New Orleans is known to have some of the most unique foods created in all of the US that are native to this city. This was one of my missions, to try as much of the local food as possible.
But the best way to do it, is where the recipe either started or grew into what it is known for today.
Again, working with NOLA CVB, we were able to pinpoint some of the top choices for local eats. Since I was traveling with my boys alone, fine dining or anything that required a lot of waiting time would have been a challenge. Gratefully, the majority of the restaurants that are internationally known for those particular foods are quick and easy and, most importantly, fun and tasty.
Our first restaurant to taste was the famous and historic – Johnny’s Po Boys. And can you guess what they specialize in?
Po Boys! (And lots more)
What I loved most about this restaurant, was that it’s an order-at-the-counter style place. That means you can see what is being made, and simply order there and the food comes out to quickly.
Johnny’s Po Boys Restaurant Is Full of History and Fun Facts
Facts about Johnny’s Po Boys
- Johnny’s Po-boys is the oldest family owned po-boy restaurant in New Orleans.
- They have received accolades from some of the finest institutions in the country, ranging from Good Housekeeping’s top 100 value restaurants in the United States to Rand McNally’s Best of the Road.
- Following Katrina, Johnny’s, the city’s oldest family-owned po-boy restaurant, re-opened its doors on October 31st 2005, In an effort to help rebuild the city. The first restaurant to open after the hurricane’s destruction.
History of The Restaurant
- Johnny’s Po-Boys is a New Orleans French Quarter Landmark. Established in 1950.
- Located in the heart of the French Quarter at 511 St. Louis Street.
- The original owners were Mr. Johnny and Ms. Betty De Grusha
- It was a grocery store and sandwich shop at 506 Chartres.
- In 1950, to keep up with expanding business, Johnny and Betty moved to their current location.
- When Johnny’s first started, Mr. Johnny fed the workers on the River, the Courthouse, Jax Brewery, Royal Orleans, locals and the tourists.
- During those days the restaurant opened 7:00 a.m. and closed sometimes at 10:00 p.m.
- Their menu had: Red Beans & Rice, Gumbo, Fried chicken, Meatballs & Spaghetti and Hamburger Steak with grilled onions. These meals are still offered today.
So What in the World Are Po Boys?
- It is a traditional submarine sandwich from Louisiana.
- It consists of meat, usually roast beef, or fried seafood served on baguette-like New Orleans French bread.
- The traditional versions are served hot and include fried shrimp and oysters.
- A “dressed” po’ boy has lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayonnaise. Onions are optional.
A Bit of History about the Po Boys New Orleans
- In the late 1800s fried oyster sandwiches on French loaves were known in New Orleans and San Francisco as “oyster loaves”, a term still in use. The sandwich was alternately called a “peacemaker” or “La Mediatrice”
- A popular local theory claims that “po’ boy”, as specifically referring to a type of sandwich, was coined in a New Orleans restaurant owned by Benny and Clovis Martin.
- In 1929, during a four-month strike against the streetcar company, the Martin brothers served their former colleagues free sandwiches.
- The Martins’ restaurant workers jokingly referred to the strikers as “poor boys”. As the men came into the restaurant, they would say “Here comes another ‘poor boy’ man”. And so, the po-boy became a part of New Orleans cuisine.
Po Boy Festival
- Each year there is a festival in New Orleans dedicated to the Po’ Boy, the Oak Street Po’Boy Festival
- It is a one-day festival that features live music, arts, and food vendors with multiple types of po’ boys.
- It is held in mid-November along a commercial strip of Oak Street in the city’s Carrollton neighborhood.
Information About Visiting Johnny’s Po Boys
Address: 511 Saint Louis Street, French Quarter, New Orleans, LA
Hours: 8am – 4:30pm every day