I made a list of all the types of food I wanted to try during my trip to New Orleans, and an authentic Po’ Boy was one of them! I did my research I heard that Parkway Bakery and Tavern was the ultimate po’ boy stop. Parkway has been a neighborhood landmark and a NOLA institution since 1911, when it started as a bakery. Fast forward to today, Travel + Leisure Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and The Food Network, among hundreds of other outlets have hailed Parkway as the home of the best po’boy’s in the city.
You know how there’s mall Chinese food, and then there’s real actual Chinese food? Like no one in Asia actually eats orange chicken. That’s Americanized Chinese food, not real Chinese food.
Well that’s kind of the way it was with the po’ boy. I’ve heard of po’ boys and even had a few of them in the past, but a po’ boy in Wisconsin or Florida or anywhere else is not the same as a po’ boy in Louisiana.
If you don’t know what a po’ boy is I’ll fill you in. It’s a sandwich that almost always includes meat, usually roast beef, or fried seafood, topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayo, and served on a French baguette (keeping with the heavy French influence of the city).
The name po’ boy came about in 1929, (around the time of the Great Depression for all you history buffs out there). A restaurant began serving free sandwiches to workers who were striking against the streetcar company. The strikers were referred to as “poor boys”, and soon the sandwiches took on that name as well. Throw in the Louisiana dialect and “poor boy” becomes “po’ boy”.
I wanted the most original po’ boy possible so I enlisted the help of our waiter (who was phenomenal). I went with the fried shrimp and was definitely impressed. I’m not typically a fried shrimp fan, but this shrimp was perfectly crunchy on the outside and so so good.
And now I can never eat po’boy’s anywhere else but New Orleans ever again.