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.
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.