The Poboy House was awarded New Member of the Year for 2020 by the Chamber of Commerce.
The restaurant offers a variety of starters, salads, poboys and other sandwiches. This Port Allen establishment began in 1984 with original owners Sharon and Bruce Broussard. The husband and wife duo Chris and Christina Sanchez and Christina’s mother, Cassandra Allain took over the business in 2019.
The three partners now run the lunch restaurant on 6th street. Two of the restaurant’s original menu items, the taco salad and the whip lady salad are still best sellers. The new ownership also kept the format of the dining experience the same: grab-n-go in about five minutes or less.
Chris Sanchez brings 10 years of restaurant experience to the team. The Poboy House markets to a “younger crowd” so they “don’t have to cross the bridge” said Chris Sanchez. "We run the gamut, we do a little bit of everything.”
His wife, Christina Sanchez, added, “[There’s] nothing that we won’t try, but it’s hard to manage all of it at once, so we have seasonal offerings.” The Poboy House creates a new menu every couple months.
The Poboy House has an all female labor force of about ten employees. “It’s something you almost never see,” said Chris Sanchez. “It can be quite challenging to be honest."
With their hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. an employee can “work while the kids are in school then be home to get them off the bus.” Chris Sanchez “takes care of employees,” stating, “I believe in paying everyone a living wage” and hires at $10 per hour plus tips. Sandra Pitre has worked for The Poboy House for 30 years.
Quality is a major focus for The Poboy House. In Chris Sanchez’s opinion, “Maybe it’s more expensive, but if it’s ten times better, it’s worth it.” He added the business may “not be set up to be the most profitable” but makes sure to prioritize quality ingredients such as their Gulf shrimp, in-house roasted and sliced roast beef, locally baked bread, homemade aioli, and cakes made from scratch.
Speciality cakes and catering are also part of their business model but are not directly advertised. Instead, the hype is mostly spread by word of mouth. Chris Sanchez can “have a bit of fun” with the catering described as “fine-dining catering on an intimate scale,” with a “focus on quality and complexity.” Christina agreed, “The cakes and catering are where we can stretch our legs and be creative.”
“It’s amazing to see how the business changes, like the cakes,” said Christina Sanchez, “I thought I’d sell a few slices at lunch and now we sell many in a week.” The cake business picked up during the pandemic. Christina worked every day during the three month COVID-19 shut down when orders went from about five a week to around 30. “It exploded,” she said, especially for her customers during Mother’s Day 2020. “They couldn’t really go anywhere so they wanted a cake to bring home.”
With their varied interests, talents, and successes, the couple has big plans for the future. They purchased the property at 552 California Street about a year ago, with plans to create “The Pink House” across the street where they intend to host small weddings and events. “The Cake House” is also a brainchild, which would be an expansion of the current bakery side of the business.
To check out The Poboy House menu visit : www.thepoboyhouse.com