Though New Orleans is well known for its upscale restaurants, humble fare like the po’boy sandwich delights locals and visitors alike. According to tradition, the sandwich originated in the city in 1929 when coffee stand owners Bennie and Clovis Martin fed streetcar motormen who were on strike to improve labor conditions. The two handed out the sandwich to the men free of charge until the strike ended.
Whenever they saw a striking man coming in, they would say, “Here comes another poor boy.” Louisiana dialect shorted this to po’boy, and a classic sandwich was born.
Po’boy sandwiches use baguettelike bread to hold usually either roast beef or fried seafood. If a server asks if a customer wants it “dressed,” that term refers to optional toppings, typically lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayonnaise.
Recommended Restaurant: Parkway Bakery and Tavern
Though opened before the po’boys invention in 1911, Parkway Bakery and Tavern became one of the first restaurants to serve the delicious sandwich.
“Parkway Bakery makes great po’boys,” said Sonnier. “There will likely be a line. Groups should not be deterred. The line moves fast. They call your name when it’s ready, and you go sit on the bar.”
When a shortage of escargot forced Antoine’s chef, Jules Alciatore, to get creative, he substituted some locally available oysters in a recipe that has remained unchanged since its creation in 1889. Alciatore named the dish after John D. Rockefeller, a wealthy businessman at the time, for its extreme richness.
Oysters Rockefeller consists of baked oysters topped with a sauce of butter, parsley, other green herbs and bread crumbs.
Recommended Restaurant: Antoine’s
Groups should visit the original source for a taste of this Creole meal.
“Antoine’s is one of the oldest continuously operated family-run restaurants in the country,” said Sonnier. “The recipe for oysters Rockefeller is a closely guarded secret.”
The New Orleans institution also boasts inventing other crowd-pleasing dishes, such as Pompano en Papillote and Eggs Sardou. The restaurant focuses on sophisticated Creole dishes.