Central Grocery

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From New Orleans Restaurants

No trip to New Orleans is complete for me without a trip to Central Grocery for a Muffuletta. Detractors can fill the comments section with why they dislike the Central Grocery Muffuletta and why their favorite is so much better, have at it, but for my money Central Grocery does everything right with the sandwich that is said to have been created here by Salvatore Lupo.

Salvatore Lupo, a Sicilian immigrant opened the store in 1906 and operated it until 1946 when he retired and passed the reins to his son-in law Salvatore Tusa. The Muffuletta is said to have been invented early on to feed the Sicilian and Italian truck drivers who were driving produce, etc. to The French Market. The store is still in the family and has changed little over the years, with the exception of increased tourist traffic. Salvatore Lupo’s daughter, Marie Lupo Tusa released a cookbook in 1980 called Marie’s Melting Pot

Central Grocery is an old style Italian market, with Italian imports, pasta, olive oil, meats, cheeses as well as local New Orleans Creole items.

From New Orleans Restaurants
From New Orleans Restaurants
From New Orleans Restaurants
From New Orleans Restaurants

The Central Grocery Muffuletta has everything that a great Muffuletta should, a great mix of Genoa Salami, Mortadella, Ham, Mozzarella, Provolone (my Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe), a wonderful chunky Olive Salad made with Sicilian Olives just crushed, not chopped, Gardiniera, oregano, lots of oil (my Muffuletta Olive Salad Recipe) , and the quintessential bread, the round muffuletta loaf, about 10-11″ across topped with sesame seeds, light in the center with a nice crust (my Muffuletta Bread Recipe).

From New Orleans Restaurants

I love this sandwich so much that on one trip, I had all of my other meals locked in except for breakfast, and alas, purchased and almost killed an entire Central Grocery Muffuletta while sitting on the banks of the Mississippi while watching the barges roll by, and listening to a street musician trumpet the most somber rendition of Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans that I have ever heard (and I mean that as the highest compliment). All this before 10 o’clock a.m. while my wife slept-in back at the hotel.

From New Orleans Restaurants

By the way, in my humble opinion, sitting on the riverwalk is definately the best way to enjoy the Central Grocery Muffuletta, maybe not for breakfast, but definately for lunch. Grab a cold Louisiana beer or Barq’s Root Beer from the liquor store a few doors down, find a nice spot on the river and enjoy a piece of New Orleans that you won’t soon forget. Don’t forget to tip the musician who will surely cement the experience in your memory.

From New Orleans Restaurants

If you don’t get to enjoy a Muffuletta during your visit to New Orleans, at least grab one to go for the plane or car ride home! There is nothing more soul satisfying than unwrapping an enormous Muffuletta on a plane or in an airport food court and releasing the vapor of garlic and cured pork, where the captive diners will undoubtedly administer the stink eye, or question you as to where you found that sandwich, as if you found such perfection at the airport. When asked from airports in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, wherever… ‘Where did you get that sandwich?’ it is always fun to give a half cocked smile and casually say ‘New Orleans’, then take a HUGE bite out of that sucker as if it was your last morsel on earth, then shake your head in amazement as to how wonderful it tastes. Trust me, you won’t have to act.

Central Grocery
(504) 620-0174
923 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70116

If you can’t make it to New Orleans I have recipes for all of the components of the Mighty Muffuletta here:

Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe
Muffuletta Olice Salad Recipe
Muffuletta Bread Recipe

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole and Cajun Recipes, which links to all of the recipe featured on this site!!

Related Posts:

Napoleon House

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25 thoughts on “Central Grocery”

  1. Sheesh…you’re killin’ me here in Cleveland! Your posts, especially this one, make me homesick for N’Awlins. Thanks for the great pics and posts.

  2. I cannot get enough of the olive salad in there — that is what makes the sandwich for me! I’m so thankful I still have one relative in Greater NO. A real muffelletta in a must on every visit. Northeast Ohio never heard of them and my homemade attempts only make me long for the real thing even more.

  3. The picture on the riverwalk brings back distant, and more recent memories…we went to JazzFest this year.

    For the record, muffulettas are great for breakfast (at 10:30 a.m.), and go REALLY well with a couple of Bloody Marys from the bar at Tujague’s just down the street.

  4. Central is only closed on Monday. I was there last week on the Monday it was closed…;-(

  5. Central used to be great, but they’ve cut back on the fillings so much over the years they’re not so great any more. Try Serio’s Deli right off Canal St. for a wonderful muffuletta.

  6. With all this, something should be said for the captain of the store, Frank Tusa. He has kept it steady, and high, and yummy.
    Frank, you’re the Man!

  7. came upon this while googleing for the correct olive salad to make this at home–living in staten “italy” ny good coldcuts are easy to come but now must find a “panniota” Im drooling at that pic my most memorable meal in NOLA<,, regretted not taking 2 back to nyc w/ me to share w/ fam/friends—yumyumyum

  8. Just got back from NOLA a few hours ago. Bought 2 Central Grocery muffalettas right before we left to come back to Chicago. As a matter fact, I just finished half of one while reading this link. This is truly the most amazing sandwich I have ever had!

  9. I love Muffulettas!!!!! I stopped bye this past summer to get one. (I live in Mo.) They said you can call & have one shipped to you. Awsome!!!

  10. Jackson Square is also a great place to enjoy a muffuletta while you people watch. The only other eating experience I have had in New Orleans that was even close to this was a burger at Port of Call. New Orleans is absolutely one-of-a-kind and I can’t wait until I am able to visit, and eat, again. Thank you for a post that brings back so many fantastic memories!

  11. CG is truly one of the few remaining places in New Orleans (no not N’awlins, only tourist call it that) where things are exactly like they always have been. As other places change hands over the years and the new owners think they can improve on success most of the truly unique food treasures have vanished. CG is really the only Muff i consider pure and still the best. Thanks for the bread recipe, even though i am not an “oven chef” but more of a “stove chef” i will have to give it a try since nothing even close is available to us expats in Florida.

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