New Orleans is famous for hundreds of restaurants – honestly, if you get a bad meal in New Orleans you are doing it wrong. The mix of seafood, cajun and creole cuisine, and just great southern cooking can be found in hundreds of restaurants – from fine quality to holes in the walls.
As a New Orleans Local, I had never eaten at Mother’s Restaurant New Orleans and I decided it was time to stand in line and try the World’s Best Ham. It was time to eat the Ferdi Special.
My two friends and I took on the challenge as locals eating at Mother’s in New Orleans.
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Where is Mother’s, New Orleans?
Mother’s New Orleans is located at 401 Poydras Street on the corner of Tchoupitoulas Street. It is located on the Edge of the Central Business District and is a short walk from the French quarter. Mothers’ hours of operation are 7 am until 10 pm. Reservations are not available so there might be a line waiting outside (and throughout the restaurant).
What is the history of Mother’s New Orleans?
Mother’s Restaurant opened its doors in 1938 on Poydras Street as part of Restaurant Row. The original owners, Simon and Mary “Mother” Landry cooked up the famous poor boys for the lines of longshoremen, and other professionals.
After World War II, Mothers Restaurant became the local hangout for the U.S. Marine Corps. Five of the Seven Landry Children joined the Marine Corp and Francis Landry was the first woman in Louisiana to be accepted into the Marine Corps.
The association with the Marines earned a special recognition Tun Tavern New Orleans in the late ’60s.
Jerry and John Amato bought Mothers Restaurant from the Landry’s Sons in 1986. The Amato family brought traditional New Orleans dishes, like jambalaya and shrimp Creole to the menu.
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Who Owns Mother’s New Orleans?
John Amato and Denny Amato currently own Mother’s New Orleans and they are the current owners and managers of the restaurant. The Amato family has run Mother’s New Orleans for a few years now.
What to eat at Mother’s New Orleans?
Mother’s is opened 7 days a week, and breakfast is served all day long. But Mother’s isn’t boasting about their breakfast on their front sign – at this restaurant, it is all about the world’s best ham.
Waiting in Line at Mother’s Restaurant
Waiting in line is a right of passage at Mother’s Restaurant. Lunch officially starts at 10:30 am but if you want to get a small number of po’boys at breakfast you can.
Try to get to Mother’s Restaurant as early as you can. Even though standing in line is an enjoyable experience, the heat in the summertime can turn a 30-minute wait into a catastrophe.
Waiting in line actually goes very quickly. Mother’s really knows how to feed a large crowd in the quickest, most effective way possible. Our wait from getting in line to leaving was just under one hour!
How Long is the Line for Mothers Restaurant?
Do not be fooled by seeing the line outside, the line will snake through the entire restaurant to squeeze as many people as possible into the air conditioning.
Once you are inside, there is another line that goes through the restaurant. Don’t be shocked. Once you are inside, it takes about an additional 10 minutes to wait until it is time to order your food.
While waiting in line, there are menus that you can browse to determine what you are going to eat. The extensive menu made this New Orleanian glad there were so many choices, but I knew exactly what I was going to order.
While waiting in line you will notice that there are tons of framed photos lining the wall of the restaurant. After a look around I noticed that Beyonce and Jay-Z have eaten at Mothers. Pretty much if the food is good enough for them they are good enough for this local!
Ordering your food at Mother’s Restaurant
The menu is quite extensive at Mothers. I knew I wanted to get a poboy, specifically the Famous Ferdi Special (The Original) with the best baked ham, roast beef, and the original debris with au jus gravy. All meat po’boys come with shredded cabbage, slide pickles, mayonnaise, creole mustard, and yellow mustards. But I didn’t know what additional side dishes I wanted to get!
I ended up ordering some french fries and turnip greens to share with the table. You could also order sides of potato salad, cheese grits, or Jake’s Green beans with tomatoes.
Once you get up to the counter, make sure you know what you want to order (you did spend all of that time waiting in line. Ensure that you order your food, pay for it, get your ticket, and then find a seat! We opted to sit close to the cash register because we were able to see how long the line lasted. It lasted throughout the entire meal.
The Famous Ferdi Special
I knew that the main reason for coming to Mother’s Restaurant was to try their famous Ferdi Special. If people are waiting in line for a poboy I need to see if it lives up to the legend.
Legend states that a local merchant, Mr. Ferdi, a Mother’s regular would come in and get a delicious meaty sandwich. The sandwich includes Ham, roast beef, and original debris with au jus gravy
There were so many different sandwiches and sides I wanted to try, but I knew that I had to try the Famous Ferdi Special.
History states that a local merchant and a Mother’s regular would come in and get po’ boys. The po’ boy included the world’s best ham, roast beef, and beef debris and gravy.
Eating Po’Boys at Mothers
Ordering Po’ boys at Mothers was not a disappointment the french bread was large and fresh and you could easily feed a large family with these portions. Since I ordered additional sides with my large po’boy I did have tons of leftovers to bring home.
I snuck a bite or tow of the red beans and rice and they are authentic n’awlins as you can get when eating red beans in a restaurant.
Other Items to eat at Mother’s Restuarant
If eating poboys is not your thing, there are plenty of delicious items for you to eat on the menu. As I said, they have breakfast all day long, fried seafood plates like a soft shell crab seafood platter or a fried oyster plate.
If you want to eat more Creole-Cajun food, you can order any of the New Orleans staples like Jerry’s Jambalaya and Seafood Gumbo. Neither will disappoint you.
Mother’s also has a dessert menu where you can get bread pudding with brandy sauce, potato or pecan pie, chocolate brownies, and homemade cookies.
If you have dietary restrictions, Mother’s Restaurant also has a gluten-free and vegetarian menu.
Is Mother’s in New Orleans up to the Hype?
If you are in downtown New Orleans and want some good food you should go to Mother’s. It undoubtedly was an experience to wait in line for some delicious home cooking and taste the world’s best ham.
What is Mother’s Next Door?
Mother’s Next Door is additional seating for the number of guests that come and dine at Mother’s Restaurant. You can also rent the space as a private room for a private party or event.
Can I order from Mother’s Online?
You can order a few dishes from Mother’s via the online food platform Goldbelly. The at-home kits include the famous Ferdi Po’ boy, chicken & sausage jambalaya, Red beans and rice, and Bread pudding. If seafood is more your style, the seafood kit contains crawfish etouffee, seafood gumbo, shrimp creole, and a pan of Bread Pudding.
If you are looking for a typical New Orleans fair, with a New Orleans local stamp of approval, head on over to Mother’s Restaurant. It is fun to spend some time standing in line and seeing all of the famous people who dined in this restaurant before you.
Mother’s customer service is world-class, all of the people working there have true New Orleans charm. Mother’s Restaurant has won a number of Zagat awards for its cuisine and it is well deserved. Many locals might tell you to stay away from this tourist trap, but this group of locals had a blast trying out Mothers.
Have you been to Mother’s yet? Next time make sure you add this to your bucket list of places to eat!
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