The foodservice industry mourns the passing of an entrepreneur.
Evins was a Shell Oil "jobber" in 1969 when he decided to open up a restaurant on Highway 109 in Lebanon, Tenn., the community in which he lived. The restaurant had a small gift shop attached. He named the restaurant Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® to recall the country stores of his youth in rural Tennessee where people would gather around to play checkers on top of an empty barrel that had been used to deliver crackers to the store, and catch up on the latest news in their small towns. Evins constructed a menu of Southern country cooking using many family recipes, and decided to decorate the walls with authentic antiques.
Evins served as chief executive officer from 1969 to 2001, and as chairman of the board until he retired in 2004, at which time he became Chairman Emeritus and a member of the Cracker Barrel Founders Board.