A muffuletta is one of the three iconic sandwiches in New Orleans, a proud trio that also includes po’ boys, of course, and the Vietnamese version, the banh mi. Like most traditional bites, a muffuletta isn’t just a sandwich, it’s a history lesson.
Between 1884 and 1924, nearly 300,000 mostly Sicilian immigrants moved to New Orleans, transforming the French Market neighborhood into what was called “Little Palermo,” ripe with family grocery stores, pushcarts and Italian wares.
Sicilian workers often stopped into Central Grocery for bread, olives, cold cuts, and cheese for lunch, usually standing up or balancing a plate precariously on their laps. Salvatore Lupo, who opened Central Grocery across from the French Market in 1906, decided there had to be a better way — and it involved bread as big as a plate.
The famous sandwich, layered with olive salad, Genoa salami, ham, mortadella, provolone, and Swiss cheese, was born. While Central Grocery remains shuttered after sustaining epic damage from Hurricane Ida, there are plenty of other spots that deliver a sandwich almost as good — and in some cases, better. Most come in a half or whole; be advised, eating a whole isn’t for lightweights.
This map includes mostly classics, plus a couple beloved twists on the classic.
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