Central Grocery in New Orleans claims to have invented the muffaletta (aka muffuletta, muffelatta), which is named for the round Sicilian loaf that resembles a high-rise focaccia. It happened in 1906 when Salvatore Lupo, proprietor of the French Quarter grocery store, sliced the loaf sideways and layered in salami, mortadella, capicola, and provolone along with a thick ribbon of garlicky olive salad in the same genus as the giardiniera used on Chicago’s Italian beef. A traditional muffaletta, as made at Central Grocery (which now exists for no reason other than to make and serve it), is a foot in diameter – enough sandwich for two – and is sold as a whole, half, or quarter. Some restaurants do offer it heated; recipes extend to vegetarian versions; and there even are ones made on sliced bread rather than on a muffaletta loaf. Such variations test the limits of the word.

Restaurants With This Dish

Close view of split-open boudin sausage shows the rice-to-pork balance of ingredients
Cannatella Grocery


Fratesi Grocery and Service Center


Jambonz Deux


Muffaletta cross-section shows thick, chewy bread holding cheese, cold cuts, and oily olive salad
Central Grocery


Sidetracked Cafe


Barton's Kitchen Muffuletta
Barton’s Kitchen



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