By 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday (Nov. 25) — the day before Thanksgiving — the line outside Parkway Bakery essentially covered the length of its front facing Hagan Avenue, so about 15 people or so. By the time it opened, the number seemed to be about 100 people deep and stretched back up the block. Just about everyone, apparently, was queueing up for the vaunted Thanksgiving Po-Boy served each Wednesday through the rest of the year.
Getting in line for something like this felt problematic on a few levels. I follow a trend or two, I’ll confess, but this one, compounded by the notion of having to wait in line (and on the day before I was about to get stuffed anyway) felt like the dining equivalent of waiting needlessly for the next iteration of the iPhone.
Charles and Elizabeth Christy didn’t mind; the couple had gotten in line moments before I did, and were each to see what all the fuss was about. (Check out Brett Anderson’s coverage here.) “We heard they’re really good, and we’re from New Orleans and we’re crazy about food,” Elizabeth said. “So we’ll do anything, you know?” And it wasn’t like there would be much mystery, either. “We love all the po-boys here,” Charles said, and he didn’t seem fazed by the fact they were going to get up tomorrow and jump right back into the turkey feasting on the more proper day: “Because this will be a completely different experience from what we’ll eat tomorrow.”
Let’s cut to the chase: The Thanksgiving Po-Boy lives up to its hype in ways some iPhone versions never will. It is as promised: a perfectly layered mix of white and dark roasted turkey meat, fluffy cornbread dressing, and a dash of gravy and cranberry sauce to add some needed zing to the proceedings.
The po-boy is reminiscent of the roast-beef po-boy in that evokes that same tender dark-meat moistness, even though (I’m pretty sure) there were few small cuts of white meat thrown in for good measure. And it should be noted that, despite the dash of gravy and the moist dressing, the po-boy carries pretty well on a 20-minute car ride and didn’t become a gooey mess like the roast-beef po-boy sometimes can become. It’s not pristine, by any measure, but it holds up.
Much has been made of the point that, due to high demand, the po-boys run out quickly, so, if you are going to do this, queueing up with the rest of us pathetic sheep around 10:30 a.m. might not be as silly as it sounds. And for something that creates a block-long line, perhaps due to the pre-preparation going on, the wait is surprisingly brief; the procession runs almost as quickly as that at a funeral visitation (without the mourning).
I should’ve added sooner that the main reason I did this was to answer a favor called in by my wife, Faith, but at this point it would seem pointless. Yes, this is a run that should’ve been made at least a week ago so as not to compete too much with tomorrow’s festivities, but, we knew that if we didn’t do it today, we would never been in the mood after tomorrow — not to this degree, at least. (For moderation’s sake, though, we opted for the regular, 6-inch version, as opposed to the foot-long.)
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for a nap. Some Thanksgiving traditions apply identically, whichever day they’re applied.