A back-and-forth legal dispute over sign height, zoning and ample parking coupled with the 2008 recession set back the building of Frankfort’s Cracker Barrel 14 years. And while that is water under the bridge, we are guessing it won’t take nearly that long for locals to voice their opinion on whether the popular chain restaurant, which opened its doors in March 2011, should serve alcoholic beverages.

Last week, the restaurant, which is owned by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. and is located at 161 Bizzack Blvd. near Interstate 64 on the east side of town, posted a legal notice in The State Journal declaring its intention to apply for an NQ-2 Retail Drink License and a Special Sunday Retail Drink License. 

Issued by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, an NQ-2 Retail Drink License would allow the restaurant to serve wine and malt beverages by the drink on the premises. A Special Sunday Retail License enables establishments to serve distilled spirits and wine by the drink.

Currently, 33 Franklin County establishments have received Special Sunday Retail Licenses and 29 have been licensed for NQ-2 Retail Drinks. Does Frankfort really need another chain restaurant that serves alcoholic beverages?

We say no. There are plenty of other places in the area that serve beer or a glass of wine with meals. Not only is it difficult to imagine washing down “Uncle Herschel’s Favorite” with a malted beverage, but alcohol also doesn’t mix well with the wholesome, family-friendly image Cracker Barrel has crafted for itself over the years.

Consider this: Due to most Cracker Barrels’ proximity to major thoroughfares, the chain serves 230 million guests per year. About 40% of the restaurants’ clientele are travelers. Is downing a beer with a chicken n’ dumplins meal worth the risk of a drinking and driving charge, traffic accident, injury or death?

Throughout its 51-year history, Cracker Barrel has billed itself as a “friendly home-away-from-home old country store and restaurant” and remained dry. We see no reason to change that now.

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