New Orleans fare coming to Broadway

Original PoBoys will open Friday at Broadway and Alhambra Boulevard, bringing what owner Eric Crawford said will be an “oasis for anyone from New Orleans.”

Crawford said the restaurant will offer authentic New Orleans food served in a fast food setting, and everything served – from the signature shrimp po’boy sandwich to the beignets – will be something found on menus throughout New Orleans.

“It has that smell you only get in mom-and-pop shops down south, and it has a Mardi Gras ambiance,” he said.

Three generations will work at the restaurant, as Crawford and his wife, Zena, have six children of their own, and Crawford’s mother, Alice Thiel, will help out.

Eric Crawford’s background is in construction, which helped the family save money when preparing the restaurant to open.

“I worked in construction here, but then the housing market fell apart,” he said. “That helped when it came time to open the restaurant, though.”

Originally from New Orleans, he met Zena Crawford in San Francisco, and they have lived in Sacramento for close to a decade. He said the current restaurant, at 3119 Broadway, is the first in what he hopes will be something he can franchise.

The signature sandwich is the shrimp po’boy, which has a medley of Cajun spices mixed in with the breading, but not so much that it overpowers the taste of the shrimp, which he said is what shines on the sandwich.

Sandwiches come “dressed,” which means they are topped with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles.

Sandwiches start at about $4 for an 8-inch smoked sausage and range to about $16 for a 16-inch soft-shell crab po’boy. Most 8-inch sandwiches fall in the $5 – $9 price range.

Those who don’t eat meat won’t be left out. A full salad bar with two types of lettuce, cucumbers, eggs and other toppings will be offered, and a po’boy sandwich with a vegetable patty will be on the menu.

“It was really important for us to have a vegetarian and vegan option,” Zena Crawford said.

A double-roasted beef sandwich is the most complex sandwich, Eric Crawford added. The meat is baked for three hours, then eventually shredded, and beef gravy is poured over it in a process called “debris cooking”. It all then goes back in the oven for another three hours of baking.

But the meat isn’t what makes the sandwich authentic.

“When people hear about a New Orleans po’boy, the first thing they want to know about is the bread,” Eric Crawford said.

Unable to find a supplier that makes the French baguettes to the perfect consistency for a po’boy, he took matters into his own hands and bakes the bread on-site. While he said it isn’t exact, it’s close enough so even those familiar with the real deal will be happy.

Zena Crawford said the restaurant – which will be open from 6 a.m. – 11 p.m. – will have an all-you-can-eat cereal bar, with a bowl running $2.60. Twenty-four pastries will also be available, including beignets, brownies and cookies, and a full range of Seattle’s Best coffee will be available.

All pastries are made in-house, and cereals will include Captain Crunch, Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Special K, Apple Jacks and Fruit Loops.

Waffles, sausages and grits are available for breakfast as well.

Soft-serve ice cream and milkshakes are served as well, and she said ice cream sundaes will likely be available in the summer.

“Anywhere you go in New Orleans, you can get a beignet and a coffee,” Eric Crawford said. “We want to be a part of the community. We’re here at the gateway to Oak Park, and it’s going through a change we want to be a part of.”

Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell.

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January 25, 2012 | 7:26 AM

Glad to see a local business take a place on such a prominent corner. The breakfast menu is important–this town can use more reasonably priced corner breakfast spots, and they sound very reasonably priced. Such places become magnets for community as well as places to eat!

January 25, 2012 | 8:39 AM

The all-you-can-eat cereal bar is the buried lead of the year.

January 25, 2012 | 9:45 AM

NOLA food is great! All the best to this new business!!!!

January 25, 2012 | 4:40 PM

FINALLY!!! The place looked ready to open a month ago… If they did the tenant improvements then the owner leaving construction will be a loss to the local construction industry as they did a first rate, classy as all get out job!!

January 26, 2012 | 1:48 PM

My hopes and prayers will include the success of Original Po’Boys after the many franchises that have been unable to succeed at Broadway and Alhambra. All the best to this franchise and to the Crawford Clan in making it a success. Sunday is a good day because after church is when you will get also get customers.

