ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
It’s the nature of barbecue that It can’t be cooked to order, and that it must be cooked ahead of time. The good side of this is that it can be quickly served. The bad news is that when the restaurant runs out of meat, it’s out. Walker’s only cooks enough barbecue to sell on that one day. After that, they turn the closed sign. So go early, pick it up, bring it home, and enjoy. Wait too late, and you need to wait another day. They open at 10:30 a.m.
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Walker’s first became famous for its cochon de lait poor boys, sold for years (and still) at the Jazz Festival. From that grew a catering business, followed after the hurricane by a full-fledged barbecue restaurant. It has become a candidate for Best In Town honors. They go about it right, with slow, long smoking and a sweet, homemade barbecue sauce.
As in all good barbecue joints, the menu is brief and to the point. Smoked meats with traditional Southern-style sides, and sandwiches. If there’s anything here that’s not delicious, I haven’t run into it. The cochon de lait poor boy is as least as delectable as reputed.
Walker’s appeared on Hayne Boulevard so quickly after Katrina that it was a godsend to the people in its neighborhood. Almost everything in New Orleans East was destroyed, but Walker’s building is right up on the lakefront and free of major flooding. And the supply of customers was infinite, what with all those people in the extended neighborhood with lots of work and few sources of food and drink.
Until recently Walker’s was an order-and-pick-up window without a dining room, with people going next door to Castnet Seafood to sit down. Now they have a small but pleasant place to sit down, as well as to wait for orders.
FULL ONLINE MENU
All on poor boy bread or bun
Cochon de lait (pork) roast suckling pig
Chicken salad (smoked or not)
Pork & brisket
Burnt ends (Buffalo or barbecue style)
Bread pudding with whiskey sauce
FOR BEST RESULTS
The hours are unconventional. They open a little early for lunch, but when they run out of the day’s batch of meats, they close–around two. During Jazz Festival season, all bets are off.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The sauce is a shade too sweet and not peppery enough for my taste, but that’s not reason enough to change it.
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
- Consistency +3
- Value +2
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +1
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking