Despite being cramped in our minivan for hours on end, there was always one thing I knew I could look forward to while going on road trips with my family: enjoying a delicious pit stop at one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Cracker Barrel. I still keep an eye out for their billboard to this day.

Not only was the food as scrumptiousasour big extended family meals back home, but my brother and I knew we could challenge each other to games of checkers in front of the fireplace and test our smarts with the often-frustrating peg game at the table.

The country store has been filling our stomachs with comfort food for decades now, but there is much more to this beloved Southern-style staple than their charming dining options and quaint gift shop items.

Scroll through these surprising, must-know facts below to learn more about this incrediblespot for some yummy chicken and dumplings.

Did we miss any of your favorite little-known facts about the family restaurant? Leave us a comment and be sure to SHARE with your loved ones!

Thumbnail source: CrackerBarrel.com

1. Back In The Day, You Could Gas Up After You Ate

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Founder Dan Evins worked as a salesman for Shell Oil before opening the restaurant in 1969. Inspired by the country stores he remembered from his youth, Evins placed his first establishment in Lebanon, TN. He builtensuing locationsalong busy interstates and highways to attract travelers with both food and gas.

2. Each Store Is Unique

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You might think you can walk into any Cracker Barrel and theyd all look exactly the same, with charming reminders of the past lining the wallsbut youd be wrong! Evins asked a local couple, Don and Kathleen Singleton, to find antique items from local stores for his first store, and now their son, Larry, continues their legacy by running the Decor Warehouse at the Tennessee headquarters.

3. But 5 Things Remain The Same

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There are five items you can find no matter which franchise you find yourself in: an ox yolk and a horseshoe hanging over the front door, a traffic light over the restrooms, a rifle over the mantel, a wall telephone next to the mantel, and a cracker barrel with a checkerboard in front of the fireplace.

4. Ever Wonder What A Cracker Barrel Even Is, Anyway?

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The 19th-century stores that Evins was inspired by were known for their stocks of soda crackers, which they stored in barrels. Over time, it became a custom for their guests to gather around the barrel to catch up and socialize, which is where the title comes from.

5. People Really, Really Love Their Chicken And Dumplings

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According to statistics, the scrumptious comfort food dish is ordered by roughly 11 million diners each year.

6. But Not As Much As They Love The Rocking Chairs

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The American-made seats are craftedby the Hinkle Chair Company, also based in Tennessee, a family business thathas been churning out the iconic chairs for five generations and the chairs have been Cracker Barrels top seller for years.

7. They Tried To Mix Things Up Back In The ’90s

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Though theyre famous for their Southern charm, the kitchens added bagels to their Northeast branches and tortilla dishes to those in the Southwest. They didnt really catch on and havent been seen since.

8. You Should Definitely Try Their Sweet Secret Menu Item

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Milkshakes! You wont find themprinted on the menu pages, but if you ask your server for one, they are happy to whip up the classic ice cream treat for you.

9. They Even Earned A Gold Record

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The restaurant franchise has dabbled in the music business for several years now, but thanks to Southern country queen Dolly Parton releasing her 2012 two-disc albumAn Evening with…Dolly Liveon their label, theyre certified hit-makers, too!

And if you’re like me and never could figure out that infuriating peg game, watch the videobelow for a handy guide tosolving it inunder one minute.

Let us know if we missed your favorite fun factsabout Cracker Barrel, and don’t forget to SHARE with your loved ones!

Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/cracker-barrel-facts/

Cracker Barrel: 9 Things You Never Knew About Your Favorite Comfort Food Stop
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