Stephen Hamway
The Bulletin

A new commercial development has been proposed for the north end of Bend, and it could be anchored by two Southern restaurant chains: Cracker Barrel and Chick-fil-A.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, a Tennessee-based chain that sells Southern food and apparel, filed a preliminary application with the city to build its first store in Bend. The restaurant would be located on the east side of U.S. Highway 97, between Chavre Way and Robal Road.

The Cracker Barrel store would be part of a larger development known as Robal Road Village, which is slated to occupy 6.42 acres of currently undeveloped land. Aaron Henson, senior planner with the city, said the rest of the development will be a mix of restaurant and retail. Henson added that the city has had preliminary discussions with the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A Inc. about opening a restaurant in the development.

A spokesman for Georgia-based Chick-fil-A confirmed it’s looking at Bend as a location for future stores but would not comment further.

Likewise, Breeanna Straessle, the manager of corporate communications for Cracker Barrel, would not comment about opening a store in Bend.

Both restaurant chains have made expanding to the Western United States a priority in recent years. A company filing with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stated that one of Cracker Barrel’s long-term goals is expanding into new parts of the country.

“Recently, our target markets have been expanded to include markets that are outside of our existing core markets and in states where we currently do not have existing operations …” the company’s annual report reads.

Founded in 1969 in Lebanon, Tennessee, Cracker Barrel offers a wide variety of food, from pancakes to chicken and dumplings, according to the company’s website. In addition, the chain maintains gift shops that sell a mix of merchandise, from candy to wooden rocking chairs.

Straessle added that Cracker Barrel has 640 stores across 43 states, but it had no stores on the West Coast until recently. She wrote in an email that the chain plans to open multiple locations in the Portland metro area in 2017.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to deliver the unique experience that makes Cracker Barrel so popular to new guests,” Straessle wrote.

In Bend, plans call for a 9,113-square-foot store at the northern end of Robal Road Village, which will also feature a 1,284-square-foot covered porch. Henson said a meeting on the preapplication is scheduled for Thursday.

Henson added that Chick-fil-A would occupy a 4,998-square-foot storefront on the western edge of the development. Chick-fil-A was founded in Atlanta in 1964 and specializes in serving chicken sandwiches. The store operates more than 1,900 restaurants in 42 states, including two locations in Oregon, in Clackamas and Hillsboro.

Robal Road Village will also have 14 retail storefronts and another restaurant, according to plans filed with the city. Henson said there is no timeline for breaking ground at this point.

— Reporter: 541-617-7818,