Central Grocery

Review by: Michael Stern

Central Grocery is home of the muffuletta, one of New Orleans’ great sandwiches. Muffulettas are now available in many restaurants around town (and around the nation), and there are some who like other restaurants’ versions better, but we’re quite happy dining at the source, for Central Grocery meakes a beauty. A circular loaf of soft Italian bread is sliced horizontally and piled with salami, ham, and provolone, which are in turn topped with a wickedly spicy melange of chopped green and black olives fragrant with anchovies and garlic. The hefty hunk of lunch is quartered and wrapped and sold ready to go … or to unwrap immediately and eat along the counters that have been installed at the back of the store. In our opinion, this mighty muffuletta (available as a half sandwich for puny appetites) is definitive. Yes, other restaurants now make fatter ones on artisan breads with more exotic cold cuts and fancier ingredients in the olive salad, but this big fella has a classic dignity that simply cannot be bettered.

And the store, while a smidgen less quaint then it used to be, and no longer a full-service sandwich shop (muffulettas are the only meal you can get), is still a fine place to shop. It is the same well-weathered, creaky-floored emporium it has been for decades, its grocery shelves a wonderland for all who like pickles, olives, peppers, and spice. What has not changed one bit is Central Grocery’s distinct aroma: an irresistibly appetizing perfume of salamis, cheeses, garlic, and oil.

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Central Grocery Recipes


What do you think of Central Grocery?

2 Responses to “Central Grocery”

carol wisner

October 25th, 2010

Central Grocery’s mufuletta is not to be missed! My last visit to this magical city included an early stop for a half sandwich for my sweetheart and I to share. We got there a little before 11 and there was already a line forming outside. We didn’t have a thing to worry about, because at that time of the day, there are still plenty to be had. Once inside, the aroma of garlic and oil, onion and sweet pepper, prepared and consumed over decades permeates the air. Waiting in line affords you the time to admire the quaint artowrk on the cans of impoted tomato puree, and study the myriad shapes of the pastas for sale, and generally anticipate the experience of this wonderful sandwich. We got ours, carried it around the French Market for an hour or so, happened to pass by the Grocery around noon, and the line was halfway down the block! The owners of the Central Grocery must be billionaires by now, with all the mufulettas they must have sold! For good reason–wait until you taste it–the savory meats, the pungent cheeses, the oil which has melded with the “salad” inside–it is a blue collar, immigrant’s interpretation of heaven. The bread is perfect too, crusty with a soft inside to soak up the wonderful juices. Nothing fancy, but it was my favorite meal.


Mark Kulzer

January 10th, 2004

The Muffaletta at the Central Grocery is out of this world. My wife and I were in New Orleans for four days and the Muffaletta from Central Grocery was the best food we had! And the cheapest! If you crave the savory taste of salami and cheese mingled with the pungeant bite of olives, vinegar and olive oil then give it a try. It is all served/ squeezed between two halves of a delicious sesame seed topped Italian round. We even brought home a quart of the olive spread so we could try and duplicate this delicacy. ($9.95 a quart)You can get a half of a “Muff” for less than six bucks which is ample for two people. (Or a nice meal for one hungry person.) Add sodas from the machine in the back for 75 cents/ each and you’ve got a savory lunch for under four bucks a head. How are you going to beat that!
The place isn’t fancy at all, just some stools along a plain table in the back. But that allows you to devote all of your attention to the wonderful taste! And they all come wrapped to go anyway, so grab one and eat out on Jackson Square and watch the world go by.

They also stock some interesting food items and condiments in the store. For what it is, you can’t beat it.


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