January 26, 2012 | 1:50 PM

Thank you, Mr. Darnell, for bringing this to our attention. My wife will surely take a look at the establishment.

January 26, 2012 | 2:18 PM

Ready and waiting!!!!! Sounds great, my intire family is still in LA. I will be 1 of the first at the door, I work right down the street. I hope I dont start going for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Congrates to NO.

January 26, 2012 | 2:29 PM

I grew up around the corner from this building when it was “Kentucky Fried Chicken” back in the days. I work down the street and my grandmother still lives around the way. I been watching to see what the restuarant would become. I will be patronizing “Po’ Boys come Friday. Good Luck to the Crawfords.

January 26, 2012 | 2:46 PM

I would like to give this business a warm Sacramento welcome. I will be by to support this business. Congratulations to the Crawford family.

January 26, 2012 | 3:22 PM

I am really looking forward to it, and I know my husband who is from Loiusiana, will definitely enjoy it also, as we have a Church down and around the corner. Can’t wait for you to open.

January 26, 2012 | 3:47 PM

Will they take EBT cards?

January 27, 2012 | 7:50 AM

Getting this great new unique business on the gateway of my neighborhood is awesome! When you get your meal here you are going to be engaged by the family of entrepreneurs eager to make this business a success. It’s time to put your money where your mouths are! And considering this crowd, that’s huge! Step out of comfort zone and check them out! Oh and GreenBreen, bring your EBT, no hard in trying…he?

January 27, 2012 | 9:29 AM

It’s going to be my “mission in life” to support this venue. And I live in Elk Grove. If I can go to Flowers (Best fish in Northern Cali), I can certainly get my “grub on” here!

January 29, 2012 | 10:46 AM

Po’ boys and “debris cooking…count me as excited too. I live close and pass by this corner nearly every excuse for me, see you soon Crawford family!

January 30, 2012 | 2:00 AM

Great news–We will be there!

January 30, 2012 | 10:12 PM

When do you open? Came by Sunday after church and it was closed!

January 31, 2012 | 10:47 AM

Original PoBoys’ business model offers up authentic fast food…I checked the online menu and discovered one of the most important staples of Louisiana cuisine is missing…no its not grits; its red beans and rice. The fast food concept is sound, but for health consciious customers, the offering of red beans and rice would be a welcome tasty alternative and compliments both the traditional and vegetarian faire. BAM!

January 31, 2012 | 10:48 AM

I wish the business success and plan to pay a visit soon. I do hope the name they selected doesn’t create confusion, as a long-time NoLa style venue which showcases live music has a similar name. in Folsom.

January 31, 2012 | 11:37 AM

Any parking available besides street parking? That has been a challenge for other businesses on that corner

January 31, 2012 | 1:11 PM

Congratulations Eric! I’m a Nawlins native too. It’s good to see some realistic Nawlins fare in the west. I will certainly patronize your business and introduce myself to you. Best of luck going forward.

January 31, 2012 | 1:18 PM

I’ve been waiting for something like this- love Cajun food but can’t get it too many places. I’ll check it out ASAP- hope they can stick with it this time, as after KFC closed Quizno’s moved in there but was gone about as soon as the sign went up, then it was “Broadway Wings and Things” which also seemed to have been open for about a day before going under.

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January 31, 2012 | 1:43 PM

Same here, I drove by on Sunday and thought–how’d I miss this place? How did I not hear of them and they are already closed up for business. Wrong I was! Yeah. You were just not open yet. Great to know. I’ll be back soon.

February 1, 2012 | 9:24 AM

Had the Shrimp Po’boy. LOVED IT! I can’t believe they bake their own bread. Nailed it!

February 2, 2012 | 10:27 AM

I’m excited! I work downtown and live in Elk Grove but I only take 99 on Thursdays so this will be my first stop at least once a week! I’m guessing it’ll be worth the drive any day of the week.

February 21, 2012 | 10:37 AM

I am a New Orleans girl and have been waiting for a place like this to come to this area. I will be there to patronize your business as soon as possible. I will be writing another review as soon as I review your menu and taste your food. See you soon.

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January 26, 2012 | 6:22 AM

Oh – I didn’t realize it was in Wasilla!

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