Photo of farm with a barn with Bob Evans logo on the side

About the farm

Bob Evans, the founder of our company, lived on the Bob Evans Farm in southeastern Ohio for nearly 20 years. He and his wife, Jewell, raised their six children in the large brick farmhouse known as the Homestead. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, the Homestead was where the Evans family opened The Sausage Shop in their front yard, which later became the first Bob Evans restaurant. The spirit of hospitality is deeply embedded in our company’s history.

Now that Bob Evans Farms product offerings have expanded, so has our network of farms around the country. By integrating wise farming techniques with the latest technology, this vertically integrated system allows us to better serve our customers by providing readily available, top-quality products. Our refrigerated storage allows us to monitor and maintain the freshness of our products so that every one that leaves our facility carries the finest flavor and texture that our customers have come to expect.

Company History

For more than 75 years, Bob Evans Farms has been delivering farm-fresh goodness — delicious, quick-to-table farm-fresh foods that are sold in grocery stores all over the country.

Today, we are proud to be the #1 selling refrigerated dinner sides, including many varieties of mashed potatoes and macaroni & cheese. We’re also a leading producer and distributor of over 60 varieties of sausage and bacon products, and egg whites, and other convenience foods.

Our success is built on the basics: high-quality, farm-fresh, quick-to-table food, carefully made to meet the needs of today’s busy families. We do all the washing, peeling, seasoning and cooking, so you can enjoy extra mealtime with your family and spend less prep time in the kitchen.

Bob Evans Starts Sausage Business
Bob Evans Company History - 1948 - Photo of Bob Evans
Official Company Founding Date
Bob Evans Company History - 1953 - Photo of farm
Original Restaurant Opens in Rio Grande, Ohio
Bob Evans Company History - 1962 - Photo of sausage shop
Sausage Route Begins Outside of Ohio
Bob Evans Company History - 1964 - Photo of Bob Evans Farms truck
Bob Evans Hosts First Annual Farm Festival
Bob Evans Company History - 1971 - Photo of Bob Evans logo on side of barn
Owens Sausage Is Acquired by Bob Evans
Bob Evans Company History - 1987 - Photo of Owens Spring Creek Farm sign
Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes and Macaroni & Cheese Are First Sold in Grocery Stores
Bob Evans Company History - 1997 - Photo of Bob Evans products
Bob Evans Farms Moves to New Headquarters in New Albany, Ohio
Bob Evans Company History - 2013 - Photo of new headquarters in New Albany, Ohio
Bob Evans Launches the Our Farm Salutes Program
Bob Evans Company History - 2016 - Photo of Our Farm Salutes barn
BEF Foods, Inc. Is Acquired by Post Holdings
Bob Evans Company History - 2017 - Post Holdings company logo

Celebrating 75 years

Bob Evans Company History - Photo of delivery truck and driver

In 2023, Bob Evans Farms celebrated 75 years of business and Bob’s farm-fresh, country-style sausage.

Bob was born in Sugar Ridge, Ohio, in 1918. His father, Stanley, farmed but also ran a small grocery store. His uncle farmed nearby and ran a small meat-packing business. Meanwhile, Bob learned a thing or two by osmosis.

In 1945, after returning home from serving in WWII, Bob opened a small restaurant in Gallipolis, Ohio, called The Terminal Steak House. Before the war, Bob owned a half-interest in a malt shop in town, and that had whetted his appetite for the food business. A restaurant seemed like a good idea to the returning soldier, who had three young children and a wife to support.

The Steak House was situated next to a truck stop, where a busy stream of truckers was crisscrossing the United States, moving raw goods and consumer products to serve a booming post-war economy, including plenty of trucks carrying new cars from Detroit to points south. Soon, the Steak House was doing a booming business.

Bob Evans Company History - Illustration of steak house

Truckers depended on a hearty breakfast, but Bob had a difficult time sourcing quality sausage from his suppliers. Bob had learned about meat cutting by working at his uncle’s meat-packing business and decided to make the sausage himself.

