Pros: good food, casual atmosphere, friendly staff
Cons: none near my home!
If youve traveled a great deal by car youve probably seen a Bob Evans restaurant, even if youve never been inside of one. The tell-tale tall red and white building resembles a farmhouse or barn, giving that down-home and casual feeling as weve passed by them before. My only other experience with the chain had come for breakfast several times over the years. Until just recently, wed never stopped here for dinner.
The nearest restaurant to one of the hotels we stayed at was a Bob Evans. From my memory of the breakfast experience, it reminded me of the Friendlys restaurants we had in New York. With a hungry family of five to feed, we opted for the short drive.
The interior of the restaurant is very bright and light-colored with country-like decor. There was a section near the front set up like an old-time store with various candies for sale and some country crafts. Everything on the menu is available for take-out to be picked up here (just call it in ahead of time). Seating is usually done by a hostess. The kids menu also comes with crayons to keep the kids busy.
The restaurant was casual but pretty. It was eight oclock on a Wednesday night and we were seated immediately. The restaurant was also fairly empty.
The menu at Bob Evans is casual, but more than just sandwiches. Sure, there was the usual selection of burgers, but there are also some nice salads along with full meals. Much like Cracker Barrel, Bob Evans offers many of its main dishes with the ability to pick one or two side dishes to go along with it. This is a great way for everyone to get just what they want no worries about someone not liking what comes with their meal. One time my oldest daughter asked for a double serving of mashed potatoes instead of two different sides and that was fine.
I had the sirloin tips with noodles. The noodles were excellent - not the least bit sticky and tasty. Although I felt that I would have liked a bit more sauce and it was a bit skimpy on the meat - about six or seven tips - I was full. My daughter had the t-bone steak with a herb & garlic butter sauce on the side. It was a nice cut of meat and she sliced through it very easily. My husband had the country fried steak and devoured it with no problems. My son had the pizza and ate 3/4 of it. My other daughter had the two mini-cheeseburgers with happy-face potatoes and liked it quite well. Rolls and biscuits were brought to the table and we liked these as much as the biscuits weve gotten in other restaurants. For dessert the kids had ice cream and my husband and I split a peach cobbler - also very good.
There were enough items on the menu that we returned when another location popped up on our trip. There we had the same positive experience. I had the turkey and dressing which was very tasty. My oldest daughter (who was threatening to turn vegetarian by this point if we didnt stop eating at steakhouses) had spaghetti and meatballs which she said was good. My husband had the steak Monterey, which is a 6 oz. marinated steak grilled with onion and mushrooms and topped with Monterey-jack cheese. He said he would love to have this again if only there was a Bob Evans restaurant near out house! My younger two stuck with the same thing they had the last time pizza and mini-cheeseburgers.
The fountain drinks at Bob Evans come with refills. The waitress was attentive to this as we seemed to need refills of someones drink every time she came by our table. The service was very good overall and I have no complaints. Everyone we encountered was friendly to us.
Breakfast is served all day at Bob Evans, so even if its eight at night, if youve got a craving for an omelette or French toast or hotcakes, youre in luck. When I traveled with my Mom we stopped here for breakfast and I liked it, but Cracker Barrel is still my favorite for breakfast. However, I think I would definitely choose Bob Evans over Dennys. My few experiences with that chain have been adequate, at best.
I was very comfortable with my family in this restaurant. Our entire bill, including drinks and dessert, came to about $50. This was 3 adult meals and two kids meals. Menu prices for entrees and sandwiches run from about $6.00 to about $12.00, so you can see we ordered some of the more expensive items on the menu.
Next summer well have Bob Evans at the top of our list to stop at along with Cracker Barrel. The atmosphere is casual that we dont have to worry that much about how we look after a day of driving our sight-seeing. The food is family-friendly and very good, with a wide range of selections for all appetites.
© 2004 Patti Aliventi