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Cheap Eats: Bob 

Healthy stuff on a stick in Old Fourth Ward

STICK ’EM UP: The StellaBob comes with eggplant Parm, mozzarella and veggies (top) and the FarmerBob with an assortment of roasted veg.

Joeff Davis

STICK ’EM UP: The StellaBob comes with eggplant Parm, mozzarella and veggies (top) and the FarmerBob with an assortment of roasted veg.

Bob opened last month in Irwin Street Market, taking over the former Bell Street Burritos space. It was a prickly changing of the guard. At the time, Bell Street owner Matt Hinton declined to comment publicly on the situation, but this much is certain: The burrito joint initially closed for maintenance and repairs in September, "other issues" came up, the issues were not resolved, and six weeks later, the new eatery from market founder/Chief Marketing Officer Jake Rothschild (Jake's Ice Cream) and partners opened aimed at providing a healthier, or at least a less carby, alternative to fast food. You won't find any bold, exotic flavors at Bob, but it's refreshing to have gained a new veggie-friendly option that isn't cold-pressed kale juice.

Stuff on a stick: The menu is stacked with 11 pre-selected cheese/veggie/protein combos ranging from $4.50-$6.50 per 10-inch skewer. The flavor combinations are straightforward: the GuidoBob ($5.50) is made with meatballs and mozzarella, the JerkBob ($5.50) with pineapple and jerk-spiced chicken, and so on. Expect about three pieces of protein per skewer. You should also expect to scrape everything of the stick and eat with a fork and knife. The BuffaloBob ($5.50) is a fine stand-in for deep-fried hot wings. Golf ball-size hunks of grilled chicken come doused in mild buffalo sauce and skewered alongside cherry tomatoes and celery sticks. The FarmerBob ($4.50) comes with roasted root vegetables such as rutabaga, beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Salads are probably best left off of sticks. The ZorbaBob ($4.50), a skewered Greek Salad, is odd mainly because the lettuce-to-ingredient ratio is all off. Three leaves of lettuce aren't nearly enough to balance the flavor of two to three whole pepperoncinis and unpitted kalamata olives. For $6.50, you can put whatever you feel like eating on the stick.

Candy colored: Bob's new lime green and baby blue paint job has erased all traces of its predecessor's grown-up feel. The wooden tables in each of the six or seven booths are tinted Smarties-hued pinks, yellows, and greens. When the dining room is empty, which is how I found it twice last week at 1 and at 7 p.m., the stream of slow R&B anthems becomes awkwardly loud. Paper menus are up at the counter where you order when you're ready. Pick a seat and your food is brought out in plastic deli baskets as soon as it's ready.

Health nut haven: Bob's biggest selling point is the potential for customization, especially for those with specific dietary needs. The entire menu is gluten-free. Vegans, vegetarians, picky eaters, kids, and even Paleo folks have options. The only grease I encountered was on the sweet potato fries ($2), and even then it was minimal. As for the portion sizes, you'll either hate Bob for smaller-than-average serving sizes or love it for the help with portion control.

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