In 1948, with $1,000, a few hogs, 40 lbs. of black pepper, and 50 lbs. of sage, he began an operation to produce his own sausage. The first manufacturing facility was in Springfield Township, Ohio, in “a concrete block structure not much bigger than a two-car garage.” They called the product Springfield Farm Sausage originally, changing it to Bob Evans Sausage soon after.

Bob’s father, Stanley, loaned him the money for the capital costs, with the provision that the manufacturing building be fitted with extra-wide doors so it could be used for storing farm equipment “if the business went belly-up.”

The business succeeded from the get-go. The customers at the Steak House couldn’t get enough of the taste! The secret, of course, was the high-quality product.

“At the time, pretty much everyone making sausage was using the scraps,” said Bob. “It was of poor quality. We decided that we were going to use better cuts – hams and tenderloins. People swore that would put us out of business.”

Bob knew that if he was to compete against a cheaper (albeit inferior) product, it would have to taste exceptional, too. Bob’s wife, Jewell, helped identify the secret blend of spices that remains a brand trademark today. “Best taste buds in America,” he often said of her.

Once introduced at the Steak House, the sausage quickly became a customer favorite.

The truckers passing through Gallipolis were raving about his sausage, and asking to take it home with them. Bob started selling sausage to customers in 10 lb. tubs.

Bob Evans Company History - Photo of Bob and Jewell Evans

“You might say the truck drivers did my research for me,” Bob said. “They would tell me that this was the best sausage they ever had, and then buy tubs to take home.”

Bob knew he was on to something. He and his friend and first employee, Harold Cregor, made the sausage on Mondays and Thursdays, delivering it farm-fresh the next day to restaurants and family-owned grocery stores in the Ohio Valley, throughout southern Ohio and northern West Virginia. They sold the sausage out of the back of the truck in tins and cloth bags.

The sausage sold like gangbusters, and soon Evans was recruiting other family members to own sales routes. He opened a manufacturing facility in nearby Bidwell, Ohio, and scaled his growth. In 1953, Bob decided that he needed a second manufacturing facility, and decided on a location upstate from Gallia County in Xenia, Ohio. The company still makes fresh sausage there today.

By 1954 Bob had two sausage plants in full production and a handful of employees. His uncle Emerson, a banker, was helping manage things on the business side.

By 1957, almost 2,000 grocery stores carried Bob Evans sausage and Bob had begun advertising his product on television. Bob had purchased an old farm for his family to live on in Rio Grande, Ohio, just outside Gallipolis. Bob hosted grocery department managers and restaurant owners at the Homestead, inviting them to come see for themselves how the sausage was made.

Many of the commercials were shot right in the Evans’ kitchen on the Homestead, featuring Jewell cooking the sausage in her own frying pan. The commercials featured Evans inviting customers to “come on down” and visit the farm, and they did!

Bob Evans Company History - 1962 - Photo of sausage shop

Strangers began turning up at the Homestead, so Bob decided to put a small retail location on his property for them to visit (instead of Jewell’s kitchen). He named it the Sausage Shop. There, they sold sausage as well as general restaurant fare. It was an instant success.

The Sausage Shop became the inspiration for and indeed became the very first Bob Evans Restaurant, which grew into its own successful business and which is operated separately from Bob Evans Farms today.

Meanwhile, Bob’s sausage business went public and continued to grow, with additional manufacturing facilities and additional ready-to-eat foods being incorporated throughout the years. Today, the Bob Evans Farms company makes millions of pounds of fresh sausage a year, as well as the #1 refrigerated side dishes in America (Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes and Bob Evans Macaroni & Cheese) and numerous breakfast items, and has hundreds of employees across the country. All are committed to the same dream Bob began in 1948 – to make delicious, farm-fresh, quality foods that families can enjoy around a table together.

Join us as we look back at what’s changed and what hasn’t here at Bob Evans Farms over the past 75 years. We’ve grown from a regional company delivering and stocking our own products at local supermarkets to a national brand. We’ve become more efficient, giving us room to grow. We’ve innovated, making it easier and faster for people to serve up fresh and delicious meals. But one thing that’s been consistent is a workforce made up of really good, hardworking people – people who take pride in what they do and the quality of the product they produce. 75 years is quite a run. A lifetime even. And we’re just getting started.