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Down on the farm

Laura Myers | Thursday, September 25, 2008

When asked about their favorite restaurant, most people will respond with a) somewhere really fancy, b) somewhere only the “locals” would know, or c) Bruno’s, if the person asked is on The Observer staff.

My favorite restaurant does not fit into any of those categories. You can have your Italian bistros, your fancy steakhouses, your greasy spoon pubs. For me, I’ll take the fine homestyle cuisine of Bob Evans.

If you’ve talked to me more than once, you know the extent of my love/hate relationship with Bob’s, as I like to call it.

I will admit, I’ve worked there for three years, and a 20 percent discount certainly informs my affection for the place. Aside from a manager who hates Notre Dame and a bad ankle from my Shoes for Crews, my employment was probably the best first job a 16-year-old could get.

The majority of people our age assume Bob Evans is strictly for travelers, families, or members of the geriatric population. False. They also assume Bob Evans is only for breakfast. Also false. (Had to throw in a little The Office homage there, in honor of tonight’s season premiere. Yay!)

What Bob Evans has is everything. And it is for everyone.

With 196 locations in the great state of Ohio, or roughly one store for every 55,000 residents, Bob Evans has been a part of my extremely fortunate life for a long time. Many of you have never been there. Well, it’s time to discover a Midwest treasure.

Bob Evans has giant pancakes and delicious bacon and eggs. It also has the best fresh fruit you can get from a restaurant, egg white omelettes, and marvelous turkey sausage.

But the amazingness doesn’t end there, my friends. What sets Bob Evans apart is its great lunch and dinner food. Most places (IHOP, Perkins, etc.) have terrible dinner food, regardless of their breakfast expertise. Bob’s is the exception to that rule. Our sandwiches and burgers are perfect. We have great turkey dinners, or steak, or grilled chicken. Our broccoli doesn’t have any weird stuff on it. It’s just broccoli.

Then you have all kinds of specialty breads, including my personal favorite – pumpkin bread. The pies are pretty good, too.

Plus, there’s the best hot chocolate you’ll ever have, for only $1.69. With free refills. Beat that, Waffle House.

Don’t forget to tip your waitress – 20 percent or more – because I can guarantee you’ll be getting service with a smile.

Basically, Bob Evans kicks every other restaurant in the loading dock.