This November, I decided to satisfy my craving for pancakes by visiting a staple for many of those who both travel and love breakfast – Cracker Barrel. For me, going to Cracker Barrel is always a rare treat because there aren’t any locations on Long Island, where I grew up. Imagine my joy in discovering, then, on a recent road trip to Connecticut, that Cracker Barrel and its all day, everyday breakfast are a mere three hours from home!
The East Windsor location is – as many Cracker Barrels are – tucked away in a parking lot next to a hotel, just off the highway. As soon as you pull in, you are greeted by the all-familiar rocking chair-lined porch leading up to the entryway. For those who have never been to a Cracker Barrel before – a problem that you need to rectify as soon as possible – every Cracker Barrel is set up virtually the same way. While it is easy to get distracted by the many adorable country-style gifts clustered cozily together at the front of the store, the avid pancake eater should take a sharp left diagonal from the entrance to reach the restaurant part of the store.
The restaurant area of Cracker Barrel is almost universally marked by super-friendly waiters and waitresses, a casual country atmosphere, an extensive menu with low prices for enormous portions of food, and really fast service. The East Windsor location was no exception. It is worth repeating that although Cracker Barrel does have delicious lunch and dinner options, its breakfast menu is served throughout the day, so you can get pancakes anytime the craving hits.
The menu has a variety of pancake options, from good ole buttermilk to pancakes served with a variety of fruit toppings, including apples, blackberries, and peaches. (All of these can also be easily and cheaply supplemented with your choice of meat, eggs, and/or fruit, if you’re looking for a complete pancake feast.) I went, however, for my favorite pancake on the menu: the wild blueberry pancake.
Unlike the fruit-topped varieties, the blueberry pancakes are loaded with blueberries inside and out. They are also served with a full mini-jar of blueberry syrup (about half of which is usually left over, which you can then take home with you) and a scoop of butter.
East Windsor’s pancakes did not disappoint. Although they looked a little sloppier in appearance than usual, because of the way the batter had been poured, the taste was buttery and sweet. A unique thing about ordering these pancakes at this location as opposed to others that I have been to was that the glass bottle of blueberry syrup had been warmed, keeping the syrup hot as I (liberally) poured it over the pancakes. The scoop of butter that was slowly melting over the pancake as I ate it was good but almost too much, in light of the buttery taste of the pancake itself; I ended up setting most of the scoop aside. My order included two large pancakes, which was more than I could finish; despite my best efforts, much of the second pancake went uneaten.
All in all, I was extremely happy with the way East Windsor served up my old favorite. I highly recommend that if you have not given these a try, you be sure to include a Cracker Barrel stop on your next road trip, especially if you’re in the East Windsor area. And don’t forget that when you’re finished with that day’s pancake adventure, you can revisit the gift shop afterward for Cracker Barrel’s own line of ready-to-go pancake mixes and syrups to take the magic home!