538 Hagan St
New Orleans, LA 70119
There may not be a bakery at Parkway anymore, and though there is a tavern portion, people come here for neither the bakery, nor the tavern, but the Po Boys. They’re pretty famous, you see, with even POTUS Obama stopping by with his fam for a sammich. Parkway are right up there with Domilise’s, Parasol’s, Mother’s, Crabby Jack’s et al, and you’ll often find it listed amongst “top 3″ po boy eateries in Nola.
Up in Mid-City/Bayou St John, Parkway is removed from the usual well worn tourist trails, but don’t be expecting anything fancy. It’s a simple bar and sandwich shop, with a huge outdoor area crammed with plastic trestle tables. Sit inside to eat- there was just something about the outdoor area that was unwelcoming and characterless. The food window was super cute though.
Whatever- it’s about the food not the decor, right?
Though I have since discovered that people go nuts for the roast beef poboy here, I went with the shrimp poboy, figuring that I should save the beef for when I’m in Texas. It was a generously portioned and well priced sandwich brimming with crispy, golden-fried plump shrimp. Dressed with lettuce and tomato, hold the mayo!
I’ll go on record again to say that batter beats breading/crumbing any day of the week. Sure, oysters are traditionally breaded then fried, but I prefer when shrimp/pickles/onion rings are in a crispy light batter, rather than a tough crumb coating. So I was a fan of Parkway’s batter mix for sure.
Despite being at a place famous for poboys, my friend Dana ordered the Turkey & Alligator Sausage gumbo (but she’s pregnant so there’s no accounting for her cravings!).
Parkway have a pretty extensive menu by poboy standards, a huge range and even a stack of vegetarian options, including a caprese poboy!! They also have sweet potato fries as a side option.
I didn’t have a car when I visited Parkway, and it took some organising to get out there (ie: it was a destination trip, not close to anything else). What I got was (delicious) battered fried shrimp, with basic vegetable dressings, on Leidenheimer’s bread. Because nearly every single poboy shop in the entire city of New Orleans uses Leidenheimer’s baguette for their sandwiches.
So this begs the question – if the ingredients are so basic, and the largest variable (the bread) is ubiquitous and used most of everywhere, is it worth going out of your way? And on a bigger note, how much of a difference exists between the better po boy vendors of the city?
I think there’s an argument for something like a roast beef poboy, with variables like which spices are used in the cooking? How long is the meat cooked? How much gravy is added to the bread? Is the gravy heavy with debris? But, for a basic shrimp poboy, I say save the effort and hit up your local.
What do y’all think? Is there that much difference between a shrimp poboy from location to location?