What Makes a Po Boy a Po Boy?
How does a po boy differ from a sub, hero, hoagie, grinder, wedge, or zep? First, there’s the bread, which is lighter and fluffier than the chewy loaves used in most northern versions; then there is a roster of ingredients seldom found in sandwiches outside of southern Louisiana. These include fried shrimp, crawfish, and/or oysters, roast beef debris (meat-laced gravy), and Creole mustard. New Orleans is where the po boy sandwich first was conceived, and where it’s at its best. In addition to NOLA favorites, this list also includes a few must-eat versions outside the city along the Gulf Coast.
- Three types of po boys are offered at Parkway Bakery & Tavern in New Orleans. Our favorite was the gravy po boy. This sandwich is made with such tender meat, and so much gravy, that it is hard to tell the two components of the sandwich apart between bites.
- For any newcomers to Domilise’s Po-Boys we highly recommend the hot smoked sausage sandwich with gravy. Getting it “dressed,” with tomato, lettuce and creole mustard, is a must as well. The sandwich is so large that must be cut into thirds in order to fit on a plate.
- The po boys sold at Killer Po Boys are unusual but delicious. All sandwiches are loaded with your choice of meat as well as lime spice, sriracha aioli, pickled daikon radish, carrot, and cucumber. We loved both the seared gulf shrimp po boy and the vegetarian option, the roasted sweet potato po boy.
- There are many dishes served at Mother’s, it would be tough for us to order anything other than a po boy sandwich. Topped with “debris,” a New Orleans word for all the tiny bits and pieces that fall off the roast and sit in its juices, the sliced beef po boy is fantastic. A strictly debris po boy is also available.
Maurice and Sunset, Louisiana
- Although there is a sign saying Villager’s is “Louisiana’s Best-Kept Seceret,” the restaurant is well known and often busy. This is all for good reason though, excellent po boys are served at Villager’s. We loved both the meatball and the pot roast po boy. When on a tour a few years ago, the majority of our participants agreed with us that the pot roast was better.
- Unusual as it was to us, the pulled brisket po boy served at Chickorys Coffee & Café was delicious. The beef was slow roasted, packed with flavor and unbelievably tender. The sandwich came fully dressed with mayo, lettuce and tomato on a loaf of fine Gambino’s Bakery bread with paper-thin crust.
Mississippi, Florida and Alabama
- Po boys are offered with the option of being both “dressed” and “pressed” at Fayard’s in Biloxi, Mississippi. “Dressed” means the usual, mustard, mayo, lettuce and tomato. “Pressed” means that the po boy is cooked in a sandwich press which causes all the flavors to blend in a way that is unknown to most po boys.
- Ran by Pam Lycett, the Fisherman’s Wife has a variety of seafood on the menu. One dish that stood out to us was the oyster po boy. Served open faced, the sandwich is too large to pick up initially. After eating off some of the fantastic fried oysters, we were able to close the sandwich. No complaints here!
- Big Daddy’s Grill serves a variety of seafood based po boy sandwiches that are great for any seafood lover. Options include soft shell crab, crawfish, fried oysters and a crawfish po boy crab cake sandwich. For patrons who cannot decide which to order, a half and half option is available.
A blue-collar cafeteria with blue-ribbon Creole fare, Mother's serves New Orleans classics with style and sass, three meals a day. Red beans and rice, please!
A friendly Cajun coffee shop with lattes and smoothies, Chickorys also serves great gumbo, brisket sandwiches and outstanding white chocolate bread pudding.
Big Daddy's serves some of the best fried seafood in south Alabama, next to the Fish River. Those in the know go for the soft shell crabs or crawfish.