To many, Johnny’s Po-Boys is considered to have the best poor boy of any restaurants in the French Quarter and many visitors think that a meal at Johnny’s is a highlight of their trip.
“$13,500. Doesn’t sound like a lot of money today. But on June 30th, 1950 it was enough to buy the building at 511 St. Louis St. in New Orleans by Johnny and Betty De Grusha.
We had eaten at Johnny’s some twenty-plus years ago and had a fond memory of the experience. We had planned to go there on our December–January New Orleans visit, but, unfortunately, the day we planned to go was during the run up to the BCS Championship, and the city was awash with college football fans. Because of a line out the door and down the street to the corner, we went elsewhere.
There isn’t much ambience at Johnny’s. You order at the back counter and then try to snag a seat, probably sharing a table with other tourists.
While Johnny’s serves breakfast, muffalettas, and plate lunches, this place is really all about the poor boy. “For location (right near a busy part of the Quarter) and menu simplicity (poor boys and more poor boys), you can't ask for much more than Johnny's….They put anything you could possibly imagine (and some things you couldn't) on huge hunks of French bread, including the archetypal fried seafood (add some Tabasco, we strongly advise), deli meats, cheese omelets, ham and eggs, and the starch-o-rama that is a french-fry poor boy. Johnny boasts that ‘even my failures are edible,’ and that says it all…” (frommers.com).
I counted forty-eight poor boys listed on the menu above the order counter although maybe three or four were noted as “not available.” Among the more unusual poor boys were the alligator, country fried steak, Judge Bosetta (ground beef, Italian and hot sausages with Swiss cheese), Muffaletta (poor boy), pork chop, Surf and Turf (hot roast beef topped with fried shrimp).
We placed our order and were lucky enough to find two seats at the end of a long table that was occupied by a family of six. Soon after they left, a couple—part of a tour group judging from the badges hanging from their necks—took two of the seats.
Our number was called, and Chuck returned to the table with our
“What’s that you’re having?” Kitty Humbug also looked at Chuck’s plate and asked “What’s that you’re having?” Notice Kitty’s emphasis. Yes. Mr. Potato is finally fulfilling his dream. He is having the French Fry Poor Boy with beef gravy and dressed.
I have been a big fan of chicken parmesan sandwiches ever since I had a great one at AL Mac's Diner in Fall River, MA, and was excited to see a poor boy version at Johnny’s.
Based on my experience, I am tempted to give Johnny’s 0.0 Addies. But Chuck was in potato heaven, so I will average his 5.0 Addie experience with mine and give Johnny’s 2.5 Addies.