Best po-boys on the Gulf Coast

Oyster po-boy at Desporte in Biloxi

It’s been a while since we talked about po-boys, but I am in the mood to reminisce about one of the Coast’s most famous sandwiches. Some might hesitate to call a po-boy a sandwich as it is special enough to be a category of its own, but broadly speaking, it is a sandwich of a grand sort.

Everybody has their favorite spot, and if you want to get into an argument, tell someone that yours is better than theirs! It’s not a good idea in this time of deep divisions. I think we are all better off to keep some opinions to ourselves. Right?

The history of the po-boy is an interesting one. The story of the streetcar strike in New Orleans, and the kind restaurant owners feeding the “poor boys” on strike sandwiches made from leftovers on a French baguette, is a good story, but I assure you that that was not the first time a sandwich was made in that manner. The French have been adding good things to a sliced open baguette for countless years, and it was often lunch for a farmer or worker who didn’t have time to come home for lunch or the means to go to a restaurant. Wrapped in a bit of old newspaper, that baguette filled with ham, or left-over meat of almost any sort, would make a fine lunch.

I am hesitant to tell you my favorite places, because there are so many really good places to get a po-boy, but I’ll give you a few of the ones I enjoy the most, and apologies to anyone I leave out. Quave Brothers in D’Iberville makes my favorite pot roast beef po-boy. It is messy and delicious, and when I drop by there for takeout, my po-boy seldom makes it home intact. Desporte in Biloxi makes a mean oyster po-boy, and I always ask for extra mayo and only a quick cook on the oysters. As soon as they are brown, they are done. Po-Boy Express in Ocean Springs has a great beef and shrimp po-boy, just make sure to ask for extra gravy. The gravy is so good there that they go through almost two gallons a day. No Kidding. Pirate’s Cove in Pass Christian is perhaps one of the most famous and oldest po-boy spots on the Coast, and every one I have ever had there was just great. There are several service stations on the Coast that are famous for their po-boys, but I just love the cheeseburger po-boy at the old Fayard’s on Pops Ferry Road. The deli has a new name. and, sorry to say, I just can’t find it at the moment.

There is just nothing like a good po-boy—winter or supper—and south Mississippi is loaded with good spots. No matter what your favorite is, get out there and explore a little bit. I think you will be delighted with what you find.

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Written by Julian Brunt

Julian Brunt is a food and travel writer that has been writing about the food culture of the Deep South for over a decade. He is the eleventh generation of his family to live in the South, grew up in Europe, traveled extensively for the first fifteen years after graduating from the University of Maryland, University College, Heidelberg, Germany. Today, he's a contributor for multiple publications, including Our Mississippi Home. He's also appeared on Gordon Ramsay's television show, "To Hell and Back in 24 Hours."

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