The new Cracker Barrel restaurant on Coulter Drive will open to the public, Monday, May 22.
The restaurant had a “soft opening” Friday to which a variety of public officials, business people and others were invited. Food at the Friday “soft opening” was free to those attending. A Cracker Barrel employee told NAnewsweb.com at 5 p.m. Friday that “about 700” invitees had visited the restaurant by that time of day.
Cracker Barrel operates about 650 restaurants in 43 states. It has annual revenues of approximately $2.5-billion. The New Albany restaurant is to seat about 180 customers and will employ about 175 people in full time and part time jobs.
Cracker Barrel submitted drawings and bought building permits for the construction of the new restaurant on Oct. 4, 2016. The Monday, May 22, opening comes about 7-1/2 months after the building permits were issued and is consistent with the original opening date announced then by the company.
The opening has been eagerly anticipated by local residents, and it is expected that the opening next week will be a major success. It may also result in Weight Watchers and gymnasium memberships, along with weight loss resolutions, spiking sharply early in 2018.
The new Cracker Barrel is easily visible from and sets less than 100 yards north of I-22. The New Albany Cracker Barrel will be the most visible location along the approximately 250 miles of Interstate 22 between Memphis and Birmingham. There has been a Cracker Barrel open in Tupelo for a number of years, but it sits more than a mile away from I-22 and is not visible from the interstate highway.
Coulter Drive runs generally parallel to and just north of the I-22 right of way in west New Albany. That complex intersection of Coulter Drive and I-22 with State Highway 30 is already a serious traffic bottleneck and is expected to get much worse with the Cracker Barrel opening. The City of New Albany has no plan in the works that is likely to significantly relieve the traffic congestion there in the foreseeable future.