Inside Central Grocery: New Orleans, French Quarter

 

Colorful storefront on Decatur Street lures you into the land of good eating: Central Grocery

Colorful storefront on Decatur Street lures you into the land of good eating: Central Grocery

If you go to New Orleans on a diet, you’ll miss the best part of the city:  the food!  And what could be more quintessential in the French Quarter than a genuine Sicilian muffuletta from Central Grocery?

Stack of muffulettas from Central Grocery ready to be wrapped and served.

Stack of muffulettas from Central Grocery ready to be wrapped and served. (image: goldbely.com)

This tiny, squeezed-in place at 923 Decatur Street opened in 1906 by Sicilian immigrant Salvatore Lupo who continued to operate it until 1946 when he passed it along to his son-in-law Salvatore Tusa.  The sandwich, (well, this is what we’ve gathered from internet sources), was invented to feed Italian and Sicilian truck drivers delivering produce to the French Market.  They needed something they could hold.  So, Salvatore piled all the ingredients — cured meats (like mortadella, salami, and ham), cheeses (mozzarella and provolone), and olive spread — into a whole sesame-covered bun.  By wrapping the muffulettas in paper, they became portable lunches, if you will.  And you, too, can get the same treatment any day at lunchtime.

With Italian flags hanging on almost every shelf, there's no doubting you're in an authentic place!

With Italian flags hanging on almost every shelf, there’s no doubting you’re in an authentic place!

The store itself is definitely worth a tour whether you belly up to the bar or not.  Crowded shelves hold all you could ever imagine in a Sicilian/Italian deli.  Like cans of olive oil . . .

Shelf of olive oil, Central Grocery

Shelf of olive oil, Central Grocery

and bottles of hot sauce . . .

Hot sauce all lined up at Central Grocery, New Orleans

Hot sauce all lined up at Central Grocery, New Orleans

and our favorite Creole seasoning that we always bring back home — Slap Ya Mama!

Ready to spice up gumbo, muffulettas, etouffe, you name it!

Ready to spice up gumbo, muffulettas, etouffe, you name it!

You place an order and pay the cashier.

A busy cashier rings up another muffuletta for lunch.

A busy cashier rings up another muffuletta for lunch.

And notice how the folks at Central Grocery still honor the founders that made the place so famous.

Muffuletta sign at Central Grocery: New Orleans

Honoring the founders and claiming bragging rights for one of the best muffulettas in the country!

Then you plop down at this simple bar where hundreds before you have left their mark.

Bar at Central Grocery: New Orleans

Flags on the wall, handwriting at the bar: Central Grocery!

One lady noticed that I was taking pictures, and she said, You can take a picture of me eating a muffuletta.  I don’t mind.  It’s my favorite thing here! Or if you’re visiting and love the outdoors, you can grab a muffuletta for lunch and head for the levee.

It's not fancy sitting on a stool at the bar, but it's one heckuva lunch: Central Grocery!

It’s not fancy sitting on a stool at the bar, but it’s one heckuva lunch: Central Grocery!

Wanna make this at home?  Then don’t leave without a jar of the homemade, in-house Italian Olive Salad that’ll turn your average ham and cheese into something mindful of Old New Orleans.

Central Grocery olive spread: New Orleans

Ah, goodness in a jar!

Well, we’ve gone inside Central Grocery where Italian and Sicilian fare can’t be beaten. Here’s hoping you get a chance to chomp into one of their muffulettas that’s on every New Orleans tourist’s bucket list. Or should be.

Sign the bar at Central Grocery, if you can find room!

Sign the bar at Central Grocery, if you can find room!

For more sights and scenes from the New Orleans French Quarter, click onto Travel Series: New Orleans in the top bar of this post.

Here’s hoping you’re enjoying the Deep South with us!

–Bert and Rusha

Credits and sources:

Danno. “Central Grocery,” Nola Cuisine (May 24, 2009).  Retrieved from http://www.nolacuisine.com/2009/05/24/central-grocery/

Danno. “Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe,” Nola Cuisine (July 17, 2005). Retrieved from http://www.nolacuisine.com/2005/07/17/muffuletta-sandwich-recipe/

“Muffuletta.” Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muffuletta

Image of sandwiches and ordering information:  https://www.goldbely.com/central-grocery/15504-original-muffuletta-sandwich-5-pack

TingNewBlue

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
This entry was posted in Destination, Louisiana, New Orleans, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Inside Central Grocery: New Orleans, French Quarter

  1. Looks like a marvelous place, Rusha. I’m never on a diet, so I’d be up for one of those Muffulatas. 🙂

    • OMG! You’ve got good taste. They are so good. Portable, too. You can grab one and sit by the river! Or check out my newest blog on Napoleon House where their take on muffulettas is a great also.

  2. litadoolan says:

    I love this vibrant beautiful travelogue. The food looks like reason enough for a trip here. Great to connect with your exciting blog and I am looking forward to your posts broadening my horizons further (and extending my bucket list!). PS That hot sauce sounds awesome!

    • Thanks so taking an inside look at Central Grocery, a place we go to every time we’re in New Orleans. Love the muffulettas, but also love the people and the other products — especially the hot sauce!

      • litadoolan says:

        It’s amazing how good people seem to be found near great food! I wish that hot sauce could be bought near me 😉 We have had snow today (in Spring!) so it would be perfect to warm up the body!

  3. cprouzos says:

    Yum! I love everything about this post! Pickles, cheese and cured meats are the best!

  4. Forwarding this to my daughter who moved from NOLA to Maine and is missing the food and color! Great post, now my mouth is watering!!

    • I almost always miss the food, but I’ve gotten better at making gumbo. That’s our Louisiana fix! There’s a link on the post to a recipe for muffulettas if your daughter gets ambitious. It sounds soooo good! Thanks for commenting!

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