Construction has already began for a new Cracker Barrel restaurant in New Bern.
Construction crews have been working for months to lay the ground work for the building at the site located in a now-empty lot in front of the New Bern Mall.
Other mall businesses are looking forward to the increased foot traffic.
“It's going to pull a lot of cars off the highway and a lot of people that may have been on their way to the beach that may have just bypassed this area completely are going to be attracted to this area because of the Cracker Barrel,” said Keith Strange, manager at Annabelle’s.
Strange said the difference in menus between the two restaurants makes him confident the new chain won’t hurt business. If anything, he said it would help it.
“They’re going to draw a lot of people when they first open,” Strange said. “We’ll also catch some of their overflow when they first open.”
But not all of the businesses along that strip of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard think the new chain is beneficial.
“Everytime somebody comes into town, it worries me as a restaurant owner,” Max Woodcock, Schlotzky’s franchise owner, said.
Woodcock has owned the business in New Bern for twelve years. He said business has been good, but he can’t afford to lose customers.
“Every dollar is precious to everybody here in town,” he said, “especially with the economy.”
The new Cracker Barrel is expected to open before the end of the year.