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Sit-Down Chain Cracker Barrel Is Getting in the Fast-Casual Business

The company will soon debut a new concept called Holler & Dash

Holler & Dash/Facebook

Tennessee-based Cracker Barrel, the chain long known for its old-time country charm and opening restaurants "out by the highway," is targeting a new segment of the market. The company is launching a new fast-casual brand called Holler & Dash, reports the Tennessean, and the first restaurant will set up shop in Homewood, Ala.

The new concept is Cracker Barrel's answer to higher-end chains such as Panera Bread and Chipotle, offering counter-service and take-out. In addition to taking a more modern, trendy approach — hello, millennials — Cracker Barrel CEO Sandy Cochran tells Business Insider Holler & Dash is targeting urban customers. The first outpost is in the Birmingham metro area, which has a population of 1.1 million people, and it's taking up residence in Homewood's pedestrian-friendly downtown. The restaurant is on track to open this spring.

Further expansion plans have not yet been announced: "Currently, we are focused on this debut location," a Holler & Dash spokesperson tells Eater. The menu will focus on biscuit sandwiches, with a variety of options "to satisfy your savory cravings, as well as your sweetest tooth." Brandon Frohne, a real, live culinary professional who previously ran the kitchen at a popular Nashville restaurant, is on board as executive chef.

Cracker Barrel isn't the first national food brand to launch a new concept with an eye toward millennials. In 2014, Taco Bell created U.S. Taco Co., which was meant to attract "higher-income foodies" in Los Angeles. Cracker Barrel will hope Holler & Dash is more successful since U.S. Taco Co. shuttered after little more than a year of business.

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