Cracker Barrel was founded in 1969 by Dan Evins near Lebanon, Tennessee as a way to improve gasoline sales for Shell Oil.
In the 70s, many of the restaurants were built with gas pumps on site. The chain began to do away with this practice during the gas shortage of the late 70s/early 80s.
In 1981, the company went public. By 1987, there were 50 locations in 8 states.
The company grew quickly during the 80s and 90s. By 1997, there were 314 locations.
In 2012, company founder Dan Evins died of bladder cancer.
Today, there are over 600 locations in 42 US states. The Cracker Barrel corporate office is still located in Lebanon, TN.