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The question of where to eat po'boys in New Orleans is no simple thing, so we've written multiple entries on the iconic sandwiches, depending on whether you're looking for a meat- or seafood-dominated po'boy. (See fried seafood po'boy and BBQ shrimp po’boy for more background on the NOLA po’boy.)
Roast beef is a very popular brand of po'boy, and “debris” just refers to shredded roast beef that’s been moistened with pan drippings or simmered extra long so it absorbs more gravy and seasoning. If you want tender, falling-apart meat with lots of juicy flavor, look for a debris po'boy. We’re combining this entry with regular roast beef po’boys since they’re often prepared with gravy too, making them similar.
Where: Mother’s (401 Poydras St., map) in the CBD is famed for its debris sandwich, which when “dressed” comes with cabbage, pickle, mayo, and mustard. We liked that it doesn’t overflow with messy meat; though really moist, the meat soaks only a bit of the bottom part of the bread, keeping the sandwich intact.
When: Mon-Sun, 7am-8pm
Order: The debris sandwich, dressed ($15.50 full size; $14 for small). The roast beef sandwich is priced the same and comes topped with debris and au jus, so you can't go wrong with either po'boy. This place is really popular, especially among area business trippers, for breakfast (lots of eggs and grits) and lunch (served after 11am), when you can try all the Creole standards.
Good to know: If you come during prime breakfast or lunch hours, expect a line—sometimes out the door. It moves relatively quickly. You’ll be in the company of more locals if you go on a weekday.
Where: Parkway Bakery & Tavern (538 Hagan Ave., map) in Mid-City does a mean hot-roast-beef-with-gravy po’boy for which the roast beef is homemade and slow-cooked for 12 hours. Attention, carnivores: This sandwich is very thick on the meat and gravy, so much so on ours that the bread quickly sogged up and couldn’t be eaten as a sandwich (and who wants to use a fork to eat a po’boy?). Tasty, but very messy. “Dressed” here means lettuce, tomato, mayo, and pickles.
When: Wed-Sun, 10am-6pm
Order: The roast beef with gravy, dressed ($8.99/$12.99), on French bread (they offer other breads here)—notice the prices are less touristy. This is a great local spot with outdoor seating to boot. Or try one of the fried seafood po’boys. Sweet potato fries make a delicious accompaniment.
Alternatively: A nondescript French Quarter market and deli called Verti Marte (1201 Royal St., map) has great po'boys and is open 24/7 to boot. You might try Mahony’s Po’boy Shop (3454 Magazine St., map) near the Garden District or R&O’s (504-831-1248; 216 Metairie Hammond Hwy, map) in Metairie, where the bread is extra crusty—but you’ll need a car to get there.
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