A staple of Louisiana Cuisine, nothing encapsulates Louisiana like the PoBoy sandwich. The classic PoBoy has traveled through the world into many different cities, states, and restaurants and is recreated in many different ways. There are plenty of ways to get you a PoBoy sandwich no matter where you go.
You can get chicken, shrimp, or roast beef PoBoys, and there are even other seafood PoBoy options like crab and fried oyster. Of course, you can never go wrong with a classic PoBoy from a local restaurant, but while digging into this delicious sandwich, have you ever asked yourself how on earth someone came up with this delightful invention? Fortunately for your curiosity, the history of the PoBoy is littered with intrigue.
The Rise of the “Poor Boy” Sandwich
As it was otherwise known, the “Poor Boy” sandwich was created in 1929 by Martin Brothers Bennie and Clovis when Electric Street Railway Employees went on strike. After heated negotiations, the railway conductors and motormen decided to strike, focusing on alleviating the stress caused by demanding and unreasonable leadership.
The brothers — who worked as streetcar conductors before opening their restaurant in 1922 — resonated with the cause of their fellow streetcar contingents and thought it would be a great idea to give out sandwiches to the strikers.
The Classic PoBoy
The classic PoBoy sandwich was made of a special industry-changing loaf of bread, meant to make inexpensive sandwiches that still satisfied the streetcar strike workers. Traditional sandwiches were made from a shorter and more stout loaf that bulged in the middle and then slowly tapered as it reached the end of the sandwich. The classic PoBoy was made of roast beef, potatoes, and gravy on the specially crafted bread loaf.
When handing out their sandwiches, Bennie Martin often yelled to his brother, “here comes another poor boy!” which was the origin of the classic name. While it was likely just a name used in irony (the streetcar workers were not concerned as much with wages), the poor boy began gaining popularity throughout more than just the Martin brothers’ coffee stand. It appeared in newspapers around the country and started replacing loafs, another New Orleans staple sandwich.
The streetcar workers’ strike was just the beginning signs of New Orleans’ trek into the great depression, but that didn’t stop the Martin brothers’ sandwiches from being all the rage. Their once small sandwich and coffee shop employed as many as 40 employees and stayed open 24 hours a day. For many Louisiana residents, you could get a sandwich anywhere, but you could only get a PoBoy from the Martin brothers. While the Martin brothers officially closed shop in 1973, the legacy of their creation continued into the modern world.
The Modern PoBoy
Today, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the modern PoBoy. You don’t want to miss out on the staples that make the PoBoy special. Your bread should taste as fresh as it would from a traditional French market, and you can’t forget garlic, butter, eggs, and your seasoning with a nice zesty finish. There are plenty of ways to conjure up a great PoBoy sandwich, with fried seafood like soft shell crabs, a side of french fries, and even a slim or green-filled sandwich if you want to watch the calories. Or you can visit a local restaurant to whip you up a classic PoBoy
A Delicious PoBoy Is Right Around the Corner!
The classic PoBoy is a must for everyone to try, and La La Lobster has PoBoy on the menu for all! Want to try more than just a sandwich? You can also check out other La La Lobster menu items, including our La La Tacos, La La Shrimp, and other sandwiches that are sure to please your taste buds. Visit one of our seafood restaurants in Cape May or Princeton, NJ, our original location in Yardley, PA, or our brand new location in Doylestown, and get a PoBoy to satisfy your taste buds.