The Best Little Poboy House in Port Allen has been a lunchtime staple for nearly four decades. Last week, the family-owned and operated business announced it would close its doors forever. The next day another local made an offer to buy it.
Sharon and Bruce Broussard purchased a small building next to a car wash on Court Street in 1981.
Bruce Broussard always wanted to own his own business, and when the building went up for sale, they thought, “why not?” Sharon said. For many years, Sharon ran the counter with the help of just one cook and served about 30 residents every day.
Soon, their children Michael and Melanie began working in the poboy house, too.
In 2003, the business rolled right down the street to the corner of 6th Street and California Avenue. The family put everything from coolers to the furniture on dollies and moved into the new building down the block that Bruce built with the help of friends.
Michael took over the family business in 2008, and Sharon semi-retired. Like many who work or have worked there, Sharon retired but continued to work at the poboy house. Debra Eidson, a long-time family friend and employee of the poboy house, called working at the counter her “fun job.”
“Everybody wanted to retire and come work here,” Michael said.
Sharon was no exception. She continued to work at the Best Little Poboy House until the doors closed last week.
As the business grew, so did the need for employees. When the doors closed Friday, six said their goodbyes.
Like any restaurant, there were struggles and new adventures, including a second location across the river.
“We might only be open 10 to 2, but this was not a 10 to 2 job,” Michael said. He often spent Sundays baking, afternoons shopping for supplies and early mornings prepping for the lunch rush ahead.
After more than a decade of running the place, maintaining its social media presence and putting out the fires that inevitably pop up in the restaurant industry, Michael decided it was his turn to semi-retire.
“It wasn’t an easy one,” Michael said of the decision to close, noting that the “family legacy” of the place pulled tightly on his heart, especially after the passing of his father Bruce six years ago.
“I wasn’t gonna sell it. I was just gonna shut down,” Michael said. “I was at my wit’s end.”
Using Facebook, one of the most significant additions to the business he made after taking over, Michael announced the iconic Port Allen poboy house would “close our doors for good” in a post on May 21. The next day he got a call from an interested buyer.
The new owners have asked to remain anonymous until they make a formal announcement themselves, and the West Side Journal will honor that request.
The menu and principle of The Best Little Poboy House in Port Allen will remain the same, Michael said. The business is in good hands, and more information will be available soon.
Michael said he will miss talking to people who come in the most.
“I grew up in Port Allen, so I know everybody,” he said.
The part-time travel agent, now in a semi-retired state, said he looks forward to traveling more and finding a fun job of his own, he hopes one “without any major responsibilities.”
The West Side Journal will provide information on the re-opening of The Best Little Poboy House in Port Allen as it is made available.