First Look: New Orleans Po Boy Shop in Dupont Circle, D.C.
It took a while, but the New Orleans Po Boy Shop is now open in Dupont Circle. If you don't have the time to fly down to Louisiana, New Orleans native and owner Cam McNair and manager Justin Snyder have you covered. True to its name, the Po Boy Shop offers 15 different po boys, including staples like roast beef with debris gravy, fried shrimp or oyster, and an andouille sausage. Like McNair, most of the ingredients are trucked in from New Orleans; all of the bread comes straight from the famous Gambino's Bakery.
All of the po boys are freshly fried and massive. The batter and the light crust of the Gambino's bread gives way to the succulent meats inside (there is a vegetarian option too). The roast beef with debris gravy, on the other hand, is a giant, messy pile of beef and beef juices; it could be the only instance where "stewing in your own juices" sounds appetizing. The oysters are shucked and fried by order, so be prepared for a 15-20 minute wait. McNair and Snyder have also instituted a "Because We Can" specials menu where they'll be featuring combinations that will haunt your dreams like their NOPBLT: a smoked pork belly po boy that McNair says is cut "steak size thick."
But New Orleans is more than just po boys and so is the Po Boy Shop. The seafood gumbo is a fixture on the menu. A rotating soup of the day will feature concoctions like a duck and andouille sausage gumbo. And perhaps most importantly, in addition to frying everything on the planet, the Po Boy Shop also offers classic beignets. Freshly fried and covered in confectioner's sugar, these beignets are great with a cup of coffee in the morning (which you can do since the Shop opens at 7 a.m.) or after a massive po boy.
The New Orleans Po Boy Shop occupies a space vacated by a Starbucks. In an area where I can think of at least 5 Starbucks within a 5-minute walk, the Po Boy Shop is a welcome addition to the Dupont neighborhood. Sit out on the small patio with striped awnings and wrought iron furniture with po boy in hand and the 1,000 miles to New Orleans won't seem quite so far.