The Central Coast’s first Cracker Barrel Old Country Store inched closer to serving up traditional Southern cuisine Wednesday night after receiving the Santa Maria Planning Commission’s blessings.
The commission approved a planned development permit for the Cracker Barrel restaurant, which is proposed for the northeast corner of Betteravia and Bradley roads in the Enos Ranch development near Lowe’s off Highway 101.
Cracker Barrel plans a 10,486-square-foot building with a covered porch. Customers will enter the building off Betteravia Road through the porch and gift shop. Drivers will use existing driveways and parking spaces at the corner of the development with Lowe’s.
“This is the traditional Cracker Barrel that you see throughout the country,” city planner Neda Zayer said.
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The large covered porch where customers can wait for seating is a signature feature for Cracker Barrel eateries, she added.
“This covered porch area will have rocking chairs for patrons to wait at as well as just create the ambiance that Cracker Barrel tries to exemplify in all of their establishments,” Zayer said.
The architecture will feature brown-paneled siding, metal roof over the porch area and goose neck lighting fixtures.
While city leaders previously approved the Enos Ranch Bradley East development, specific details related to the Cracker Barrel project were not included, requiring the review and approval Wednesday night.
Cracker Barrel likely won’t open until later this year at the earliest, but that depends how long it takes to obtain other permits, one representative said.
The restaurant’s representatives said Thursday the company had no announcements to make about opening in Santa Maria.
“As a matter of corporate policy, we don’t confirm development in new locations until the permitting process is complete and we have all necessary approvals as these things change very quickly and we would hate to be premature in confirming anything without the necessary legal approvals,” said Breeanna Straessle, corporate communications manager. “We generally confirm a new location and provide an estimated opening date once ground is broken.”
The firm reportedly plans to open six eateries in California within a two-year period.
Cracker Barrel told investors in November it planned to open eight or nine new restaurants in the nation during the 2018 fiscal year.
Established in 1969 in Lebanon, Tennessee, Cracker Barrel operates 649 company-owned Cracker Barrel Old Country Store locations in 45 states.