WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Those who get as much a charge out of finding little-known restaurants in inconspicuous locations, selling decent food in enormous portions at very low prices will love Parenton’s. It and its successors have served poor boy sandwiches in near-total obscurity for decades. That makes it a prime spot on the dining maps of their regulars.
It’s a reasonably good source of sandwiches and a few platters, all prepared on the premises and served amply. On the other hand, if your starting point is other than Old Jefferson or Harahan, you’re likely to find better places between here and there. The roast beef tops the popularity chart here, but they slice it funny (with the grain in both samples I had). The grilled ham and cheese is better. Here is one of the rare shops that still has luncheon meat, liver cheese, and the like on the menu.
I lived two blocks away from Parenton’s in the 1960s, at which time it already qualified as an old, worn neighborhood joint. Back then, it was an antique grocery with a small deli that made sandwiches. For prepared food, it took a distant third to Alonso’s (half a block away) and the Club 90 (two blocks). Both of those are extinct, and so was Parenton’s for many years. But it returned after Katrina as a restaurant only.
The dining area is much bigger than in the old days, and thoroughly remodeled if still modest). It’s always busy during its extended lunch hours, with what looks like a majority of people waiting for take-outs. Even though you order and the counter and pick up, it seems it’s all the small staff can do to barely keep up.
Salads And Sides
Tuna and chicken salads
Grilled shrimp or chicken salad
Poor Boy Sandwiches
Chicken or tuna salad
»Fried catfish, oyster, or shrimp
»Gramps’s Italian sandwich (sausage, peppers, onions, mozzarella)
FOR BEST RESULTS
Avoid the noon hour, when the place often jams and the kitchen gets sloppy. A large poor boy can feed three. The muffuletta is served cool–the way it ought to be.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Toasting the bread would increase the enjoyment by a third.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment
- Value +1
- Attitude -1
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +1
- Sidewalk tables
- Open Monday lunch
- Unusually large servings
- Quick, good meal
- Easy, nearby parking
- No reservations