Home of the seafood muffuletta, po-boys and Italian Creole fare, Parran's Po-Boys & Restaurant (3939 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 885-3416; www.parranspoboys.com) has been around since 1975.
"Parran's has always been a Metairie place," says owner Allan Hornbrook, a New Orleans native who moved to Metairie during the 1970s. "It's really a destination restaurant. You always know that you're coming here.'"
Before purchasing the po-boy shop in 1990, Hornbrook had a feeling he would be a restaurateur. "I always knew I wanted to do some type of business on my own and I've always liked to cook," he says. "It was up for sale, and I said, 'What the heck.'"
On any given day, customers can look through the kitchen windows to see Hornbrook doing what he enjoys most.
"My grandmother taught me how to cook," Hornbrook says. "She always told me to cook with love or don't cook at all, because if you're mad, it's not going to come out good. Early on she was teaching me how to taste food and see what was missing. That's when I started paying attention to how food was cooked."
Before Hornbrook bought the restaurant, it was suffering.
"I've kind of brought it back to life over the years," says Hornbrook, who has expanded his menu beyond po-boys. "I found some original recipes and I brought in some of my own recipes," he says. The restaurant now serves a host of Italian Creole dishes like veal Parmesan, shrimp Creole, red beans and rice, mirliton casserole and a seafood muffuletta.
"Our signature po-boy is definitely the roast beef, but we also have a specialty sandwich — one we've become known for," he says. "The seafood muffuletta has fried oysters, fried shrimp, fried catfish, and instead of olive mix, we use a Cajun mayo. It's a really good sandwich."
Commitment to freshness and quality steers Hornbrook's approach to his food and his business.
"We do a lot of the cooking here from scratch," he says. "We make our own pizza dough, our own red gravy, and we cook our own roast beef and prime ribs. We try to do everything we can in house instead of using pre-packaged items."
With the majority of Parran's menu items priced under $15, Hornbrook takes pride in offering quality meals at affordable prices.
"People are amazed at the type of food we have for the price," Hornbrook says. "People work hard for their money, and I want to give customers good food at a reasonable price and keep them happy. When you come here, you should be happy."