SALEM - If this was NASCAR, it would be a really, really quick pit stop.
Almost a drive through.
The Salem Bob Evans restaurant closed at 8 p.m. Sunday, March17 and re-opened bright and early at 6 a.m. this past Sunday after a complete remodeling job.
The Salem Bob Evans restaurant at 2299 E. State St. just went through its first major remodeling after 18 years. The entire project took approximately 154 hours, according to assistant manager Bryan Hess who said the work was 24/7. Bob Evans is rolling out its new bakery products lineup while taking the opportunity to remodel its restaurants. Courtney Andric of Winona, left, and Josie McKinley of Salem show off the remodeled register and greeting area at the Salem Bob Evans. (Salem News photo by Larry Shields)
One hundred and fifty-four hours.
Assistant manager Bryan Hess said new booths were added, the dining room lay-out was opened up, there's new wallpaper, paint, counter tops, new restrooms and the whole restaurant carries a refreshed, clean feel.
And the seating is more comfortable.
The restaurant, located at 2299 E. State St., has served the Salem area for 18 years.
In the short time since the restaurant has re-opened, Hess said, "People have commented and they are happy with the changes."
Two new items customer can't see are a new freezer and coolers.
The Salem restaurant is managed Aaron Streble, who has been with Bob Evans for 10 years. Hess has been employed by Bob Evans for seven years, two of them in Salem.
The remodeling is corporate wide and when it begins it is a clear-the-deck operation.
Hess said it was around the clock, and while the Salem Bob Evans is considered a small market, Hess said, "for a small store this Bob Evans, in its demographic, does well ... the community has supported us."
The renovations are tied to the roll-out of Bob Evans new bakery products. They've been available before, but new emphasis is being placed on "farm, fresh, refresh" cherry bread, cinnamon raisin bread, brownies and cookies.
Hess said Bob Evans has offered all those baked goods before but there is now a wider selection.
"The biggest change is new bakery items that will change seasonally," he said.
Customers are greeted with a "Welcome to Bob Evans" and quick note to check out the new bakery products as they are guided past the bakery counter on the way to their table.
Other Bob Evans restaurants are receiving the updates. Hess said the Austintown and Canfield restaurants have been completed and the Alliance restaurant is set for next month.
The remodeling of the Salem Bob Evans, which employs 60 full- and part-time people, has been planned for a year.
Hess expects all the regional restaurants to be remodeled by mid summer.
There is one thing though, as quickly as the remodeling was done, many area Bob Evans no doubt drove past saying to themselves, "C'mon you guys, hurry up and get that done, I need to get back in there."
The restaurant is open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. seven days a week, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Larry Shields can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org