Before being seated, visitors walk through a â€œcountry storeâ€ stocked with wares such as rock candy, marmalades and wooden toys. Once at their table, they open a brown-paper menu listing trend-resistant American dishes â€” hickory smoked country ham, â€œchicken nâ€™ dumplins,â€ and meatloaf â€” and fare such as the catfish platter, turnip greens and country-fried steak.
After the meal, a porch lined with rocking chairs awaits.
Mr. Evins owed his success in large part to two insights about American life in the second part of the 20th century.
The first was that the interstate highway system, whose construction began in the 1950s during the Eisenhower administration, would forever change the way people traveled and, therefore, ate.
His second was that some things never change, among them the appeal of a home-style meal, especially to someone who is on the road.
After serving as chief executive officer from 1969 to 2001, he served as chairman of the board until his retirement in 2004.