Food from a (former) gas station courtesy of Big Bob

by Loren Bailey

The Sassy Kat and a side of baked sweet potato fries (photo by Loren Bailey)

I normally try to stay abreast of new restaurants in the area, which is why I was surprised to see a lit-up building on the otherwise dark corner of Northwest Boulevard and Reynolda Road in Winston- Salem the other night. Bob’s Big Gas Subs & Pub now occupies this renovated gas station and its initial impression made me make a mental note to be sure to try this place out.

The scene was much different the night my husband and I set out to eat at Bob’s than when I first saw it. Lights lit up the activity fields of Wiley Middle School and Hanes Park and the street bustled with people and cars, yet Bob’s still stood out as a glowing beacon, drawing me in just as it did a couple nights before.

Once inside, we were instructed by a dickie-clad cashier to take a minute to read over the menu because it contained in-depth descriptions of each sandwich. The descriptions were indeed in-depth, and it took us a while to decide what to order. I settled on the Sassy Kat with baked sweet-potato fries while my husband ordered the signature Sloppy Pete and Hobo Stew with the Bella Banana for dessert.

We got a number and took it to our table while looking around. The old Shell gas pump reminded us that gas was, in fact, less than a dollar a gallon at some point. The renovated space still looked somewhat like an old gas station, complete with two huge garage doors. I wondered if they could be opened when nicer weather comes back. The floor and bar are concrete with diner-style tables and chairs. Several flat-screen TVs flank the bar where another dickie-clad bartender offered up wines and a surprisingly good selection of beer including selections from Rogue, Terrapin and Duck-Rabbit.

In no time, our food showed up and it was time to see if these proclaimed “traditional favorites with a modern flair” impressed. As an avid avoider of spicy food, the Sloppy Pete was too spicy for me to get a good sense of the flavor. My husband, on the other hand, said it had a great flavor, but it seemed to have a “little more sloppy than joe” — he wished his sandwich had more on it! However, his side of Hobo Stew still lingers in my mind as some of the best comfort food I’ve had.

I ordered the Sassy Kat because of the menu proclamation: “A carpenter couldn’t build a better sandwich.” However, I wish I had paid more attention to the ingredients because I typically don’t order sandwiches that contain pepperoni and salami. I could tell the ingredients were quality and the flavors blended together well; I just prefer a different ingredient combination. The sandwich came with house-made balsamic dressing that was tangy yet smooth, and was the key to keeping me interested in the sandwich.

Sweet-potato fries are one way to my heart; I am always looking out for good sweet-potato fries and these definitely delivered. These baked fries were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Crispy and baked? Yes, please. Dip in the included cream cheese and cayenne sauce and its tastes like a complete sweet potato casserole (don’t ask how cayenne and cream cheese tastes like marshmallows and brown sugar because I am not sure).

Lastly, we dug in to the Bella Banana sandwich. Don’t let its menu placement among the rest of the sandwiches fool you; this is definitely a sweet treat rather than a sub. It tasted just like what it was: banana, Nutella and peanut butter, which is a winning combination in my book.

As we drove away from the white building, I decided I will definitely be back to try the other sandwiches and if they raise those garage doors in the Spring, you’ll probably be able to find me partaking in the “pub” side of Bob’s Big Gas Subs and Pub.

wanna go?

Bob’s Big Gas Subs & Pub 901 Reynolda Road Winston-Salem