You can’t go wrong with a Po Boy sandwich when you visit NOLA. But where can you find the best Po Boy in New Orleans?
Who makes the best Po Boy in New Orleans?
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. Our quest to find the best version of the iconic American sandwich was both a challenge and delight.
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 a great way to connect with locals since everybody in New Orleans loves to talk about food. It’s a question that visitors often ask us, though they usually ask the question about cheesesteaks, a Philadelphia sandwich icon. This was our turn to ask the food-focused question.
Where to Eat the Best Po Boy in New Orleans?
We found out that there is no consensus on our question. Some people said Domilise’s Po-Boys & Bar. Others said Casamento’s Restaurant and Mother’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.
With no consensus on our question, we headed back to Parkway Bakery and Tavern for Po Boys and beer. We loved it there during our first New Orleans visit, and we wanted our friends to experience the delicious sandwiches for themselves.
We returned to New Orleans for a fourth visit and Parkway still serves our favorite New Orleans Po Boy. We took the photograph at the top of this article during the later visit.
Parkway Bar and Tavern
Parkway Bar and Tavern is located a couple miles away from the heart of the French Quarter. Don’t be afraid of the distance – it’s just a Canal streetcar ride and a short walk to the Mid-City eatery.
As you approach Parkway, you might think you’ve gone off the beaten track. Don’t worry – regardless of the time of your visit, you will likely arrive to find a large number of locals and tourists queued up for their New Orleans po boy fix.
The restaurant is rife with history, kitsch and historic kitsch. The walls are filled with memorabilia including old menus. Dating back to 1911, the restaurant is entitled to that.
There’s are loads of picnic tables, but the best seats 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.
But what about the food??? Read on for the main event…
Parkway’s 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 for upgrading to a large Po Boy, so it’s worth going large to get the extra fillings, plus you will likely want to save some for later. That’s assuming you want room for a side. Trust us, you do.
The cooks at Parkway serve various types of sides featuring fries and chili. We recommend ordering 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.
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.
Finding drinks in New Orleans is never a problem even when your main goal is a po boy. At Parkway Bakery and Tavern, the double bloody mary is both cost-effective and delicious.
Get it extra spicy bloody mary if your taste buds and stomach can handle it. Highly recommended!
After you order your drinks, it’s time to focus on the main attraction. Let’s face it – 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 this classic New Orleans sandwich tastes so darned good?
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.
Final Thoughts on New Orleans Po Boys
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 in NOLA, 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.
Plan Your New Orleans Stay
Have we convinced you to visit New Orleans and find your favorite Po Boy sandwich?
Many restaurants have revised their hours and menus due to COVID-19. Some may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check this restaurant’s website for updated information before your visit.
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.