The shop opened around 1929 as an informal neighborhood bar in a room attached to Peter Domilises’s house at the corner of Annunciation and Bellecastle Streets – 7 minutes from our Garden Street bed and breakfast. It was frequented mostly by Mr. Domilise’s countrymen from Sicily. Eventually they built a sandwich bar on the annunciation Street side of the room, selling po’boys exclusively.
After World War II, the business passed to the Domilises’ son, Sam. Sam was a civic leader in this working class Uptown neighborhood, and after hours, the shop became a sort of unofficial municipal meeting room, where members of the community would gather to discuss the pressing issues of the 13th ward.
Sam Domilises died in 1981, and now the shop is run by Dot Domilise- “Miss Dot” to anyone who’s been there more than once. It remains a humble room, with walls of wooden paneling and a drop ceiling. Behind the beverage bar is an informal beer cam museum, which showcases yellowing tin cans of Jax, Dixie and Falstaff.
Every celebrity that has ever visited New Orleans has stopped in to meet Ms. Dot and enjoy a po’boy. The walls are covered with signed photo’s of the likes of Archie Manning and sons, Paul Newman, Julia Roberts and many more.
Domilise’s still serves only po’boys on untoasted loaves of Leidenheimer bread.The house specialty is the roast beef. It comes with creole mustard and a huge ladling of brown gravy, and when you’re finished, be grateful for the hand-washing sink at the far end of the room.
And don’t forget…to make it a true New Orleans experience…..add a Barq’s root beer and a bag of Zapp’s potato chips!