Some people let obstacles and challenges derail them. Others are able to find the opportunity in tragedy and use it to chart a new life course. The latter is exactly what the family behind New Orleans Sandwich Shop did when their Louisiana home was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. Upon relocating to Gatlinburg, they found an opportunity to share their heritage, their history, and most deliciously, their food with the local community. Now, New Orleans Sandwich Shop is known throughout the area for its delicious and authentic Cajun and Creole food, and it’s not hard to understand why.
Located on the left rear of Baskins Square Mall, on the lower level, the unassuming storefront is easy to bypass, if you don’t know what you’re looking for. A small sign above a wooden bench denotes the restaurant. Inside, the vibe is decidedly casual, furnished with small booths, and simple tables. The most prominent décor? Dollar bills. But not just boring, plain old dollar bills. Guests are encouraged to decorate a dollar bill with markers and then staple it to the wall. The result is walls, and even the ceiling, completely covered with colorful bill art left behind by visitors of all ages.
If the laid-back atmosphere doesn’t make you feel at home, the staff will. Family-owned and operated, the team here is proud of their food and happy to share it with their guests. Their friendliness, welcomeness, and trademark hospitality make even first-time visitors feel like part of the family.
We won’t beat about the bush, though. The real draw here is the food. The menu is relatively small, focusing on hearty Louisiana classics, served on paper plates and eaten with plastic utensils. House favorites include red beans and rice, gumbo, jambalaya, and crawfish etouffee. Fried fish and shrimp platters are cooked fresh and served with fries, perfectly toasted bread, and a salad.
But sandwiches are where the menu really shines. In addition to a club sandwich and a muffuletta, New Orleans Sandwich Shop offers almost a dozen variations on the classic New Orleans PoBoy. Sandwiched between the lightest, crispest, most delicious bread, and dressed in lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo diners can choose between traditional fillings like shrimp or oyster, or opt for something a little different, like roast beef, ham, or fried chicken.
While we truly enjoyed everything we tried, here are a few of our favorites:
If you’re looking for an authentic taste of the bayou, you can’t go wrong with the gumbo. Made with andouille sausage, chicken, okra, and fresh seasonings and spices, this is the kind of home-cooked comfort food that warms you from the inside out. Fluffy white rice and traditional French bread compliment the stew perfectly, making it a hearty, flavorful meal.
Pontchartrain Shrimp PoBoy
If you’ve never had a PoBoy before (or maybe even if you have) we suggest starting with the classic shrimp variety. The sweet, hot crunch of perfectly battered and fried shrimp is accentuated by the cool crispness of fresh lettuce and tomato, and the creaminess of just the right amount of mayo. This is all sandwiched between bread that is somehow both perfectly crispy on the outside and impossibly soft on the inside. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it!
Fat Tuesday Ferdie PoBoy
For those not in the mood for seafood, we can’t recommend this one enough. Popular in New Orleans, this PoBoy takes the same bread and fixings and pairs it with melty Swiss cheese, juicy roast beef, and your choice of ham or turkey. Then, the whole thing is topped with a brown gravy that takes the entire dish to a new level.
Next time you’re in Gatlinburg and craving some down-home Cajun deliciousness, make sure to stop by New Orleans Sandwich Shop. We can’t wait to hear what dishes you loved most!
-The restaurant is first come, first served; they don’t accept reservations, so if you plan to dine during a very busy time, it’s possible there may be a short wait for a table.
-Beer and wine are available on a rotating menu. Call ahead to find out current selections and availability.
-Because some recipes are proprietary to the family, not all ingredients are listed on the menu. For this reason, please be sure to inform the staff of any food allergies your party may have before ordering.