If you lived anywhere near Ohio in the last 50 years, it would be hard to escape the name of Bob Evans.
The distinctive “Steamboat Gothic” red and white signature restaurants that bear his name number over 600 now, and are spread throughout about 20 states, primarily in the Midwest.
So having grown up with this brand – and the wonderful sausages that are key to its success – we were curious to see where it all began. The slogan and song end with “Bob Evans — down on the farm.” Early advertising featured Bob and his family in their own kitchen, cooking up some sausages or having them for dinner.
So we got to see the actual farm and the showcase restaurant, located in Rio Grande, Ohio. The lovely farm is still in operation, but the Evans family moved away from their home after too many people thought they could just drop in for dinner. Sometimes you can just be too folksy.
The house is now an exhibit about the business and its growth. Fortunately, we didn’t get to see the sausage being made, but we have always considered it top-of-the-line.
And for all our Welsh friends out there, you will be glad to know that Bob was one of those Evanses – and evidently had many countymen in the area. And what about the fact that the only center for Welsh studies in North America is located here? Go know! (This should give all you Welsh a good reason to come here.)
So we have finally been “down on the farm” and seen where Bob and the business started. We had a nice moment of nostalgia – and a nice taste of the sausage!