The rocking chairs are lined up on the porch at the ready, and on Monday morning, Wichita’s first Cracker Barrel will open at Kellogg and Ridge.
But on Friday morning, city officials and a few VIPs got a sneak preview of the restaurant, the first new Kansas Cracker Barrel that the chain has opened in 20 years.
The 10,000-square-foot restaurant has two sections. Customers walk into the retail shop, which is filled with gift items, clothing, candy, home decor and more. At the moment, it’s all decked out for the Christmas season, and there’s a section that sells Kansas-specific items, from sweatshirts to books to coffee mugs.
Next door is the large dining room, with high ceilings and a giant wood-burning fire place. The walls are covered in homey decor including several things that pay homage to Wichita’s heritage, including a Cowtown sign.
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The general manger is Bryan Houk, a Garden City native who was working at Cracker Barrels in Oklahoma City before moving to Wichita to open the new store. He said that the new restaurant seats 180, and it’s the 658th restaurant in the chain.
Wichita’s vice mayor Bryan Frye spoke at the gathering on Friday, which also included a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
“We’re always glad to welcome new business to our community, especially ones that co-align with our way of thinking — that’s friendliness, providing good service, and hard work,” he said. “Then you add in the fact that they serve bacon, and I don’t think i need to say anymore.”
Starting on Monday morning, the restaurant will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
It was built on the site of the former Palace West Theatre, . The only other Cracker Barrel in the Wichita area is at 995 E. 61st St. North.