Original Cracker Barrel building can't be restored; pieces will be used for another project

Posted at 9:41 PM, Aug 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-06 10:32:13-04

LEBANON, Tenn. (WTVF) — There is a new plan for the original Cracker Barrel restaurant, and not everyone in Wilson County is happy about the idea.

The 50-year-old building is currently sitting behind the Fiddlers Grove Historic Village at the Wilson County Fairgrounds. Crews are in the process of taking it apart. Already, the roof and addition have been removed. Work is expected to wrap up on Thursday.

The building was recently saved from demolition and moved to the fairgrounds in July. The owners donated the building to the Fiddlers Grove Historic Village, and the original plan was for it to be restored.

However, crews quickly determined the building was in poor condition and couldn’t be saved. Instead, pieces will be salvaged and used as a part of a new project that will celebrate Cracker Barrel’s history. Other pieces will also be used for employee recognition awards and at Cracker Barrel’s home office in Lebanon.

The restaurant got its start in 1969 on State Route 109 in Lebanon, and many longtime residents have fond memories of visiting there through the years.

“I grew up eating there like everybody else,” said Donna Ferraro, a Lebanon resident. “My grandmother worked for the corporation for many years.”

Many, including Ferraro had mixed feelings about the plan to tear apart the building, and only preserve pieces.

“That’s a fixture in our lives, and I don’t think they should tear it down,” added Diana Vaughn, a Lebanon resident. “When you’ve lived in this area as long as I have, you want to have memories with things, and that was a memory.”

In a statement Cracker Barrel, Inc. said, “recommissioning the building would be cost prohibitive and ultimately unsuccessful in light of its condition after decades of exposure to the elements. Under the new plan, Cracker Barrel will integrate portions of the building into another project that will celebrate Cracker Barrel and its 50 year heritage in Lebanon, TN,”

In the same news release, Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto, Fiddlers Grove Foundation treasurer Randall Clemons also said they were pleased with the new plans.

Exact details on the future project that will use portions of the building haven’t been released.