Stewart’s Diner knows how to throw a hell of a party. On Sunday afternoons the old 9th Ward eatery books djs, builds a big fire and char-grills a few sacks of Gulf oysters to feed the gathered throngs.
It’s a wild scene where the whole neighborhood comes out to socialize, listen to hip hop and drink a few daiquiris.
The diner also has a mobile cooking unit that travels to street parties and festivals to put out mammoth baked potatoes stuffed with fresh seafood along with fried fish platters and some of the best po boys in New Orleans.
This past weekend we ventured out to Abraham Lincoln Davis Park (named after New Orleans first Black city council member) on Lasalle Street for the inaugural edition of the Cultural Heritage Festival.
The festival was a bust with only a handful of people bothering to show up but we still had a time of it when we spotted a pickup truck pulling a U-Haul trailer mounted with all sorts of cooking equipment.
Stewart’s Diner was in the house.
We’re always on the hunt for po boys. It’s how we pay the bills so we moseyed up to the concern and ordered a fried catfish and set back while the two men aboard got to cooking. About 10 minutes later we were on the business end of one of the best po boys in New Orleans.
It was $7.
Four big planks of catfish have been lightly dredged in seasoned flour and cornmeal then flash fried before being stuffed into a good, crusty french loaf that spent crucial time on the char-broiler. This is a step that too many po boy restaurants skip.
Since the pickup truck is not equipped with low-boy refrigerators, the only garnish available is delicious, life-giving mayonnaise. That’s ok as this is one fine sandwich.
I ask the cook if this is the same po boy you get if you go to the restaurant and he affirms but notes that eat-in diners also get the normal array of fresh vegetables-lettuce, tomatoes and pickles.
We take our repast in the shade of the covered basketball court with a handful of other folks who are trying to get respite from the stifling heat. A photographer zooms in on our rough and tumble crew and begins snapping pictures.
Doubtful they will be in a Nell Nolan piece anytime soon.
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3403 N Claiborne Ave
New Orleans, LA
Hours Of Operation
Sunday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Monday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Tuesday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Wednesday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Friday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm