We love a good po’boy - heck, we love any po’boy, but there’s something about a really well done po’boy that really throws it into the hierarchy of our favorite sandwiches (right there with banh mi and tortas). Fortunately, Austin has some really good options all across town. Here are eight of our favorites.
Da Boot Po-Boys
The first thing we noticed about the po’boys at Da Boot was the size. They’re big - big enough that we started using our forearm as a unit of measurement. And okay, sure, maybe we don’t own a ruler, but we’re talking 1.2 forearms worth of sandwich here. This is a simple sandwich, done incredibly well. Golden-fried shrimp (or fish, crawfish, sausage, oyster, or soft-shell crab), lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo - all on a perfectly-toasted bun. Orders can sometimes take a little while, so we recommend calling ahead. They’re currently located at Radio Coffee in South Austin.
The po’boy menu at Turf N’ Surf is...long. And by that we mean there’s about 22 options - from oyster and jumbo shrimp, to chicken parm and pork chops - meaning you could eat a po’boy every single day for almost a month without repeating. And even longer than that if you consider that every one of the roughly-half seafood options can be made fried, grilled, or blackened. The big emphasis here is on fresh, wild-caught, gulf seafood. And while the po’boys here are very tasty, be ready to shell out a few extra bucks. They take a lot of less-conventional approaches here - thick-cut pickles, red onions, large sheets of lettuce, and a thick layer of coleslaw. Conventional? Maybe not - but pretty damn good. They currently have one location open downtown, at Lavaca Street Bar.
Epicerie, the French/Louisianan all-day cafe and grocery in Allandale, has had a shrimp po’boy on their menu since they opened in 2012. So they’ve had a little time to perfect it. The sandwich, just brimming with crispy fried shrimp, is a simple affair, with thinly-sliced pickles, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and remoulade. It’s the kind of sandwich you’ll think fondly of afterwards, and then just order again.
The Big Easy Bar And Grill
Big Easy Bar and Grill is another po’boy that falls into our “holy smokes this is thing is big how can I possibly ever finish this?” category of sandwich. And we’re not talking some loosely filled, giant loaf of bread. We thought this thing was going to register as a passenger when we set it in the seat after picking it up at the takeout window. We like that they let you mix things up here - we went with half shrimp, half crawfish - but they have most of the seafood offerings you’d expect to find at any great Cajun spot, and the po’boys come dressed with the standard lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo. They’re currently located near 12th and Chicon.
The Cochon De Lait po’boy at Vic & Al’s - the Cajun brick and mortar restaurant in East Austin from the people behind Italian food trailer Patrizi’s - is something to behold. It’s chunks and strands of caramelized pig that have been slow-roasted for 18 hours in a pizza oven, topped with pickled red onion, herbs, and hot sauce. The sauce on the pork is so rich, it’s almost like a tonkotsu broth. It’s so good that when we found some leftover sauce in the plastic takeout container, we ended up just drinking it.
Stuffed Cajun Meat Market
It should perhaps come as no surprise that Stuffed Cajun, the grocer/butcher/restaurant in North Austin, serves po’boys. And while they have most of the standard po’boy offerings - like roast beef, shrimp, catfish, oyster, crawfish, and catfish - they also have something you don’t see on too many menus: gator. They take their po’boys seriously, going as far as sourcing their bread from the old-school New Orleans bakery Gambino’s.
Evangeline Cafe has a great menu of Cajun classics, from gator bites and gumbo, to jambalaya. But where they really shine is with their po’boys. They have most of the standard offerings - roast beef, shrimp, catfish, oyster - as well as a few with less-common toppings, like cheddar and bacon, but we usually find ourselves going with the shrimp or the crawfish. They’re all served on fresh-baked French bread, with the usual fixings - lettuce, tomato, onion, and your choice of sauce. They’re located in South Austin, near Brodie and William Cannon. There’s also live music on most nights, making it the perfect spot to sit back with a cold Abita and feel just a little closer to Louisiana.
Huckleberry highlights ingredients from local farms and the Gulf Coast, and most of the menu consists of dishes like seafood po’boys, sandwiches, and platters. On a recent visit, the standout sandwich was the fried green tomato po’boy. The thinly-sliced tomatoes were perfectly crisp, with the pickles and lemon-caper remoulade acting as a great counterpoint. Huckleberry is parked right out front of Circle Brewing Company, and this po’boy would go great with their Blur Texas hefeweisen.