In a quiet uptown neighborhood sits a small yellow house with a handpainted sign that reads, "Domilise's Po-Boys and Bar." It's 10 am. The phone inside begins to ring furiously. A line of both locals and tourists alike forms on the corner of Annunciation and Bellecastle. By noon, the scent of fried shrimp and oysters can be smelled all the way to Tchoupitoulas Street. It's lunch time. Domilise's is open and Miss Dot is smiling from above while her beloved customers sit and enjoy their po-boys.
Generations of families have eaten at Domilise's. Politicians make sure to stop by on Election Day, and football family dynasties grew up eating Domilise's. Celebrities wait in line with their friends and hang their photo on the wall. But, it doesn't matter who walks through those doors—everyone is considered family at Domilise's. Miss Dot loved her customers and considered them family. She celebrated their birthdays, weddings, graduations, and other special events.
Domilise's was founded around 1918 by Peter and Sophie Domilise as a neighborhood bar. A few years later, Sophie began cooking plate lunches for the longshoremen and river front workers. Shortly after World War II, Peter Domilise turned over the small corner bar and sandwich shop to his son, Sam, and daughter-in-law, Dorothy "Miss Dot" Domilise. Upon Sam's death in 1981, Miss Dot became the next owner. For more than 70 years, Miss Dot lived and worked on Annunciation and Bellcastle Streets.
In 1985, Patti (NuNu) Domilise, Miss Dot's Daughter-in-Law, started working at Domilise's and took over management around eight years ago. Shortly after that, Patti's sons, Josh and Zack, joined her at Domilise's.
2005 was the only year that Domilise's was closed for an extended period of time. The family evacuated to Alabama and Franklin, LA for Hurricane Katrina. They returned to New Orleans in November and re-opened to a line several blocks long. The city knew that when Domilise's returned, the city returned.
In the summer of 2013, Miss Dot passed away at the age of 90. The city mourned the loss of one of its Guardians of Tradition. A year later, Patti passed away.
Despite the loss of two Domilise greats in roughly one year, Domilise's is still open and thriving and serving up the best po-boys in the city. The shop is now on the third and fourth generation of owners. It's still the same Domilise's serving the same delicious shrimp, oyster, roast beef, and sausage po-boys on fresh, crispy Leidenheimer bread.
Ray the bartender just celebrated his 45th year as bartender. Gayle has made sandwiches for nearly 35 years. Jaime has been Saturday bartender for 25 years. Mary Lou has worked at Domilise's for over 10 years, Sid has worked there about 8 years and John about 4 years. Throughout all these years, the menu (Rest In Peace Pepper Weiner), the recipes, and the people behind the counter that make Domilise's special haven't changed, and you can bet they won't change even as time goes on. Miss Dot always said that the customer is always the most important thing at Domilise's, and that mantra lives on to this day. That is why Domilise's is considered the standard for po-boys in New Orleans.