Famous Houston po’ boys are coming to Austin and Central Texas

If you grew up in Houston or have spent any amount of time there, you are likely familiar with Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys. The deli and its wholesale operation serves Italian cold cut combo (ham and salami) sandwiches on soft hoagie rolls made by Royal Bakery in Houston. The Original sandwich is brushed with mayonnaise and topped with pickles, Provolone cheese and the deli’s famous chow chow relish, which they sell by the jar. The Super follows the same blueprint but doubles down on meat and cheese.

Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys Super. (Contributed)

Not only can you find the sandwiches at two delis and some grab-and-go kiosks in Houston, they are available at 250 locations throughout Texas and Louisiana. Now Austin will one again get a taste of those sweet, sweet Original (green wrapper) and Super Original po’ boys (red wrapper), as well as the turkey and Swiss (brown wrapper) and tuna varieties (blue wrapper).

Beginning Aug. 31, Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys will begin selling its four signature sandwiches at grocery stores in Austin and the surrounding areas. The first Austin-area stores will have their shipment Friday, with plans for the sandwiches to be available in all 48 Austin-area H-E-B by Saturday.  The company plans to hit shelves at more than 60 area stores by the end of 2018. You will originally be able to find the sandwiches, which will be made in Houston and delivered overnight to Central Texas, at H-E-B locations in Central Texas, with expansion headed to San Marcos, Wimberley, La Grange, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Round Rock, Dripping Springs and Pflugerville. (Yes, day-old sandwiches aren’t quite as good as freshly made, but beggars can’t be choosers, I reckon.)

Antone’s was previously distributed by a licensee, who also briefly operated a storefront, in Austin at Randall’s and Exxon beginning in 1999.

Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys was originally opened in Houston by Lebanese immigrant Jalal Antone in 1962. Legacy Restaurants, which bought the brand in 2015, is also exploring further expansion of its wholesale business into other regions including North Texas and San Antonio.

 

“We are extremely excited to bring Antone’s classic sandwiches into the Central Texas market,” Legacy Restaurants CEO Jonathan Horowitz said. “There are so many people from Houston who grew up eating these sandwiches and who now live in the area – we get calls and emails weekly from fans who ask us if we can send them some sandwiches. Now they will have the opportunity to enjoy them whenever they have a craving. We look forward to continuing our growth through expansion into new markets next year.”

This post has been updated to include arrival of sandwiches in Austin market. 

Want to be on the Travel Channel? ‘Food Paradise’ is filming at 24 Diner

Pan au lait from 24 Diner’s sister restaurant-bakery Easy Tiger makes for a perfect bun.
Matthew Odam / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Have you always wanted to be the star of your own food television program? Well, this isn’t exactly that, but it is a chance for you to possibly appear on a show. The Travel Channel show “Food Paradise” is filming a segment for an upcoming episode today and Thursday at 24 Diner. The owners of the restaurant can’t announce what the episode is about or when it will air, but it is asking customers who want to possibly appear on camera and maybe even get interviewed to show up at the dinning room from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and 10:45 p.m. to midnight on Thursday. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next Guy Fieri.

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Where is the best bánh mì in Austin?

What makes a great bánh mì? You need a baguette with a shattering crunch and soft, flossy interior. The mayonnaise should be tangy, homemade and cover the entire surface of the bread. You want creamy pâté with depth of flavor and fresh, crisp vegetables. I recently visited about 20 shops, restaurants and trailers in search of the best bánh mì in Austin. You can read the full results here, but below I give you a taste of the top three.

Tebi Nguyen is owner of the food trailer Saigon le Vendeur on E. 7th St., making his signature banh mi sandwiches and other delights. Nguyen uses a hibachi to grill pork for a popular banh mi.
RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

1. Saigon le Vendeur. 2404 E. Seventh St. 512-351-6916, saigon7th.com. Chef Tebi Nguyen grew up next to a bánh mì shop in Saigon before moving with his family to San Antonio, where he graduated high school and worked at a hibachi restaurant. While the charcoal-cooking will have to wait until Nguyen can move from a trailer to a brick-and-mortar restaurant, he applies the quick kiss of the torch to char pan-seared juicy grilled pork ($6.95) that’s marinated in fish sauce, garlic, red shallots and a touch of honey, to aid in the caramelization. The savory meat is contrasted by tangy housemade mayonnaise made daily and the crunch of hot jalapenos and cool cucumber and the snap of carrots and daikon.

Nguyen finishes the O.G. ($6.95) — layered with firm and fatty head cheese, thin-sliced pork belly, springy and mildly sweet steamed pork roll, and fragrant housemade pate — with a splash of Maggi sauce, the salty secret ingredient of many great bánh mì. The Daruma Ramen veteran may not make his own bread from scratch, but he does bake the imports twice daily, so whether you go at lunch or dinner, you will get a baguette with crunchy exterior and delicate pull inside.

Best banh mi

2. Baguette et Chocolat. 12101 FM 2244, Building 6. 512-263-8388, baguetteetchocolat.com. Chef Chi Minh Pham Ding is the embodiment of the multiculturalism of the bánh mì ($7.99) he makes at his Bee Caves bakery, which recently celebrated its seventh birthday. He was raised in Versailles, and his sandwich pays tribute to the recipe of his Vietnamese grandfather, a journalist who fled Southeast Asia for the safety of France. I was shocked that there was no pâté on the sandwich, so rich was the razor-thin roasted pork that marinates for 24 hours in a bath of secret ingredients. Or maybe it was the housemade mayonnaise. There are some twists here — a grip of lettuce, sweet diced onions and no jalapenos — but the meat, a splash of Maggi, and the best baguette of this bunch combine for a stellar sandwich. Pro tip: Order an eclair (or anything) for dessert.

PhoPlease is located off East Riverside. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

3. Pho Please. 1920 E. Riverside Drive. 512-354-9779, phopleaseaustin.com. This counter-service restaurant, opened in January 2016 by Tien Do and her husband, Anh Nguyen, is a slick, modern update on the many Austin Vietnamese cafes Nguyen has worked in over the years. Charcoal leaves its tasty marks on grilled beef ($7) served in a soy sauce dressing that turns this sandwich into something that reminds me of a Philly cheesesteak, sub minor swipes of pâté and mayonnaise for cheese. The grilled pork ($7) hums with a five spice buzz, and while they don’t make their own bread, the soft, flaky baguette overflowing with pickled vegetables and jalapeño slices has a satisfying crunch. This sandwich is a case of me having trouble pinpointing exactly what I love, but the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts.

READ THE FULL LIST HERE.