It’s been a while since we talked about po-boys, but I am in the mood to reminisce about one of the Coast’s most famous sandwiches. Some might hesitate to call a po-boy a sandwich as it is special enough to be a category of its own, but broadly speaking, it is a sandwich of a grand sort.
Everybody has their favorite spot, and if you want to get into an argument, tell someone that yours is better than theirs! It’s not a good idea in this time of deep divisions. I think we are all better off to keep some opinions to ourselves. Right?
The history of the po-boy is an interesting one. The story of the streetcar strike in New Orleans, and the kind restaurant owners feeding the “poor boys” on strike sandwiches made from leftovers on a French baguette, is a good story, but I assure you that that was not the first time a sandwich was made in that manner. The French have been adding good things to a sliced open baguette for countless years, and it was often lunch for a farmer or worker who didn’t have time to come home for lunch or the means to go to a restaurant. Wrapped in a bit of old newspaper, that baguette filled with ham, or left-over meat of almost any sort, would make a fine lunch.
I am hesitant to tell you my favorite places, because there are so many really good places to get a po-boy, but I’ll give you a few of the ones I enjoy the most, and apologies to anyone I leave out. Quave Brothers in D’Iberville makes my favorite pot roast beef po-boy. It is messy and delicious, and when I drop by there for takeout, my po-boy seldom makes it home intact. Desporte in Biloxi makes a mean oyster po-boy, and I always ask for extra mayo and only a quick cook on the oysters. As soon as they are brown, they are done. Po-Boy Express in Ocean Springs has a great beef and shrimp po-boy, just make sure to ask for extra gravy. The gravy is so good there that they go through almost two gallons a day. No Kidding. Pirate’s Cove in Pass Christian is perhaps one of the most famous and oldest po-boy spots on the Coast, and every one I have ever had there was just great. There are several service stations on the Coast that are famous for their po-boys, but I just love the cheeseburger po-boy at the old Fayard’s on Pops Ferry Road. The deli has a new name. and, sorry to say, I just can’t find it at the moment.
There is just nothing like a good po-boy—winter or supper—and south Mississippi is loaded with good spots. No matter what your favorite is, get out there and explore a little bit. I think you will be delighted with what you find.