6659 U.S. 49
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
Date of visit: November 19, 2011
Normally I wouldn’t blog about a chain restaurant, such as the Cracker Barrel in Hattiesburg Mississippi. However, I will make this one exception. I’ll start out by saying the Hattiesburg Cracker Barrel is typical of all chain restaurants, having one thing in common, you either love it or hate it or just go because the family wants to eat there. It’s not really a Biker restaurant, it’s more like a Ma and Pa Kettle, bring grandma and kids, but leave the dog outside kind of place. They do serve decent food and you can get a little shopping out of the way if you’re so inclined. And as a plus, there’s always plenty of parking for every kind of vehicle.
At all Cracker Barrels I have found the coffee is always good and hot, the waitress ‘s name is always at a minimum, a two syllable word, and the menu selections almost never change, no matter what State you’re in.
When I think of Cracker Barrel I think of dependability, friendly and accommodating. For example if you’re in a big group they will put the tables together for you and if you’re wearing leathers they usually don’t stuff you in the back, you get the next available table.
On this six-week road trip we ate at several Cracker Barrel’s but the one that sticks out in my mine is the Cracker located right off US 49 in Hattiesburg Ms. Even though you can see it from the Freeway the restaurant is not located on the street; you have to “find” it behind some other buildings. We selected Cracker Barrel for dinner, because we were not in the mood for restaurant surprises and parking was an issue for us.
There are many restaurants in the area, but we had found in general not every restaurant is accommodating to car and trailer when it comes to parking. We had trailered our two Bikes on this trip, driving a large, Lincoln SUV with a covered trailer in tow; at times parking was an inconvenience, but not tonight because, all Cracker Barrels have designated RV parking.
That evening we pulled into the parking lot about 7:30 pm on November 19, 2011.
As we drove to RV parking, located in rear of the building, we noticed there was only one light post for the entire rear area. We also noticed there were no other vehicles parked back there. And we had just enough light to see the parking lines. It was kind of creepy.
Feeling a bit isolated, when I looked around I noticed the backside of this Cracker Barrel was open to several large, completely dark buildings. I surmised we were parked at the edge of an industrial area, an area completely deserted that time of night. From what I could see, the parking lot that stretched out to those “industrial” buildings was torn up, full of buckled road tar and scattered with broken glass. Close to the RV parking was several tractor trailers haphazardly stacked near their dumpster. They sat about 15 feet from the only light. (BTW I think every Cracker Barrel dumpster is located in the rear parking lot of the restaurant.) As I said it was creepy back there, if I worked there I wouldn’t take the garage out, not without an escort. That kind of creepy.
Once inside we were seated immediately. We ordered two Country Fried Steak dinners with ice teas to drink. Nothing special about dinner, the food was hot, prepared like Cracker Barrel Country fried steak should be. The only difference between my meal and my husbands, I don’t like gravy, as I like to taste the food, he enjoys gravy get more. I usually get gravy when I don’t order it; the cooks are probably trained that way. At this place as a plus the server got the orders correct.
As usual it was way too much food, we were both stuffed and getting sleepy. The bill followed the last fill up of ice tea, so we were in and out of there in 40 minutes.
It was really dark when we left the restaurant, even though it only 8:14pm. We walked to our SUV, climbed in and turned on the Lincoln’s overhead light to get settled. My DH decided after eating all that food, it would be much better to spend the night in Hattiesburg then venture down the road. As he called the reservation hot line for Holiday Day Inn he became completely absorbed in the call. I just waited, looking around, noting It was real quiet, not a soul in sight. Then I happen to be looking in the back of the SUV, not much of a view because the trailer was in the way, but thought I caught a glimpse of something moving, something big, and moving past the back end of the trailer.
It was something moving. It turned out to be an old beat up, large panel van, with no windows except for the l front windshield. It was difficult to see the driver through that window: not enough light. The van circled us a few times, just like Indians circling the covered wagons before the attack. My husband, completely immersed in his phone call never did see the Van until the diver pulled up right beside his door…and I said to him “there’s a man at the window. “
We had the inside lights on, so we must of shone like a beacon in the night, the inside of the Van was pitched black, who knew what lurked back there. The guy motioned my DH to roll down his window, which he did, telling the person on the phone to hold on. “Can I help you” he asked the Van driver.
“Yea do you have motorcycles?”
To which my husband replied (telling the person on the phone he will be right with them), “I’ve been known to have a few” and left it at that. And then he added “I’m busy, I’m on the phone”
The guy wasn’t leaving; he asked “Do you polish your bikes? I have some really great Bike polish I want to show you.”
The reply: “Yes I do, but I don’t need bike polish I have plenty.” (Meantime I’m singing to my husband, “shut the window, where’s the gun, get out of here”)
Van driver: “I have great polish; I want to show it to you”.
Husband, “I’m really busy right now, I’m on the phone, sorry don’t need Bike polish” and rolled up his window. Then he looked at me and said “we really don’t need Bike polish” and continued with his phone conversation.
Now I’m from New York, this guy looked like he just knocked off every 7/11 in sight. As soon as he pulled up, I would have driven away, into the light. My husband however was so occupied with his phone call he was paying attention to this guy on some other level. After a pregnant minute, the Van drove off into the dark; in conclusion and after some discussion, we decided not to stay at Harrisburg and drove to Melville instead while keeping an eye in the mirrors to make sure we weren’t followed.
I’d skip this Cracker Barrel if you’re riding. Although you might get a good deal on Bike polish – you never know.
Cost: $32.90 before tip