Why You Wouldn't Recognize The First Bob Evans

Since the 1940s, the Bob Evans brand has been cooking up plenty of sausage, breakfast sandwiches, and other popular foods. Now, we see Bob Evans in the frozen food section of our local grocery store, but the brand didn't start out that way. Rather, Bob Evans was a real person operating a restaurant when he got the idea for wider distribution.

According to the Bob Evans website, Evans was living in Ohio and operating a farm and restaurant. He often served passing truck drivers, but he recognized that the sausage he was shipping in for breakfast wasn't as good as he wanted it to be. Rather than serve a sub-par product to his customers, Evans decided to use the hogs from his own farm to produce sausage. It was an instant hit. The truck drivers loved it so much that they would purchase it in large quantities to bring home to their families — and so began the journey of Bob Evans' freezer products. Fast forward to the present day, and the Bob Evans chain has almost 500 restaurants around the country. However, the original sit-down spot is nothing like the restaurants you see today.

The original Bob Evans wasn't the restaurant we know today

These days, all Bob Evans restaurants have the same look with a red exterior and white trim, but the first-ever Bob Evans was not the expansive, full-service experience most people are familiar with. Actually, Evans' first restaurant was a tiny spot that he opened back in 1946. According to Funding Universe, Evans and his wife, Jewell, opened the small diner called The Bob Evans Steak House near their farm and it featured only 12 stools.

After developing his sausage and receiving rave customer reviews, Evans decided to distribute it on a wider scale. As the sausages were stocked in grocery stores and the business expanded, Evans opened up a second restaurant called The Sausage Shop on the farm in 1962. This was followed by another in 1968, and this Bob Evans restaurant featured the now-classic exterior designed to resemble a farm building. It became the first of hundreds in the Bob Evans chain with a much larger sit-down experience. The Bob Evans restaurants can now seat 134 diners, according to the company's website. Ultimately, the eateries that are open today prove to be very different from Evans' first 12-seat space.