After a weekend of standing out in the rain, snow and wind, I really wasn’t in the mood to cook. I had everything ready to go like I was going to cook dinner, but J e-mailed and said she was in the mood for pulled pork. Unfortunately, Lansing doesn’t have any BBQ joints. Our only real option is Smokey Bones, but that’s out near Eastwood and there’s no way I was going to chance construction on 127 when J only had an hour for dinner. Instead, I thought of Bob Evans. I thought they may have a pulled pork on the menu and they did.
Bob Evans is one of the interesting chains. I’ve never eaten at one in the past because I always thought it looked like “an old person” restaurant. The concept is to be a comfortable family restaurant where everyone is welcome. The chain actually got it’s start because Bob Evans (real person) needed an outlet to sell his premium sausages. Local restaurants near Rio Grande, Ohio didn’t want to buy his speciality sausage because people wouldn’t pay a higher prices for a higher quality sausage. Mr. Evans believed in his product so much, he started a chain out of his truck stop.
The South Lansing location is on American Drive near Cedar Street. It’s shares a parking lot/driveway with the Super 8 Motel. There’s another location on Commercial Drive near Exit 93 on I-96 in Delta Township and one in DeWitt just off I-69.
Bob Evans restaurants are easy to spot. They’re big red buildings that remind you of a barn. That’s kind of fitting considering Bob Evans was a farmer and his farm is on the National Register of Historic Places. I was meeting J for dinner so I found a spot in the parking lot near the road so she could see me. I only had to wait a few minutes for her to show up.
We headed inside to get a table. When you first enter the building, there’s a little store area. J said it reminded her of Cracker Barrel. In this area, they sell a lot of the non-perishable products that Bob Evans also makes.
Just past that area is the hostess station. A host grabbed a couple menus and led us past the lunch counter to a table on the far side of the dining room right next to the windows. After he left, I reached up and closed the blinds. Nothing like the sun glaring in through the slats in the blinds to ruin a meal.
The decor is not something that would make you think Bob Evans is a chain. It’s very simplistic and looks like any country family restaurant.
The host came back and took our drink orders. They serve Coke products so I got a straight Coke while J got a Diet. A few minutes later, a waitress came out and asked if we were ready to order.
Even though we picked Bob Evans because they had a pulled pork on the menu, J thought the salads looked too good to pass up. She went with the Wildfire Chicken Salad which even I thought looked delicious. The huge plate of mixed greens came with chicken tenders coated with Bob Evans signature Wildfire BBQ sauce, BBQ tortilla strips, corn, grape tomatoes, scallions, and cheddar cheese. The dressing was a Wildfire ranch. J said the sandwich really reminded her of her favorite McDonald’s salad..the Southwest Chicken. She really enjoyed her meal and the portion size was perfect. She didn’t eat much for lunch, but still had a little bit of salad left on her plate. Usually, she passes over half the chicken on her salad, but I felt fortunate to get one little piece just so I could taste the BBQ sauce. She also got two large dinner rolls which were also too good share. She got to the last couple bites and saw me looking at her with puppy dog eyes before she tore off a little piece for me.
I played it safe and ordered the All-American Cheeseburger. The burgers are Angus steak burgers served on a grilled bun with thick slices of bacon and cheddar cheese. The sandwich was good, but overdone for my liking. It was more medium-well to well done. I’d rather go medium -rare to rare. The sandwich came with fries, but not a whole lot. Everything on my plate was good, but keeping with the theme of typical family restaurant, Bob Evans didn’t stand out. The worst part was I left hungry. I usually pick chains because portion sizes are huge. The portion size at Bob Evans was probably right on for most people and even for me on a typical night, but like J, I hadn’t eaten much all day and was looking for a good, hearty meal.
Our bill was just over $21 and it didn’t take us more than a half hour to eat. We left a tip on the table then grabbed the check and headed back to the little general store area to pay the cashier.
Bob Evans didn’t really stand out for me. J really liked her salad and I can see us going back or even doing carry-out for that, but the burger did nothing for me. I should have ordered the Bob-B-Q pork sandwich since that’s why we initially chose Bob Evans. Oh well, hindsight is 20-20. There’s always next time.