Before my recent trip to the Big Easy, I consulted with my Who Dat? friends on a must-have food experience in their city. Skipping the bignets and café au laits, we went right for the po’boy. The best way I can describe a po’boy is to say it is like a third-trimester submarine sandwich— stuffed with meat or deep-fried seafood and served on a French baguette. Po’boys are not for the faint of heart, vegetarians, or those of us with high cholesterol. Remember, antacid is your friend.
This Yankee stopped in at the Parkway Bakery & Tavern, claiming to be the oldest, most entertaining, po’boy shop in New Orleans. With a line wrapping halfway around the building on a Saturday afternoon, we had plenty of time to consult the menu and take in the atmosphere. By the time we reached the counter to order, I knew I wanted my po’boy dressed* and served with a basket of yam-fries and a cold bottle of old-fashioned Barq’s root beer.
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Other local po’boy shops on our list included Domilise’s, La Bella’s (rumor has it, La Bella’s serves the best meatball po’boy in the city), Bobby’s Seafood (known also for a fresh catch, get your po’boy oyster dressed), and Dong Phuong Oriental Bakery (yes, a Vietnamese restaurant in on the po’boy craze). There’s even an annual New Orleans Po’Boy Preservation Festival in November (S.O.S. = Save our Sandwich, no kidding!).
* Not x-rated, dressing your po’boy means adding all the fixings’ (like lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo). Think of it as a Memphis-style BBQ.
Parkway Bakery & Tavern
538 Hagan Ave., New Orleans, LA 70119
5240 Annunciation St., New Orleans, LA 70115
2118 3rd street, Kenner, LA 70062
9013 Jefferson Hwy, River Ridge, LA 70123
Dong Phuong Oriental Bakery
14207 Chef Menteur Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70129