Po' boys get their name from the shortened, "poor boys," which many take to mean a sandwich designed to fill you up without breaking the bank. Which can be true, but the story behind this sandwich is that some young boys went on strike and a local restaurant owner took pity on them, gave them some sandwiches, and called them poor boys.
There are many legends behind this sandwich, so whichever one you believe, just be sure to get yours dressed. A dressed po' boy includes, in addition to the filling of your choice, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and creamy mayonnaise. Add some good quality hot sauce to that heavenly combo to make the perfect Creole treat.
All we know is that when you find yourself in Louisiana, you must get your hands on as many po' boys as possible. So, here are our top picks for the 8 best po' boys to fall in love with while in our favorite boot-shaped state.
1. Lafayette: Fried Oyster Po' Boy at Olde Tyme Grocery
In operation since 1982, this beautiful hole-in-the-wall oozes local charm and serves up the best po' boys in Louisiana. Olde Tyme Grocery is owned and operated by Glenn Murphree, a lover of po' boys since he was a child, he purchased this establishment to share his love for this iconic sandwich with all who pass through his doors.
My personal way to stuff a po' boy is with deep fried Gulf oysters, it is also one of the classic ways to eat this Southern specialty--make sure you get yours fully dressed with good Louisiana hot sauce. Crispy on the outside, creamy sea-brined flavors on the inside, this is by far the best thing to eat in this great state.
2. Alexandria: Fried Soft Shell Crab Po' Boy at Robbie G's Restaurant
This seasonal delight is my second favorite way to enjoy a po' boy. Soft shell crab season along the Gulf Coast begins in April and ends around October or November, so make sure to stuff you face with crunchy, sea-sweet soft shelled crabs while you can.
Robbie G's Restaurant prides itself on serving top quality Gulf seafood and they are well known all around the state for their decadent po' boys. This is a peanut-shells-on-the-floor kind of establishment, so you know the food is going to be good ol' down home cookin'.
3. Baton Rouge: Fried Shrimp Po' Boy at Dempsey's Po' Boys
Life doesn't get any better than when you have this po' boy in your hands and on its way into your mouth. Succulent fried Gulf shrimp, creamy mayonnaise, and crispy lettuce, this is the stuff my po' boy dreams are made of.
Dempsey's is well-known by locals for their made-from-scratch-daily Cajun creations, friendly service, and their laid-back atmosphere. Be sure to save room for their gumbo, it's some of the best in the state, but I'll save that for another article.
4. New Orleans: Fried Alligator Po' Boy at Royal House
Seasoned with zesty Creole spices, battered, and fried, you can't get much more Louisianan than when you eat this alligator po' boy. Served on perfectly toasted French bread, with a side of their house fries, this is a good way to take a breather from partying on Bourbon Street.
This historic restaurant and oyster bar managed to survive Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and underwent extensive renovations in 2008. But, even through Royal House got a facelift, she still exudes the charm and architecture of the French-inspired city of New Orleans. Come for the food, but stay and have a look around this beauty of a business.
5. Lake Charles: Spicy Crawfish Peaux Boy at Buffi's Peaux Boys
Juicy crawfish slathered in a Cajun-spiced sauce that's bursting with pops of sweet corn, stuffed into a perfectly toasted French baguette, this sandwich will drip down your arms, but I guarantee you won't mind one bit.
Buffi's Peaux Boys is located in a strip center and boasts some of the best creamy crawfish creations you can wrap your mouth around. Their spicy crawfish peaux boy is not a traditional one, but it sure is a must-try if you're ever in the Lakes Charles area. Make sure you save room for dessert, their berry bread pudding is the perfect ending to this luscious meal.
6. Shreveport: Hurricane Katrina Burger at Marilynn's Place
Another not so traditional po' boy, this "burger" is piled high with a ground beef patty, tender roast beef, crunchy bacon-y goodness, cheese, and spicy jalapeños, all on a toasty French baguette. This storm of a sandwich will fill you up with the zesty spice of Louisiana cookin' and three different types of meaty goodness.
Marilynn's Place is just the place to go to get your Cajun-spiced fix. Revered by locals and travelers alike, be sure to start your meal with their seafood gumbo and end it with their caramel-y bananas foster. Maybe share with a friend, if you're feeling nice.
7. Natchitoches: Vegetable Po' Boy at French Market
Basically a grilled cheese piled high with grilled fresh veggies, this is one of those sandwiches that lets you indulge without feeling too guilty. Rich, melty cheese, peppers, and onions, all served with the perfect chew of a good baguette, this sandwich is a delicious vegetarian twist on the classic po' boy.
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the French Market is there for you whenever your tummy growls with hunger. Part convenient store, part bakery, this place is a one-stop shop for all your needs. Be sure to grab a slice of their Louisiana yam cake, which is family recipe that has been passed down through generations, so you know it's good.
8. Monroe: Roast Beef Po' Boy at Magic Grill
Sliced, tender beef, crispy fries, and a side of rich brown gravy, this po' boy oozes with a sparkle of magic and tangy Louisiana flavors. This classic po' boy is elevated by the homemade-daily gravy and crispy hand-cut fries, so be sure to pile some fries on your sandwich--just trust me on this one.
The Magic Grill is loved by locals for their excellent customer service and exceptionally delicious food. With two locations in the Monroe area, they pride themselves on a growing business that serves tasty Cajun treats with a smile. Be sure to pair your meal with one of their pineapple shakes.