Po Boys

In the sprawling American family of overstuffed sandwiches on lengths of horizontally sliced bread, the po’ boy boasts the most diverse variations. It can be roast beef or catfish, a cheeseburger or peppered wiener, ham and cheese or fried oysters paired with roast beef gravy debris. When ordering a po’ boy of any configuration, eaters are asked if they want it dressed. That adds lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and, usually, pickles. Those made with sausage pose the question: regular mustard or Creole mustard? Aside from its plethora of ingredients, the po’ boy’s distinguishing feature is the bread on which it’s made – about 1/3 lighter that a typical northeast sub loaf, and with a crisp, elegant crust. A majority of New Orleans po’ boy makers use loaves from Leidenheimer Bakery, which has been around since the late 19th century. An Acadian variation of the po’ boy is called a pirogue, named after the shallow-bottom bayou canoe; and an obsolete nickname is la mediatrice, meaning peace-maker, supposedly because it was a sandwich wayward husbands brought home to appease an angry wife. Why “po’ boy”? One account says the sandwich originated when it was offered by a French Quarter restaurateur to streetcar workers (poor boys) during a 1929 labor strike. Another story is that the original po’ boys were simply lengths of bread sopped with gravy, hence affordable by poor boys.

Restaurants With This Dish

Freshy’s Seafood Market

MERCER ISLAND, WA

Happy House

AUGUSTA, GA

Magnolia’s

CHARLESTON, SC

Big Daddy’s Grill

FAIRHOPE, AL

Avery’s On Tulane

NEW ORLEANS, LA

Boss Oyster

APALACHICOLA, FL

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