- by Lisa Monti
On a steaming hot Friday at lunchtime, the seats at the bar and the picnic table benches were nearly all full as Michael Cascio and his crew turned out po-boys and sandwiches nonstop from the small kitchen at Old Town Po-Boys & Seafood. The restaurant is the newest dining spot in the depot district, between BBQ Depot and Lagarde’s Fine Wines.
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The Leidenheimer po-boys were overflowing with rich, juicy roast beef, and the fried shrimp were spilling from the bread. Crispy onion rings seemed to be the favored side at this lunch service – but the french fries had fans, too.
Cascio said crowds have been steadily growing since he opened on June 10. If you can measure customer flow in 32-inch loaves of Leidenheimer, the restaurant went through 350 loaves just last weekend.
The former Mississippi River tugboat captain comes from a long line of restaurant owners in his native New Orleans. In high school, Cascio started helping out in the family restaurant kitchens and continued to cook his family’s favorite recipes for his tugboat crews.
He’s also a member of a krewe that competes each year in the Hogs for a Cause fundraiser in New Orleans. When he moved to the Bay a year ago after 28 years on a tugboat, he thought the town needed an extra helping of Crescent City cooking.
“After I moved here I thought we needed something else, so I found this place and took it,” he said of the new location.
So what can you expect on a visit? Authentic New Orleans offerings such as shrimp, hot sausage and alligator po-boys, baskets of catfish or shrimp with hush puppies, homestyle roast beef served on french bread or seeded Italian bun. “Eventually we will have any kind of po-boy on the planet and different seafood plates, plus daily nightly weekend specials,” Cascio said. The unique 32-inch po-boy is already advertised on the restaurant window.
Cascio also has plans to boil Louisiana seafood on-site to serve at the restaurant and keep tweaking the menu as customer favorites emerge. I can vouch for the dressed roast beef po-boy, a two-handed feast filled with tender beef chunks, ample gravy and generous seasoning. Got to love that garlic.
A variety of beer is available now with liquor to come at a later date. There are several large screen TVs throughout and a juke box. Darts and other games will be added.
Old Town Po-boys & Seafood is open daily 11am to 9pm. The restaurant offers first responders a 25-percent discount.
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