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Cracker Barrel Café in Paradise marks 1st year under Drews’ management

September 25th, 2009 Posted in Business

By Seili Lewis

PARADISE — What is the secret to running a successful business in a small town off the beaten path? John Drew says the secret is paying attention to details; there are lots of little things. Details like service, friendly servers, fresh food, hot food and cleanliness.

Drew and his wife bought and refurbished the old Cracker Barrel Café and Catering in Paradise about a year ago. The restaurant is commonly known by the locals as the Cracker Barrel, not to be confused with the chain of restaurants called the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Restaurant. The business is growing now, and has been around since the 1960’s. Although it was under several different managements over the years, the restaurant has been able to keep itself in business.

The Cracker Barrel has been cleaned up quite a bit in the year since Drew and his wife took over the management. Drew said the restaurant had a history of being dirty and the food was greasy. The Drews kept several items from the old menu and dressed them up; they tried to keep up people’s favorite parts of the Cracker Barrel’s history. The memories of many people in Cache Valley are likely to have a small section dedicated to time spent eating and enjoying the small town aesthetics of a place like the Cracker Barrel.

Another key to the Cracker Barrel’s success is freshness. Most of the food at the restaurant is purchased from local businesses to guarantee freshness, quality and doing their part in supporting local business like themselves.

The restaurant enjoys the luxury of hands-on ownership; Drew and his wife try their best to make it in to the restaurant at least once in a business day. Customers are also able to enjoy the view as they dine. The restaurant has several large windows rather than solid walls which gives the diner a better view of the countryside that they’ve driven so far into to reach the estaurant. Live music and the small town appeal bring in several of the city folk but a lot of the customers that regularly frequent the business are locals. The restaurant also has a unique opportunity being one of the only sit-down establishments for several miles. There are a few fast food chains in Hyrum, the closest town, but the nearest dine-in restaurant is in Providence.

The restaurant thrives on repeat business and word of mouth. They also sponsor several of the local sports teams, and use the local radio station for advertising. The restaurant is coming up on its one-year anniversary, to celebrate its re-opening under the management of the Drews. They plan to have the radio station broadcast live from the restaurant and advertise a special on their famed prime rib.

Many people drive miles out of their way on a Friday or Saturday evening just to get a taste of what some people say is the best prime rib in the state, Ty Lewis said. Lewis is the sous-chef at the Cracker Barrel Café and Catering. Some of the regulars come from as far away as Salt Lake City, most however are locals who have loved the timeless recipes since their childhood; which brings us to the final secret to success. The final and most important secret to success for a business like the Cracker Barrel is not in the spices it uses but in the overall attention to detail and improving on a history.

The Cracker Barrel has been an important part of the community in Paradise for over fifty years now and many of its faithful customers remember it from their childhood. The sentimentality of the restaurant and the friendships created between owner and customer are the most important aspect of a business surviving in a small town.

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