Bob Evans: Middle America, Smothered in Gravy

Bob Evans: Down on the Farm

Bob Evans: Down on the Farm

If there is one thing I love about traveling through America, especially in the midwest, it’s sampling the foods and restaurants that you cannot find in New York.  It seems that the further west or further south you drive, the more fattening and sinfully good the grub gets.  It is a guilty pleasure of mine as I can’t resist the opportunity to dine in at a place that only exists in states that say, lack an adequate public transportation system, have city populations under a hundred thousand, and tend to be in a red state.  Nonetheless, it is an experience for those who love travel, people, or food that doesn’t tend to be gluten-free.

Throughout the midwest and the south, you’ll find Bob Evans, a well-known diner chain like Denny’s and IHOP.  While you’ll find its brand of ground sausage and side dishes at almost every grocery store, it is a regional eatery that you won’t find in all fifty states like McDonalds and Burger King.  The first time I ate here was back in 2003 when my dad and I went to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.  Besides a good meal, we were more amused at how adorably hokey and down home it looked on the inside.  The interior had white picket fences, farm-themed silhouettes, and containers of gravy to take home.  If only there was a gift shop and some rocking chairs, it’d be the Cracker Barrel.

One thick bowl of cheddar potato soup (which my dad referred to as Elmer’s Glue soup), two orders of sausage gravy and biscuits, and a pot roast order later, and our bellies were full!  My dad and I may have fallen into a food coma, but it was worth it!  That gravy is something you just don’t get any diner in New York or at any supermarket on Long Island.  Sometimes, you gotta go way out of town to get the good stuff, or in this case, the forbidden stuff.

It wouldn’t be for another 13 years until I made my way back into Bob Evans while I was on a conference trip in Columbus, OH.  In the nearby suburb of Dublin, I found one which was right across the street from, of all places, a Ferrari and Fiat dealership.  Italian luxury cars and sausage gravy?  Who’d have thunk it?!  After about ten minutes of waiting for brunch to come my table, it dawned on me that I was the youngest patron in the joint.  Not counting the wait staff, especially this cute girl who took my order who was in her late 20’s or early 30’s, almost every other customer was at least 50 or older, 45 at the least.  It was almost like a scene out of a Norman Rockwell painting, only with more wrinkles and plaid shirts.  Like an Edward Hopper painting but minus the cocktails and with more fried food.  Still, regardless of the age difference, everyone was either too full or too busy eating to care.  One bowl of that potato soup and you will know why; it takes a while to finish that bowl of starchy goodness!

If you happen to be road tripping through the heartland of America, and you have a craving for sausage, sweets, soup, or a need to whine and dine in a senior tableau setting that would make The Golden Girls blush, just look for the Bob Evans sign off the highway.  One thing that both East coast Americans and Middle Americans can agree on: gravy makes everything taste better!

About admin

I am a graduate of Stony Brook University, and I have a degree in History. I am an avid traveler, with an extensive knowledge of geography, a passion for photography, and a knowledge of animals too. I enjoy pop music of the 1980's, fine dining, movies, baseball, basketball, and rugby.
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