New Orleans Po Boy Shop talks a big game about its bread. Owners Cam McNair and Justin Snyder were playing it up even before the shop opened today at 19th and M streets NW.  “It’s all about the bread” is their motto. They buy the French bread half-baked from Gambino’s Bakery just outside New Orleans, then finish baking it in-house.

So, I decided to give it a try on opening day. Apparently, half of the downtown office crowd had the same idea, because the place was packed out the door when I arrived around 1:30 p.m.

I have to give McNair and Snyder credit: The bread is actually pretty good. The crust has a nice little crunch (with a bit of flakiness), while remaining fluffy and not dried out inside. Most importantly, it’s not so thick and bready that it distracts from what’s inside. I ordered the $10 grilled Gulf shrimp po boy and the $9 andouille sausage po boy. The shrimp was plentiful and juicy, and the sausage has good smoke and heat to it. Both come with lettuce, tomato, and mayo.

These are only first impressions, of course, but there’s a good chance those lines won’t be getting any shorter.

New Orleans Poboy Shop, 1205 19th St. NW; (201) 621-8118;

Photo by Jessica Sidman