retail store is the 24th in Pennsylvania, and brings nearly 200 new jobs to the area.
Cracker Barrel serves homestyle meals prepared from scratch and Wholesome Fixin’s meals, which are full-flavored options prepared with fresh ingredients for a lighter twist on favorite dishes. Breakfast is available all day, with lunch and dinner options beginning at 11 AM.
Along with dining in a warm, welcoming atmosphere, each Cracker Barrel features an old country store where guests can shop for toys, games, food items, apparel, accessories, and other unique items. The 177-seat location in Ridley Park will employ 185 workers from all over the region, including Chester, Media, and Northeast Philadelphia. General Manager Greg Tucker, a newcomer to the area, began his career at Cracker Barrel a decade ago, and has been encouraged by the support the restuarnt has received from the township’s residents.
“The community has been amazing,” he said. “When we first started coming to the area, we realized how excited they truly were. I recently went to the council building, and they were extremely welcoming and had great things to say about us. We know that the community has been waiting a long time for us to be here.”
For those unfamiliar with the menu, Tucker offered up some popular choices.
“For breakfast, the traditional favorites of eggs and ham come with our own biscuits and gravy, and our hashbrown casserole is something we’re famous for,” he said. “For lunch and dinner, chicken and dumplings is one of our signature items, along with our homemade meatloaf. Our fish fry on Fridays and homestyle chicken on Sundays are two of our really popular items on the weekend.” According to Tucker, side dishes are another menu feature that fans of the restaurant keep coming back for.
“Mashed potatoes with brown gravy is probably our most popular side item,” he said. “And our green beans, corn, and carrots – the way they’re cooked, you just can’t get them anywhere else. A lot of people come in just for our veggies.”
Another feature guests will notice is that each Cracker Barrel location is uniquely decorated with authentic artifacts, memorabilia, and signage collected by a team of Americana experts. Also, several walls in the Ridley Park store are dedicated to celebrating the community, with pieces that pay homage to the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pennsylvania Railroad. There is also the “George Washington Wall” that features a tribute to the Founding Fathers.
The new store will be open Sunday through Thursday from 6 AM-10 PM and Friday and Saturday, from 6 AM-11 PM.
Tucker, for his part, couldn’t be more excited about his new assignment that brings him to Delaware County.
“The Ridley community has been so welcoming, and we are excited to return the hospitality at their new Cracker Barrel,” he said. “We look forward to being a home-away-from-home in the area by providing high-quality, homestyle meals and shopping that’s surprisingly unique and genuinely fun.”