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Po’Boys at Parasol’s: A New Orleans Tradition

Parasol's (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

In 2010, the Irish Channel staple Parasol’s Restaurant and Bar was sold to John and Thea Hogan. When the sale was announced, many New Orleanians feared that the Hogans would make drastic changes to the neighborhood joint, beginning with altering the Po’Boy recipes Crescent City residents craved. Thankfully, those fears were dissolved right away. The faces and names of the employees behind the bar have changed since the sale, but the food and atmosphere that made the bar a local favorite remained intact.

A craving for their Roast Beef Po’Boy, arguably the best in the city, inspired my last visit to Parasol’s. The French bread comes out hot and fresh, firm but not crisp, soaking up all of the juicy brown gravy that smothers the roast beef. Parasol’s stacks their beef high and a large sandwich takes up an entire basket, so unless you’re really hungry, a small French loaf will suffice. Roast Beef aside, the Po’Boy menu is diverse enough to include other New Orleans delicacies: some lightly fried shrimp, a french fry and gravy Po’Boy, and varieties of sausage, as well as grilled chicken sandwiches and a vegetarian melt (a rare sight in a town that built its culinary reputation on various shellfish).

By the way, if it’s your first time visiting Parasol’s (located on Constance and Third Street), you should know that there are two different entrances. The first, on the Magazine Street side, enters into the dining area, which is a family friendly, checkered-tablecloth room. The second entrance is at the street corner, which leads into a narrow room just large enough to fit a bar and seating for about twenty. Personally, I always sit at the bar.

While country music hits from the early ’90s blared from the jukebox, I enjoyed the happy hour specials (which conveniently start at 11 AM and end at 7PM). And, unless you plan on being carried back to your residence, I suggest you ignore the sign posted behind the bar daring patrons to “TRY OUR SHILLELAGH.” It’s a doozy of a drink that can be described, at best, as an acquired taste. But just knowing that Shillelagh sits behind the bar at Parasol’s was enough to keep me sitting at the bar for another round, appreciating the reputation and history that the Hogan’s chose to uphold.

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