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Killer Poboys
Photograph: Courtesy NOTMC/Rebecca Todd

The best po’boys in New Orleans

These restaurants are serving up the best po’boys in New Orleans, from fried shrimp and oyster to roast beef smothered in debris

Written by
Gerrish Lopez

While sandwiches served on French bread already existed, it’s generally accepted that the po’boy in name originated during the streetcar strike of 1929 with Benny and Clovis Martin at their Martin Brothers’ French Market Restaurant and Coffee stand. The brothers, both former transit workers, fed the striking workers —the “poor boys”—sandwiches made with cheaper cuts of meat on large loaves of bread they had specially made by Joseph Gendusa. The rest is history, and today, you can find many excellent po’boys throughout New Orleans. Some po’boy vendors make the list of the best restaurants in New Orleans, and there’s even a festival to honor the iconic sandwich.

Generations of locals are loyal to their favorite po’boy shops, many of which are small, family-run operations. Po’boy bread is a particular size and shape, and each po’boy shop sticks with their preferred producer: usually old-school bakers Leidenheimer or Gendusa, or the famous Vietnamese bakery Dong Phuong. Classic po’boys are stuffed with fried shrimp or oyster, hot sausage, roast beef or french fries, but you’ll find plenty of variation, including some modern and even vegan options. Visitors should note that you can ask for your po’boy “dressed,” which means topped with lettuce, tomato, mayo and pickles. Whatever you’re in the mood for, here’s where to find the best po’boys in New Orleans.

Best po’boys in New Orleans

Ever beloved by locals, this family-owned neighborhood spot on Bayou St. John is a bucket-list destination for visitors. Parkway has grown in its 100+ years to accommodate more diners without losing any of its charm or warmth. Overstuffed po’boys include all the classics, from giant Gulf shrimp fried to perfection to messy, juicy roast beef. Those who can’t decide between these two can opt for the surf ‘n turf. Other options include smoked alligator sausage, corned beef brisket, vegetarian caprese or—come Thanksgiving — a special po’boy stuffed with all the holiday fixins.

Tucked away in a neighborhood near Tulane University, this humble and unassuming corner store serves a solid selection of po’boys at very reasonable prices. Whether you opt for fried shrimp, fried fish, roast beef with gravy or a crunchy fried chicken po’boy, you won’t be disappointed. Even better, the sandwiches come on Dong Phuong bread. Adams Street Grocery is takeout only, so grab a po’boy and whatever other groceries you need and you’re all set to go.

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You’ll find this homey, family-run institution in business since 1975 in Metairie. Order at the deli counter, then grab a seat and prepare to feast. Radosta’s is known for its flavorful, house-made Italian sausage po’boys, but you can’t go wrong with any of the other po’boys on the menu: fried shrimp, catfish, french fry, eggplant parm and even a pork chop po’boy.

Given its location next to the Fairgrounds race track, Liuzza’s is often regarded as Jazz Fest central, but it’s a worthy destination any time of year for icy cold schooners of beer and hearty plates of traditional New Orleans fare. The laid-back neighborhood joint is an excellent spot for po’boys, notably the barbecue shrimp po’boy doused in Worcestershire sauce and butter. Another flavorful fave is the fried oyster po’boy with garlic butter. If you’re still hungry, try one of the best bowls of gumbo to be found anywhere in the city.


Killer Poboys specializes in po’boys with a bit of a twist. Try the seared shrimp with pickled carrots and daikon or the roast beef, beer-braised and served with pickled green beans and banana peppers. Vegans are well-served, like a roasted sweet potato po’boy with pecan, black-eyed pea spread and braised collard greens. You can still find them at their original spot in the back of one of the Quarter’s best dives, the Erin Rose, when you need sustenance after a few drinks.

A beloved neighborhood dive, Domilise’s is the favorite of generations of New Orleanians. Step back in time and grab a seat at a formica table to enjoy a good dose of history and camaraderie alongside your po’boy. And the po’boys are well worth any wait. The classics are the way to go, whether fried oyster, fried shrimp or juicy roast beef with debris. Do like the locals: wash it down with an icy cold Barq’s or domestic beer.


This cash-only, 24-hour corner store and deli is the best spot for late-night (and early morning) eats in the Quarter. The po’boys are hefty and flavorful, perfect for satisfying hunger after a night out. But you don’t need to be winding down after hours of drinking—these po’boys are delicious any time. The hot sausage po’boy, as is the roast beef made with a secret sauce, is a favorite. Then there’s the All That Jazz, a stunner stuffed with grilled turkey, ham, American and Swiss cheeses, fried shrimp and sautéed mushrooms.


Gentilly’s favorite po’boy spot is a modest lunch counter focusing on quality meats. The owner is a former butcher, and Sammy’s supplied the esteemed sausage patty used in Gene’s hot sausage po’boy before that iconic spot closed in 2019. Thus, the supremely spicy and satisfying hot sausage po’boy at Sammy’s is the one to get. Otherwise, go for the Ray Ray, a fried chicken po’boy topped with grilled ham and melted swiss cheese.

This old-school, family-owned spot boasts an extensive menu of po’boys. From the indulgent french fry with gravy or classics like fried shrimp, hot sausage and roast beef to over-the-top options like the half-catfish/half-fried crawfish po’boy, you will surely find something satisfying. Get any po’boy king-size and you’ve got a meal for two, especially if you add a side of gumbo or stuffed artichoke.


If you can’t wait for Jazz Fest to roll around, get your cochon de lait po’boy fix at Walker’s BBQ in the East. While Walker’s is focused more on barbecue rather than po’boys, it’s the creator of the famed Fest sandwich stuffed with slow-cooked pork topped with a sweet and spicy mustard slaw. Get there early as they sell out fast. If you need a seafood po’boy to go with the cochon de lait, head over to the adjacent Castnet Seafood and set up shop at an outdoor table.

Not far from Lake Pontchartrain, this family-run institution claims pizza as its forte, but locals know that the po’boys are just as high on the list. The casual joint offers plenty of room, and there’s a roll of paper towels on every table, so you know it will be good. The best po’boy here is the roast beef, stewed and topped with debris. R & O’s does seafood well too, so try the soft-shell crab when available. Of note is the rarer sesame seed-studded po’boy loaf, adding a bit of heft to each bite.


Bear’s is tucked away inside Gennaro’s, the oldest bar in Metairie. Grab a cold one and order a roast beef po’boy that’s among the best versions in the city. The beef is slow-cooked in-house and served on Leidenheimer bread. The Ferdie tops roast beef with grilled ham and swiss cheese. Fried seafood and several sausage options are just as good, especially with a side of homemade onion rings.

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