Fighting for Freedom: Cracker Barrel or Bob Evans?

Over the last two days, as I have shuffled off from homeward to the American hamlet of Delaware, Ohio — in a 1999 Toyota Avalon – the road trip has afforded a chance to visit the other great American Bistro – Bob Evans.  As observers of this blog (the single digit numbers of you) may recall in a Pulitzer winning post, I have written before about the slice of American heaven that is Cracker Barrel – such effusive praise need not be rehashed.  However, as two consecutive meals at Bob Evans has shown me – when it comes to what best touches culinary heaven, Cracker Barrel should not JUST be handed the trophy.  So, a more systematic approach is required:

Sales hooey – Bob Evans has a useful area up front to buy take home meals, take home sauces, candy and some toys.  Nice enough.  But Cracker Barrel has an entire STORE complete with rocking chairs, Lodge cooking pans, swizzle sticks and, well, it is easier to list things it does NOT contain (recreational drugs, beer).  Edge: Cracker Barrel

Seating area – Bob Evans has the usual booths and tables.  Cracker Barrel has the same, but with faux wood with the IQ test!  Edge: Cracker Barrel

Wait Staff – both either too young or too old.  Even

Gravy – This grade should count twice.  That said, the Bob Evans gravy was chunky and tasty, and had an interesting hue of maple syrup.  Cracker Barrel is a classic sawmill gravy, with flour and milk.  Have to give points for the haute cuisine and bechamel.  It makes me feel sophisticated.  Edge: Cracker Barrel

Biscuits and other breads – Bob Evans are fluffy, Cracker Barrel saves it for the corn muffins.  Since Bob Evans does not have them, I guess it should be included here also.  But those biscuits are awesome.  Edge: Bob Evans

Freezer case: I see Bob Evans in my supermarket.  Edge: Bob Evans

Sides:  Bob Evans is fairly standard – fries, potatoes, and such.  Cracker Barrel adds the turnip greens though.  Just some more variety.  Edge: Cracker Barrel

Price:  Both are excellent. Even

Overall, after much deliberation, despite Bob Evans place as a truly satisfying stop on the highway between America’s rest stops, Cracker Barrel is STILL a much better fit.  But honestly, America cannot go wrong with either, in a world where Waffle Houses are not quite EVERYWHERE they need to be.

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