If you’ve ever visited New Orleans, chances are you’ve had a Po-boy. This classic sandwich has been a local favorite for decades and is an iconic part of the city’s culinary culture. But have you ever stopped to wonder where it got its name?
The origins of this delicious sandwich can be traced back to 1929, when brothers Bennie and Clovis Martin opened their first restaurant in the French Quarter. The restaurant became popular with striking streetcar workers in the area and soon gained a reputation as the go-to spot for sandwiches. In order to save on costs, they created their own version of a submarine style sandwich — stuffing it full of ingredients like beef, shrimp or oysters before dressing it up with lettuce, tomato and pickles.
When customers asked to “give me one of those damn poor boys” sandwiches, the name stuck. And just like that — Po'boys were born! From then on locals enjoyed these delicacies as a cheap meal option during hard times; or as an indulgent treat when money was plentiful.
Today the sandwich continues to evolve with chefs experimenting with all kinds of crazy fillings such as crawfish etouffee or deep fried catfish — often served up with tasty sides like gumbo or potato salad. There is even an official National Po Boy Day every April 10th — so make sure to head out for a bite if you find yourself in town around that time!