If you are a po-boy fan, the sandwich the Coast made famous, then you will certainly know of Quave Brothers in D’Iberville.
Some say that Quave Brothers is home to the best pot roast beef po-boy ever. All of their po-boys are good — even great — but the pot roast beef is simply over the top. A roast beef po-boy is made with sliced roast beef, which is certainly good, but the pot roast beef, a roast beef that has been slowly braised until it is falling apart, with a deep, rich gravy, is even better.
Now there is a new Quave Brothers location, centrally located in Biloxi, and I could not be more excited. A great po-boy just five minutes away? Wow. The Biloxi menu is smaller than the D’Iberville one and is composed of po-boys only. Besides the pot roast beef, there are po-boys made with ham, turkey, hamburger, catfish, shrimp, oyster, and quite a few others, including another favorite of mine, crab meat (known to locals as the Van Cleve Special).
Everyone (at least po-boy aficionados) has heard the story our neighbors in New Orleans are fond of telling, that the po-boy was invented in their fair city during a streetcar strike when local restaurant owner felt sorry for the “poor boys” on strike and made sandwiches for them by splitting open baguettes and adding whatever they had on hand.
It’s a good story, but it is simply not the truth. The frugal French have been adding leftovers to a split-open baguette for generations. It’s something similar to the tamales Delta farm workers put in their pockets for a lunch in the fields. Wrapped in butcher paper, or a used newspaper, the baguette holds up nicely.
In fact, one of the most famous sandwiches in the world, jambon beurre, a simple French creation of crusty bread, good butter, and salty ham, comes from this family of sandwiches and is perhaps the forerunner of our po-boys.
This lovely sandwich style is called a submarine in some places, a hoagie. or grinder in others, but I much prefer our rendition, the humble po-boy. A good po-boy is made with chewy bread (never soft white bread) and a variety of seafood and other good things. Generally, the fried shrimp po-boy is the most popular, and the oyster is a close second, but to me, nothing comes close to the pot roast beef po-boy at Quave Brothers.