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Friday, June 22, 2007

Goodbye, Bobby E

I don't usually do the dead folks posts, because Jason is really the most morbid person on the crew. But this death--this one hit home.

Bob Evans
Sausage King/restaurateur
May 30, 1918 - June 21, 2007

Jenni and Steve mourning outside the Bob Evans closest to the Cleveland airport. Not pictured: Bob Evans in toy form.

Bob Evans, a man who created the best sausage I ever put in my mouth (sorry, Steve), has died. But let's not dwell on his death. Let's celebrate his life--and that freaking delicious sausage. The man's sausage was a thing of beauty. No man, no woman, no child--possibly no creature living on this earth, even the dirty vegetarians--could resist Bob Evans' plump, juicy, perfectly spiced and fragrant tube of meat. I could eat Bob Evans' sausage all night long, and beg for more.

But it's not just the sausage--oooh, the sausage. Bob Evans' sausage empire included hundreds of excellent Bob Evans restaurants in (apparently) 18 states, including, of course, Ohio, where it all started. I remember hearing once that Bob Evans would only ship sausage (and I guess place restaurants) within a short drive from the Bob Evans Farms epicenter, to ensure a quality product. That's great, but it kept Bob Evans restaurants from being out West, where I've lived for seven or eight years. I suppose it's possible that will change now that Bob himself is gone, but in a way I guess I hope not, because I like that a company put quality and customer experience over profits. You know, if that story is even true and I didn't make it up in a sausage-fueled fever dream. I get a little crazy on the sausage.

I look forward to going to Bob Evans every time I'm home (which I just happen to be at the moment), and, in fact, it's typically our first stop when we land. Sometimes, I even order non-sausage food, though it's rare. I loves me some sausage.

Since this post isn't long enough, I'll share a recentish Bob Evans anecdote.

A while back, a few months before Bob Evans went totally smoke-free, I was grossed out by being seated too close to the smoking section, and so, I picked up a crayon and wrote, with my left hand so it would look real, a message somewhat like this:

Dear Bobby E,

I love your food but my mom says we can't eat here anymore because the smoke in the air might make my cancer come back.

Please, Bobby E, get rid of the smokers so I can eat at your restaurant. I love it because my name is Bobby, too.



Hmm. I remember the original being funnier than that. I know there was cancer, the Bobby E thing, and the cancer kid was named Bobby.



1 comment:

silver said...

I'm from Ohio, so I grew up with B to the E as well. It's too bad that first Dave Thomas had to go (Wendy's is another Ohio original), and now Bob.

It was visionary restauranteers like these men who helped get Columbus, Ohio on the map as the fattest city in the nation. Maybe it was the whole "Commit to be Fit" initiative that killed off these two tycoons of the food-service industry.

I just hope W. A. Castle isn't next. I love sliders. And that Harold and Kumar movie.