"Everything with cheese," says Jerry Hendrick, owner of Short Stop Poboys (119 Transcontinental Ave., Metairie, 504-885-4572; www.shortstoppoboysno.com). "Always. Even (on) my shrimp."
With a menu that has stayed consistent, this Metairie shop has been family-owned for 51 years. It's no wonder that the second-generation owner of po-boy goodness has his order down pat.
"I spent most of my life here," he says. "It was started by my father and I was here since 13." His son, Chad, also is in the family business.
When in season, sweet blue crabs from Lake Pontchartrain fill the softshell crab po-boy. Because of the sandwich's popularity, when local softshells aren't available, Hendrick sells a high-quality imported crab rather than cutting it from the menu. It's hard to compete with Louisiana seafood, so Hendrick looks forward to the local harvest.
"When it warms up, we are getting delicious, beautiful crabs from the lake," he says.
Another staple is the roast beef po-boy.
"Oh yeah," Hendrick says when asked whether customers need a fork to eat this sandwich. "It is a sloppy roast beef. Delicious."
Short Stop slow-cooks the roast beef in-house. The multiple-step process has the team cooking then refrigerating the meat, slicing it and then cooking it again in its own gravy with seasoning.
"It's got a lot of garlic," Hendrick says.
Short Stop has an extensive list of soft drinks — think cream soda and cherry flavors — and an array of potato chip choices. Shrimp is breaded daily and is a popular filling. Short Stop also offers less popular but no less New Orleanian options.
"We are also probably one of the few places where you can actually buy a liver cheese po-boy," Hendrick says.
The shop draws a lot of business from locals, especially area workers grabbing lunch. The rush starts at about 11 a.m., but the staff prepares ahead. If you arrive craving a fried shrimp po-boy, fully dressed, don't fear the queue. The line, according to Hendrick, is made up of regulars with single po-boy orders.
"During the week, most people are just ordering one sandwich," he says. "Families coming in on Fridays and Saturdays tend to slow down (the line) a little because of the larger family orders."
The company has streamlined takeout by creating a preorder pick-up window, and it offers multiple ways to order ahead: online, by phone or via the Short Stop app.
The store also offers sides such as french fries, coleslaw, stuffed artichokes and potato salad. Diners can order chicken gumbo most days or seafood gumbo on Fridays.
Muffalettas are new to Short Stop. You also can order po-boy finger sandwich trays, potato salad, gumbo by the gallon and jambalaya in small and large platters for catering. The store is open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.