You can’t go wrong with a Po-Boy sandwich in New Orleans. But where can you find the best Po-Boys?
Who makes your favorite Po-Boy?
This is the question that we asked locals as we wandered around the Big Easy from the French Quarter to the Bywater neighborhood to Magazine Street. We posed this question to servers, bartenders, hotel clerks, cemetery workers and even to eccentric artist Dr. Bob. Our motivation was to find out where the locals like to eat the iconic New Orleans sandwich that dates back to the early 20th century. Asking the question was also a great way to connect with locals since everybody loves to talk about food. It’s a question that visitors often ask 2foodtrippers, though they usually ask the question about cheesesteaks, a Philadelphia sandwich icon. This was our turn to ask the food-focused question.
Best Po-Boys in New Orleans
We found out that there is no consensus to our question. Some people said Domilise’s Po-Boys & Bar. Others said Camasento’s Restaurant. Yet others said our personal favorite, Parkway Bakery & Tavern. Interestingly, some people answered our question with a question. They wanted to know what kind of Po-Boy since they had different answers for shrimp versus oyster versus roast beef.
As for us, we had just missed an opportunity to do a grand experiment. Our trip started just days after the annual New Orleans Po-Boy Festival. This type of festival is right up our alley, which is why we hightailed it to a hamburger festival that was conveniently happening in Toronto when we were in the Canadian city last summer. Perhaps it was for the best since missing this festival means that we missed an inevitable Po-Boy induced food coma.
With no consensus to our question, we headed back to Parkway Bakery and Tavern for Po-Boys. We loved it there during our last New Orleans visit, and we wanted our friends Heidi and Karl to experience the delicious sandwiches for themselves.
Parkway Bar and Tavern
Parkway Bar and Tavern is a couple miles away from the heart of the French Quarter. It’s just a Canal streetcar ride and short walk to the Mid-City eatery.
You might think you’re going off the beaten track until you arrive to find a large number of locals and tourists queued up for their Po-Boy fix.
The restaurant is rife with history, kitsch and historic kitsch. Dating back to 1911, the restaurant is entitled to that.
There’s are loads of picnic tables, but the best spots are at the bar. The bar has a chill atmosphere with friendly servers and a full selection of Abita beer. Plus, it’s a great way to avoid the food line, assuming that you’re not into lines.
Finding a good drink is never a problem in New Orleans. At Parkway Bakery and Tavern, the double bloody mary is both cost effective and delicious. Get it extra spicy if your tastebuds and stomach can handle it.
After you order your drinks, it’s time to focus on the main attraction. At the end of the day, Parkway Bakery and Tavern is all about the Po-Boys. Is it the crispy French bread? Is it the way that the hot sauce clings to the fresh ingredients? Does it matter why it tastes so darned good?
The shrimp Po-Boy is brimming with perfectly fried crustacean morsels. Lightly breaded, the shrimps are the star of the popular sandwich.
Not as popular but just as delicious is the grilled hot sausage beef patty Po-Boy. If you love your sausage hot and flavorful, then this may be the sandwich for you. We recommend getting it fully dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, mayo and pickles.
The large sandwiches live up to their name. The price difference is minimal, so it’s worth going large to get extra fillings and/or to get leftovers for later. That’s assuming you want room for a side. Trust us, you do. There are also various types of sides featuring fries and chili. We recommend the fries topped with gravy and huge pieces of tender roast beef. In another time and place, this side would and could be the main course.
Some people would call the succulent roast beef debris. As for us, we made our own debris as we plowed through lunch.
You clearly will not have room for dessert after a Po-Boy and a side or two. That’s no excuse to miss out on the homemade bread pudding served in a pool of rum sauce. It’s that good. Share it, taste it, eat it and be happy.
At the end of the meal, it’s great to get a drink to go and sit at the nearby park and gaze at a rainbow in the sky. At least that’s what we did.
Fatter and happier than when we started the day, we had the answer to our original question about the best Po-Boys. The answer is New Orleans. When you’re there, eat a Po-Boy. Maybe two. You won’t be sorry.
Parkway Bakery and Tavern is located at 538 Hagan Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70119, United States.