Po’ Boy Sandwich at Parkway Bakery and Tavern

Po’ Boy Sandwich at Parkway Bakery and Tavern

We first came to New Orleans 2 years ago for Mardi Gras.

Then came here running away from Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, and this time from form Hurricane Irma.

A few days that we spent here during each of these visits were not enough to learn much and to see everything, but what an interesting history, what a fascinating architecture, what a great food…

You can’t talk about the food in New Orleans and not mention Po’ Boy sandwiches. We learned about Po’ boy sandwiches and tried them in our first visits here. The story behind the Po’ Boys is a fascinating one.

When motormen and conductors of street cars in New Orleans went on strike July 1, 1929, 2 brothers, who used to work as carmen themselves, and who since 1922 had a sandwich shop Martin Brothers’ Coffee Stand and Restaurant in the French Market, promised to feed fellow Carmen until the end of the strike.

One of the brothers later said “We fed those men free of charge until the strike ended. Whenever we saw one of the striking men coming, one of us would say, “Here comes another poor boy.” And according to the legend, this is how the Po’ boy sandwich started.

There are a lot of sandwich shops selling Po’boy sandwiches in New Orleans. And many of them claim theirs is the best. Today we went to Po’ Boy Sandwich at Parkway Bakery and Tavern and tried their best Po’ Boy sandwich. At least they can support the claim as they were the best po’ boy in Louisiana in 2016.

Parkway Bakery and TavernWe took an Original po’ boy with roasted beef, and a Surf N Turf Po’ Boy sandwich and 4 of us shared. Wow, so overwhelmingly abundant and so delicious. Half of full sandwich fills you up good. I thought that to eat a full sandwich is a suicide, but my son said that if he were hungry, he could handle the whole sandwich. Well, he is young (by my standards) and adventurous. I am too old for that.

As for “poor boys”, it is an interesting story. Martin brothers “worked with baker John Gendusa to develop a 40-inch loaf of bread that retained its uniform shape. This innovation allowed for half-loaf sandwiches 20 inches in length as well as a 15-inch standard and smaller ones. The original poor boy sandwiches offered the same fillings as had been served on French bread loaves before the strike, but the size was startlingly new.”

Let me tell you that if those sandwiches were anywhere close to the ones we ate today, a 20” or even a 15” sandwich could be enough for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

There are so many fine places to eat and fine food in New Orleans. But if you did not try Po’ Boy sandwiches, you missed big, both on taste and history.

Po’ Boy Sandwich at Parkway Bakery and Tavern is one of those places that are worth visiting.

P.S. When we were there, they were filming the episode for Travel Channel, so you can see a cameraman in the photo and in the short video.

Parkway Bakery & Tavern in New Orleans. September 2017

Parkway Bakery & Tavern in New Orleans. September 2017

About Jon Zolsky

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