I had a pleasant solo dinner at this restaurant, which is very close to several hotels off Exit 150 on I-81. In the course of a long trip, I had stopped at a hotel. During check-in, the desk clerk handed me a list of area restaurants, of which the Cracker Barrel was one. As it was a short distance from my hotel, I decided to try it.
The restaurant is in an unpromising looking building, which appears to be a corrugated metal warehouse, not a restaurant, as you approach it on the access road. The parking lot and entrance are on the side, facing away from the road. The front of the restaurant is hidden from view until you round the corner and enter the parking lot, and then you can see the pleasant, welcoming facade with its row of white rocking chairs and "down home country" atmosphere.
You must pass through the gift shop in order to enter the restaurant, but I didn't mind, as the shop has many interesting items. A quick walk took me through the gift shop to the restaurant entrance.
The restaurant was very busy, but the host gave me a quiet table by the window, where I could read my book in peace until dinner arrived. My waiter (Adrian) was a pleasant young man. He was very helpful in describing the dishes to me, so that I could avoid foods that contained dairy products (because of allergies). The food was better than I expected; I have not eaten at a Cracker Barrel in decades, and my recollection was that their food was rather mediocre. However, that was certainly not true of this meal. My dinner was fried haddock, which had a delicious light and crisp coating, along with three side dishes: a house salad (good), a baked sweet potato (very good), fried apples (excellent), and sweet tea. The haddock was especially good, very tasty and light, tender, and crisp; it was visually appealing, too. I enjoyed my dinner. When the check came, I got a real shock, because the dinner cost only $9.99 before tax and tip! For some reason, I hadn't noticed the price on the menu. At home, a meal like this (even a lunch) would cost double that, so I left an especially nice tip for the waiter.
On my way out (through the gift shop), I bought some licorice drops and horehound candy. Horehound products are hard to find in the urban area where I live, so this was a special treat.
I enjoyed my dinner at this restaurant. If I have an occasion to pass by Troutville again, I will be sure to stop by this Cracker Barrel for a meal.
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