Every Midwesterner knows the name Bob Evans — usually, as the restaurant chain that you visit with family after church on Sunday. But even if you’ve visited the chain many times, you might not know about the real Bob Evans farms.
The “Homestead,” as it is sometimes called, is located in Southeast Ohio, drawing tourists throughout the year to explore its unique attractions. If you’re planning a visit to Rio Grande Ohio, here’s everything you need to know about Bob Evans farms.
About Bob Evans Farms & Its History
Long before the name Bob Evans was recognized as a restaurant chain, it was known in Southeast Ohio as a family-owned farm. Bob and Jewell Evans lived here for 20 years, raising six children and working the land.
The Evanses bought the farm in the 1940s, along with a nearby diner. However, Evans was frustrated by his inability to find a producer of quality sausage to serve in the diner. He decided to begin producing it himself, leading to the founding of the first Bob Evans restaurant.
By the 1970s, Bob Evans restaurants was an established chain throughout Ohio with the slogan “Down on the Farm.” Over time, the company has expanded to have locations in 19 states.
The original 1,000-acre farm is still a working farm, but it also draws many visitors for other activities. It is a tourist attraction, campground, museum, and historic memorial.
The Bob Evans farm features several historic buildings, including the main building. Originally a stagecoach inn, the structure is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Things to Do at Bob Evans Farm
When you visit the Bob Evans farm, you might be surprised at how much there is to do! The working farm still has animals (especially horses), but the real draw here is the historic buildings and museum.
Tour Adamsville Village
The Bob Evans farm property includes Adamsville Village, a cluster of buildings dating from the 19th century. The log cabin buildings are still standing and open for tourists. The main farmhouse also dates from around this time and was once a stagecoach inn.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Just beyond Adamsville Village is the expanse of the farm property, which is used for outdoor activities, especially along the trails. Visitors enjoy horseback riding and hiking, as well as canoeing along the nearby river.
Visit the Museum
The Bob Evans farmhouse, once the home of the Evans family, is now a company museum. It contains displays about the history of the farm and the restaurant chain, as well as life-size dioramas of the Evans family’s life and original commercials for Bob Evans restaurants.
Eat at the Original Bob Evans Restaurant
Along with the Bob Evans farm continuing to be a working farm, the original Rio Grande Ohio diner is still a restaurant where you can grab a home-cooked meal. Choose from omelets, pancakes, burgers, sandwiches, turkey, chicken, steak, seafood, and more.
Attend the Bob Evans Farm Festival
Throughout the year, you will find many special events going on at the Bob Evans farm. The most popular is the annual Farm Festival, but you can always check in to see what else is scheduled.
The Bob Evans Farm Festival is a harvest celebration that has been going on for more than 50 years, and it has become a famous tradition for many Ohioans. This Ohio fall festival takes place every year in mid-October for one weekend.
Attractions and activities include live bluegrass performances, friendly competitions, arts and crafts, and fair booths selling handmade goods. You’ll also get the chance to see unique live entertainment, like ax throwing, chainsaw carving, and horseshoe tricks.
It should come as no surprise that there is plenty of good food at the Bob Evans Farm Festival too. You will find many locally made, farm-fresh options and autumnal favorites — from bean soup to fresh apple cider, roasted corn, ice cream, baked goods, and Ohio cheese.
Stay at the Bob Evans Farm Campground
If you enjoy camping, you can find an excellent campground right on the Bob Evans farm property. This campground is most popular during the annual autumn festival when tourists set up their tents to enjoy the weekend-long festival.
Though there are no water or electrical hookups, you’ll find restrooms, potable water, round-the-clock security, and a dump station. Reservations are not required, and it’s free to stay!
Things to Know Before Visiting the Farm
Before visiting the Bob Evans farm, it is important to remember that the property is considered historically important. In fact, it has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is vital that visitors be respectful of the property and buildings during their stay.
If you plan to stay “down on the farm,” you do not need a reservation. However, bear in mind that there are only minimal hookups. The farm does not have a full-service campground.
Lodging Near Bob Evans Farm
Many vacation rentals are available within a few miles of the Bob Evans farm. The Runaway Retreat is a large, multi-person vacation rental located in Gallia County.
This family home has space for up to eight people, and children and pets are welcome. It offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside and easy access to nearby attractions, including Bob Evans farms. If you are looking for a high-quality vacation rental for a large party, this is a great choice.
If you are looking for a clean, quiet, and affordable place to stay near Rio Grande Ohio, the Riverside Motel is an excellent choice. This modest, family-owned motel offers clean rooms and suites in a safe and beautiful location.
Though the motel doesn’t have a huge online presence, reviews are consistently excellent. And you certainly can’t beat the price.
The Lowe Hotel is located just 10 minutes from Bob Evans farm — across the state border in Pt. Pleasant West Virginia. This stunning historic building has been a tourist retreat since 1901 and still maintains much of its original architecture and decor.
Pt. Pleasant is also home to the infamous Mothman legend, as well as the Mothman Museum and the annual festival in honor of the cryptid. Whether you’re a believer or simply a lover of historic buildings, you will love staying in this charming hotel.
Are you looking for a unique vacation home that you’ll never forget? The Creek House, located in Vinton Ohio, is about 20 minutes from Bob Evans farm.
This stunning rental isn’t just any family home. It is a treetop cabin with breathtaking creekside views. The creek is available for kayaking, and there is a waterfall nearby. The house includes a full kitchen, outdoor shower, fire pit, and porch swing, as well as room for up to eight guests.
Dining Near Bob Evans Farm
Lorobi’s Pizza is one of the best casual eateries in Gallipolis Ohio. Having been a part of the community since 1961, it has become a tradition, drawing generations of diners.
Everyone can find something to enjoy at Lorobi’s, whether it’s their first visit or their 100th. The restaurant serves build-your-own pizza options with its famous signature sauce, as well as Italian-style dinner entrees.
Courtside Bar & Grille, as the name implies, is a sports bar — but it’s not any old sports bar. Courtside makes room for diners of all ages, combining a family-friendly atmosphere with the infectious enthusiasm of game day.
You’ll find classic sports bar favorites on the menu — from buffalo wings to burgers and fries. If you want something a bit more substantial, you can also find a variety of steak options, including rib-eye and 10-oz sirloin.
Ohio might be far from the Mexico border, but at El Toril, you might forget that. The restaurant serves the best authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine in Southeast Ohio.
The menu includes a huge variety of street tacos and classic favorites, like fajitas. Or, you can get a larger entree, such as carne encebollada or carmarones a la diabla.
Tuscany is Gallipolis Ohio’s signature family Italian restaurant, serving the best classic favorites. This comfortable eatery is ideal for a night out with kids, a romantic date, or anything in between.
The extensive menu includes meals for every palate and appetite — from trendy shareables to classic Italian dishes and vegetarian options.
Zach & Scotty’s is a fun, casual eatery serving comfort food. The menu is extensive, featuring everything from light appetizers to subs, burgers, pizza, pasta, and calzones.
The eatery is known for its signature subs, including Jackson County veal, prime rib, and baby back ribs. This is one of the most highly rated restaurants in the community, so its food clearly speaks for itself.
Planning Your Trip to Bob Evans Farms & Restaurants
Maybe you’ve grown up eating Bob Evans’ sunrise breakfasts, or maybe you just love touring fascinating historic buildings. No matter why you’re planning a trip to Bob Evans farms, there is plenty to love about this fascinating and beautiful sliver of Southeast Ohio.