Cracker Barrel Not Coming to Town

Restaurant and Old Country store respond to rumors

Despite rumors to the contrary, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Restaurant representatives said they do not plan on opening a Toms River location at this time.

Several Toms River Patch visitors have mentioned rumors that a Cracker Barrel could be part of the Dover Mall renovations at Route 166 and Route 37; or could find home in other development projects or vacant anchor sites in Toms River. Many said they'd love to have a Cracker Barrel in town.

But Jeanne Ludington, a spokeswoman at the company’s headquarters in Lebanon, Tenn., said while they're happy to hear of the interest, the rumors are not true.

"We're flattered that people are asking about us, but we don't have any plans on coming to the Jersey shore at this time," she said in a telephone interview. The publicly traded company currently operates more than 590 restaurant and old country stores in 41 states.

All locations are operated by the company and are not available for franchising.  Cracker Barrel has six locations in New Jersey. The closest is about 38 miles from Toms River in Hamilton Township. The trip up I-195 takes about 50 minutes.

Lundington — who is a New Jersey native — said Cracker Barrel's real estate office has made note of requests in the Toms River area before.

"From what I know,  they've already received a number of requests for a restaurant in the area," she said. "In the mean time, it's always nice to be wanted somewhere, especially in this economy."

Following visitor suggestions, Patch has also reached out to Trader Joes, Wegmans, and Whole Foods to find out if their real estate plans involve Toms River stores. We'll have details on their response in the coming days.

