Free Candied Bacon: Bob Evans to hand out slices next week

Bob Evans Restaurants will hand out sample slices of its new candied bacon next Wednesday, Sept. 14 — with only a couple of small catches.

To score the complimentary slice of candied bacon, customers must purchase a regular-priced entree that day. And the promotion starts at 11 a.m. Sept. 14, so the samples won’t be available during traditional breakfast time.

The menu item that a Bob Evans release calls “the best kind of bacon” is available now — for a limited time — at Bob Evans restaurants in southwest and west-central Ohio, a Bob Evans spokeswoman said this morning.

In addition to candied bacon, Bob Evans also has just introduced the “Farm Boy,” an updated version of a recipe served at the first Bob Evans Restaurant in Rio Grande, Ohio. It consists of a Bob Evans sausage patty topped with cheddar cheese, sautéed onions and pickles, served on a Kaiser roll, Bob Evans officials said.

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“Today, there is a lot of nostalgia for the way things used to be,” Bob Evans Farms President John Fisher said in a release. “Our new menu and product introductions combine the traditional with the contemporary and allow us to build a better Bob Evans.”

Other new menu items include:

• Bob Evans Burger –Angus beef burger on a brioche bun with bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, Sriracha-avocado mayonnaise, topped with a fried egg;

• Steakhouse Burger – topped with smoked bacon, grilled mushrooms and onions, cheese and steak sauce;

• Veggie Omelet – filled with vegetables and shredded cheddar cheese.

Bob Evans is combining the menu-item introductions with a redesigned, streamlined menu that allows customers to customize their meals with choices, prices and portion sizes, company officials said.

The New Albany, Ohio-based chain has faced some struggles. It announced in April 2016 that it was closing 27 underperforming Bob Evans restaurants. Those closings included the restaurant at 1929 Harshman Road in Riverside as well as several others in Toledo and Indianapolis. In May 2015, the restaurant chain closed 17 restaurants as part of a cost-cutting move, although all 17 were located outside Ohio.

In February 2016, this news outlet reported that Bob Evans Restaurants had been named "Best Breakfast" chain by the Colorado-based research firm Market Force Information, based on a survey of 6,700 consumers conducted in late 2015. Consumers in the survey ranked Bob Evans highest among breakfast chains for quality food and healthy choices.