September 4th, 2013

Food, Culture and Community – B’s Po Boy

by Bryan Enas

Over the past few years Ryan Borchelt frequently traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana with his wife, Deb, for vacation. One of the reasons he and his wife kept going back to New Orleans was for the food. Ryan’s experience in the culinary arts as a chef in both England and around the United States helped him gain an appreciation for great food. With Deb’s experience owning a restaurant and Ryan’s background as a chef, the two decided in 2012 to collaborate and bring something to Indianapolis that nobody else had: a true, traditional style Louisiana Po-Boy.

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B’s Po Boy opened in May of 2012 in Fountain Square and has been serving traditional Louisiana-style food ever since, specifically the po-boy sandwich. The term “po-boy” originated in New Orleans when restaurants would give loaves of bread to the poor, hungry boys that would come by and ask for food. Sometimes, they would fill the bread with whatever scraps of food they had and give them to their “po-boys” to eat. Thus the term and the sandwich were born.

Ryan says that one thing very specific to a real po-boy sandwich is the bread: for a po-boy to be in the real traditional style, it must be made with bread from one of two Louisiana bakeries, such as the famous Leidenheimer bakery. Ryan and Deb felt if they could get the real bread for B’s Po Boy up to Indianapolis, then they could not only share a food they love with the community, but also create a dining experience one may have thought only possible by visiting Louisiana.

In addition to the po-boy, B’s also serves a variety of cajun cuisine staples like gumbo and red beans with andouille and white rice. Tradition has it that you drink either a beer or a root beer with your po-boy sandwich. In addition to a local craft beer selection, B’s also offers beer and root beer brewed in Louisiana from the Abita Brewing Company.

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B’s Po Boy is a great example of people who are willing to share their passion for something with members of their community. Ryan and Deb could have easily moved to New Orleans to be closer to a food culture they love, but instead they chose to bring it back with them to Indiana. Ryan said that his goal with the restaurant, beyond offering diners a New Orleans-like experience, is to put out great food and do it consistently, which he most certainly does. Down the road, Ryan would love to expand but for the time being he and his wife are still excited about the restaurant and look forward to sharing their joy for New Orleans with others.