Jim George February 21, 2011 at 06:06 PM
Having a Cracker Barrel here would've been a real treat .. But, driving to Hamilton is still worth the trip ... Should be lucky we even have one that's relatively close by ...
Diane Clayton February 21, 2011 at 06:33 PM
Oooh! I'll be anxious to hear what TJ's Wegmans and WF have to say.
Monique February 22, 2011 at 12:39 AM
Not for nothing, but if a "SUPER Shop Rite" is going in that plaza, why oh why would anyone even think about putting another grocery store on the same piece of real estate. I mean really. Use your brains people lol
Diane Clayton February 22, 2011 at 01:29 AM
Well, Monique... there are other pieces of real estate in the area. It doesn't have to be at the same site.
Joseph Hyer February 22, 2011 at 01:33 AM
Monique. There have been several comments where visitors have asked if those chains were coming to TOWN. The shopping center has just been a catalyst in this sense.
MIC February 22, 2011 at 12:55 PM
TR gets screwed again!
George February 22, 2011 at 03:21 PM
Trader Joe's or any other anchor-size store would start the wrecking ball rolling for a revitalization of Rt. 37 toward the bridge. See the "eyesore" story. Somebody wake up the mayor & council, who should be on this like a 500-lb. gorilla! Now's the time, when commercial real estate is about to start a comeback, to designate that forlorn and forsaken stretch of eyesores for redevelopment. Snooki's fans from all over the east would shop there!
Carol Aller February 22, 2011 at 04:22 PM
Having eaten at a Crackle Barrel a few years ago, I'm just not a fan. Once was enough for me. Food tastes like bad fat laden diner food from the 50's, but that's just one person's opinion...mine. However, I'm sure many people like it and would gladly spend their money at that establishment. We need commercial ratables big time. We need to find out why most major chains go to Brick. More available land? Then Toms River needs to get some stores and restaurants to go into buildings that are already here, just sitting there... empty. We need to get rid of these vacancies, as well as all the gas station eye sores in this town. Our town council needs to get it's priorities straight to generate commercial ratables to help the drowning taxpayers. I've heard this song for years and I'm getting old waiting.
omad February 22, 2011 at 10:46 PM
Ah Monique, do you always talk down to people? The whole theme of comments on this site seems to be "do something different". The same old, same old will not elevate the present situation. Toms River needs to realize "the times they are a changing". Shop Rite was located on the corner many, many years ago, when Toms River was thought of as a bit backward and having no vision of the future. To just plop another one back on the site with nothing around it to bring new people in for to buy a good book, pick up a bite to eat or a good meal will not change the scenario. I don't mean an Applebee's, etc., We have so many of them. And a Barnes & Noble with a nice cafe could become a real destination.
omad February 22, 2011 at 10:47 PM
So true, George. It could be a real catalyst to change.
George February 23, 2011 at 12:14 AM
Yes, Carol... I thought Republican politicans were supposed to be pro-business. Are the owners of the eyesores election campaign contributors -- so the township's inspectors and enforcers will look the other way? It's simply amazing that every half-intelligent citizen can see something must be done about Rt. 37, yet the politicians don't see it and the municipal staff doesn't see it. "Patch," please follow up on this story and get some answers for us!
Jeanne Gearity February 23, 2011 at 05:42 PM
As I have gotten older and hopefully wiser, I realize that if something does not make sense you have to look for the money angle. Once you follow the money trail it all becomes clear. For fear of sounding like a walking cliche' ..."he who has the most money wins". The owners of all these 'eyesores' all over town.....those who are being paid off to look the other way.....the Shoprites----we need another shoprite like we need another pizza place or Chinese take-out....and the Walmarts with their 'made in China' stores popping up everywhere. I wonder if these other businesses...Cracker Barrel, Whole Foods, Wegmans, Trader Joe's just don't want to move here beause they see that 'the powers that be' have the mentality of a Walmart or a same old run of the mill supermarket. Let's face it...those of us who want some changes made are destined for disappointment.
Jim George February 23, 2011 at 05:55 PM
Just a guess, but I'm thinking that Toms River will not see Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or Wegmans anytime soon .. I have noticed that those places seem to be located in "high-falutin" areas, and, to them, Toms River doesn't make the cut ... Example: Trader Joe's is opening in Shrewsbury on March 11 ...
Julie February 25, 2011 at 12:49 PM
The old Shop-Rite by the current demolotion site has been a travesty for Toms River for at least 15 years now. Considering Toms River is the county seat and that particular location is the entrance and exit of the NJ Pkwy as well as Rt 9/166, it does a dis-service to not only Toms River but all of Ocean County. What kind of patrons and vacationers are you welcoming when there are abandonded buildings and unmaintained store fronts at key locations such as this? Toms River residents are inclined to drive out of their area to go to TJ's, Wegman's etc. What does Marlton and Red Bank residents have that Toms River residents don't?
George February 25, 2011 at 12:56 PM
Smart politicians!
Don Bennett March 09, 2011 at 11:17 PM
Amen, George, amen! We have a senile old fool who has spent a career carrying all the other pols bags and cleaning up their crap and six lawyers counting their money and cheating on their taxes.
mike March 13, 2011 at 12:43 PM
Get out of NJ while you can.NJ should be called "The Nepotism State"
Tracy March 13, 2011 at 01:42 PM
What's wrong with Toms River that Cracker Barrel doesn't wanna come here, especially with all the requests. We are all excited about the new shopping center, but like most of our shopping centers I am sure it will be boring once again. We want something fun something new. Sonic would be nice too.
BN March 13, 2011 at 03:19 PM
Has it occurred to anyone that Brick may be offering sweetheart deals that undercut TR? Then there is the stigma of TR being an EPA superfund site for 30 years. I agree...let's investigate further before hurling political fecal matter.
Maureen Federici April 01, 2011 at 01:54 PM
I have been e-mailing them for years to come here. For them, this would be a gold mine. They need a wake up call, and I'm hoping it comes sometime in the near future. Its a wonderful restaurant and the gift shop is amazing. Please bring Cracker Barrel here to Toms River, we would support it, and they will benefit, trust me. Living down South for a number of years, was a place we frequented often and now living in Toms River, makes wishing it does come here some day soon. I can see, its being thought of and maybe it will happen. Lets keep pushing, all things are possible.
Jude April 02, 2011 at 11:06 PM
I agree, not only for the local's but Cracker Barrel would have a lot more business during the summer. The location is Perfect for all traveler's next to the GSP...... What is going on??? Humm????
Martin April 02, 2011 at 11:15 PM
"...many years ago, when Toms River was thought of as... having no vision of the future." Still true today. Unfortunately, the Patch readers commenting here have far more vision than our township politicians.
Martin April 02, 2011 at 11:25 PM
I'm no fan of Cracker Barrel, but why would Cracker Barrel invest in a mostly run-down highway that's "the bottom of the barrel" thanks to the laissez-faire attitude of TR politicians. A supermarket is a necessity and the other ShopRites are crowded -- but a having meal out in a restaurant is optional. How many dining patrons would come back repeatedly to the depressing environment that's Route 37? A view of dilapidated bldgs. may be OK in a cheap fast-food place, but not very appetizing. Enforce the building code, and fine the slumlords until they fix up or demolish and rebuild.
Julie April 03, 2011 at 04:51 AM
I agree with George, Carol and Martin. Considering I have lived here for almost 28 years, I can recall opting out of looking at Jackson real estate for the reasons that BN mentions. As far as business establishments declining Toms River due to a superfund site, I find that unlikely. The corporate world looks at the possible revenue. I also agree with Louis that it is probable that investors are not interested due to the many roadblocks that the local politicans have established. :-(
Herbert Butler November 16, 2011 at 06:41 AM
Cracker Barrel would help to revitalize the area and economy around Toms River, since the area has the "OLD" usual places like Applebee's, Ruby Tuesdays, and more oriental and Italian places all over, and 7 WaWa's in one area a good change would be nice, even a "Golden Corral", the one at the Shore Mall is always packed, and good food too, "better than country buffet"!
p November 23, 2011 at 08:56 PM
With those chains comes the lovely traffic that goes with it. i.e Brick. lived in Toms River for 30 years and still visit my Mom and Sisters family there. Work there 1 day out of the week too. Why bring in chains when what people should frequent more are the Mom and Pop businesses?


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