What flavors come to mind when you think of New Orleans? Is it the powdered sugar on top of a beignet? The savory layers of a perfectly prepared gumbo? While no one would blame you for thinking that, there’s another classic New Orleans flavor that you just have to experience.
In 1906, a Sicilian immigrant by the name of Salvatore Lupo opened Central Grocery & Deli. But Salvatore wasn’t just selling groceries. He created a sandwich that would stand the test of time — the muffuletta.
A muffuletta seems ordinary enough at a glance, but it has extraordinary flavor. The Italian meats and cheeses are sliced in-house, and the Sicilian bread is baked fresh locally. Olive salad is spread over the meat and cheese — this is where the muffuletta gets its unique flavor. The explosion of strong olive and oil flavors will perk you up no matter what time of day it is. (You probably don’t want to plan your first date here.)
Shuffling into Central Grocery during a sunny day on Decatur might prove difficult, but that’s not to say it’s not worth it. This is one of the most popular spots to visit in New Orleans. The old-world aesthetic of the grocery, which has hardly changed since the early 1900s, can lure you in for hours — a welcome escape from the more touristy traps in the Quarter. Luckily, the choices at the register are easy enough: half or whole? Unless you have a pretty impressive appetite, half is more than enough sandwich.
You might find yourself thinking, “This olive salad is so good, they should bottle it.”
Central Grocery is way ahead of you. They sell jars of their homemade olive salad for the ride home. (We don’t recommend opening it on a plane, but you gotta live your life, right?)
Get a “Taste of New Orleans” at the place that started it all.