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.