Parkway | Best of the Best Po Boy Sandwiches in New Orleans

Review by: Michael Stern

Roast Beef Love in New Orleans

New Orleans’ roast beef po boys don’t draw the attention bestowed on more distinctly regional Gulf Coast fried-seafood heroes. But locals love them. The superior beef sandwiches made by eateries in and around New Orleans are as intrinsic as a muffaletta or an oyster loaf. For a best of the best po boy sandwich in which roast beef rules, go to Parkway Bakery & Tavern.

Delicious Debris

Parkway is a wood-frame building overlooking Bayou St. John. It presents its roast beef po boy tightly wrapped in a tube of butcher paper. Even as you get it at the kitchen window, gravy splotches have begun to mottle the paper. Unwrap it and behold a length of fresh, brawny bread loaded with beef. The beef is so falling-apart tender that it seems not to have been sliced but rather hand-pulled, like fine barbecued pork. Myriad slivers, nuggets, and dainty clumps weigh heavy in the bread. You will have a hard time discerning where the meat ends and gravy begins. There is so much gravy saturating the meat and so many carving-board scraps, known as debris (say DAY-bree) in the gravy.

That meaty gravy makes the city’s ultimate dining bargain. For little more than the cost of an assembly-line fast-food meal, Parkway’s gravy po boy fills the chewy bread with nothing but gravy. No big hunks of beef. The bread is substantial enough to absorb massive amounts of the liquid and booming beef flavor. It thus becomes the most appetizing savory loaf imaginable. The debris that crowds it delivers the concentrated essence of roast beef. Spud-lovers have a few fistfuls of French fries stuffed in along with the gravy, a variation known as the Streetcar Poorboy. (Historians speculate that the very first po boys were made in 1929 to feed striking streetcar workers, who were in fact poor boys.)

For me, beef is the #1 choice. A crazy improvement is the surf & turf po boy, which adds fried shrimp to the formula. How the shrimp stay crisp with all that beef and gravy remains a mystery. The combination dazzles the palate, not only for its taste, but for its textures.

Name Your Favorite

Beyond beef, the menu offers po boys made with everything from smoked alligator sausage to butterflied Vienna Beef hot dogs from Chicago. Vegans can choose a Beyond Burger po boy. Large appetites might want to plow into one called The Bayou Beast. For that, BBQ beef, fried shrimp, sausage, and cheese fill a custom-baked loaf of French bread that is three feet long.

Directions & Hours

10am - 6pm
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

What To Eat

Surf ‘n’ Turf Po Boy

DISH
Sausage Po Boy

DISH
Gravy Po Boy

DISH

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