Restaurants celebrate founders’ first date by offering ‘free date nights’ for a year

Theirs was a love story that spanned 67 years of marriage. Now, the company that the couple founded wants to nurture and reward similar love stories among its customers.

Bob Evans — yes, THAT Bob Evans — met his future wife Jewell while both were in high school in Gallipolis, Ohio. They married in 1940, and their first date occurred on Oct. 22. Bob Evans died in June 2007, at age 89. Jewell died just a few months ago, in July 2019, at age 99.

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The couple “learned the secret to a long-lasting relationship: keep dating each other,” according to a Bob Evans news release.

Now, the restaurant chain is inviting customers to share their love stories for a chance to win "date nights for a year." The chain will give three couples a year's worth of date nights, Bob Evans officials said.

The “Date Night, Steak Night” giveaway is also designed to promote the introduction of four new steak menu items.

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“The relationship between Bob and Jewell Evans has had such a huge impact on the way we do business, and the hospitality we strive to show our guests,” Bob Holtcamp, chief marketing officer for Bob Evans Restaurants, said in a release. “Even while they were raising six children and building an iconic brand, they always found time for each other. As we introduce four new USDA Choice Steak entrees to our menu, we felt there was no better time to invite our guests to carve time out for loved ones — the Bob and Jewell way.”

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Online entries will be accepted through Nov. 3. To enter, applicants must upload a photo of themselves and their spouse, partner or loved one, along with a 100-word testimonial of their Bob Evans-inspired love story — "anything from bonding over a favorite entrée, celebrating a relationship milestone at one of our restaurants, or simply why they're craving some special time together over a quality meal," a release said  — at

Three winners will be chosen “at random,” Bob Evans officials said, and will receive a special date night at their local Bob Evans with their loved one on a day of their choosing, including a personalized menu developed in partnership with Bob Evans for the couple’s special night out, Bob Evans officials said. The winning couples will also receive a Bob Evans gift card valued at $600 “that would allow them to continue enjoying date nights every month for an entire year,” according to a release.

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The new steak menu items include a  Steak Omelet, Steak Benedict, Bacon Bourbon Glazed Sirloin and Creamy Peppercorn Steak.

Columbus-based Bob Evans Restaurants operates more than two-dozen  family-style restaurants across the Miami Valley, and and about 480 in 18 states. It is now a private company owned by Golden Gate Capital.

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