There’s a ‘ghost’ Bob Evans restaurant in town, and customers want to know why

One Dayton-area Bob Evans restaurant remains closed even as 15 other have reopened. This restaurant at 5525 Wilmington Pike near the Cornerstone of  Centerville has failed to reopen, to the frustration of some of its regular customers, and the company hasn't said why. MARK FISHER/STAFF
One Dayton-area Bob Evans restaurant remains closed even as 15 other have reopened. This restaurant at 5525 Wilmington Pike near the Cornerstone of Centerville has failed to reopen, to the frustration of some of its regular customers, and the company hasn't said why. MARK FISHER/STAFF

Credit: STAFF/MARK FISHER

Credit: STAFF/MARK FISHER

Bob Evans Restaurants has reopened at least 15 of its locations across the Dayton area, with one very conspicuous exception in a heavily traveled corridor near the Cornerstone of Centerville development. And the company is not explaining why.

Two customers of the Bob Evans restaurant 5525 Wilmington Pike reached out to this news outlet separately last week to express bewilderment and frustration that one of their favorite local hangouts remains shuttered as Bob Evans restaurants throughout the region have reopened their dining rooms and are also offering curbside carryout and no-contact delivery.

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One customer noted that a Cracker Barrel restaurant — a competitor of Bob Evans — directly across the street from the shuttered restaurants appears to be quite busy during many hours of the day.

A sign taped to the inside of the entrance door of the Bob Evans restaurant reads: “Thank you for being our guest. This restaurant has been temporarily closed, but we would love to have you at one of our nearby locations,” referring customers to a Far Hills Avenue restaurant in Centerville and a location on East Dorothy Lane in Kettering.

One Dayton-area Bob Evans restaurant remains closed even as 15 others have reopened. This restaurant at 5525 Wilmington Pike near the Cornerstone of  Centerville has failed to reopen, to the frustration of some of its regular customers, and the company hasn't said why. MARK FISHER/STAFF
One Dayton-area Bob Evans restaurant remains closed even as 15 others have reopened. This restaurant at 5525 Wilmington Pike near the Cornerstone of Centerville has failed to reopen, to the frustration of some of its regular customers, and the company hasn't said why. MARK FISHER/STAFF

There are no visible signs that Bob Evans intends to make the closure permanent. The restaurant’s dining room tables and chairs are intact, the ceiling fans are still on, and even a computer screen remains illuminated and seemingly ready to go.

We asked a spokeswoman for Bob Evans Restaurants last week about the dormant location and received a reply that, “There are no new updates to share at this time as that location remains in temporary closure status.”

We followed up and asked whether the Wilmington Pike restaurant was the only Dayton-area location that hasn’t reopened since the coronavirus pandemic, and received a similar reply: “We don’t have any additional updates to share at this time related to any of the other Dayton restaurants.”

One Dayton-area Bob Evans restaurant remains closed even as 15 other have reopened. This restaurant at 5525 Wilmington Pike near the Cornerstone of  Centerville has failed to reopen, to the frustration of some of its regular customers, and the company hasn't said why. MARK FISHER/STAFF
One Dayton-area Bob Evans restaurant remains closed even as 15 other have reopened. This restaurant at 5525 Wilmington Pike near the Cornerstone of Centerville has failed to reopen, to the frustration of some of its regular customers, and the company hasn't said why. MARK FISHER/STAFF

On its web site, Bob Evans restaurants says, "We’ve always believed in treating strangers like friends and friends like family. During this time, we’re all family and looking out for each other will help us get through these challenges.

When you need a comfort meal, Bob Evans will get it to you safely whether you are dining-in or taking out. Place your order online for delivery to your home, takeout or curbside pickup at your local Bob Evans and feel confident you’ll not only stay safe, but be well fed.”