There are two sandwiches that anyone visiting or living in New Orleans should be familiar with: the po’boy and the muffuletta. Created in 1906 by Central Grocery owner Salvatore Lupo, the muffuletta is Sicilian in nature and features layers of mortadella, salami, ham, provolone, swiss cheese, marinated olive salad, and served on a round Italian loaf sprinkled with sesame seeds. Usually 8-10 inches in diameter, the muffuletta is a sandwich that begs to be shared and can often be purchased in whole or half sizes. Here are some of the best versions of this popular sandwich that you can find all over the city. Happy muffuletta hunting!
Known locally as the godfather of the muffuletta, Central Grocery has been in business since 1906 and is a third-generation family owned grocery store. Located on Decatur Street in the heart of the French Quarter, people travel near and far to sample the original sandwich. Freshly sliced meats, homemade sesame seed bread, their own olive salad (people swear by it), and the fact that it’s served cold is what sets their muffuletta apart from all the rest. Bring your appetite (or a couple of friends), ’cause the size of this sandwich reflects the price. $26 for a whole
Nestled near the lakefront in Metairie you’ll find the Bucktown neighborhood where there’s a concentration of great seafood restaurants, one of which is R&O’s. Their menu has everything from fried seafood platters and pizzas to crawfish pies and lasagna, but it’s their muffuletta we can’t get enough of. A layering of swiss cheese, Chisese ham, salami, mozzarella and house-made olive salad is topped on a Leidenheimer sesame-seeded muffuletta loaf and heated to perfection. $14.60 for a whole sandwich
One of the best things about visiting the French Quarter is being able to stop in the Napoleon House on Chartres for an ice cold Pimm’s Cup and delicious muffuletta. Instead of using the traditional mortadella, they use pastrami along with ham, genoa salami, provolone and swiss cheese and serve it warm so the cheese is nice and melted. $16.50 (serves 2)
One of the best places in the city to catch a game while throwing back a few cold beers and dozen or so oysters is also home to some of the best bar food in town. Cooter Brown’s muffuletta is simple and good – ham, mortadella, pepperoni and olive salad on an 8-inch muffuletta round and served warm. It’s big enough to share, but not if you’re hungry enough. $15
It’s hard to find anything on the menu at Butcher that isn’t awesome and the muffuletta is no exception. House-cured meats, melted provolone, and house-made olive salad are piled high on a sesame seed Sicilian roll and served toasted. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you like muffulettas, Butcher’s version is a great jumping off point. $14
Can’t decide between a muffuletta or a pizza? Easy – have both! Pizza Domenica on Magazine Street in the Uptown neighborhood features a muffuletta pizza with spicy salami, mortadella, house pickled olive salad of cauliflower, carrots, celery, olives and tomatoes, a sprinkle of shredded provolone and mozzarella mix, and everything bagel seasoning along the outer crust. Once the pizza is out of the oven, they finish it off with a drizzle of garlic aioli. It’s certainly one of a kind! $18
If you thought muffulettas were only for meat eaters, think again! Katie’s Restaurant in Mid-City features a vegetarian muffuletta on their menu stuffed with mozzarella, provel cheese, eggplant, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and kalamata olive salad. It’s a big diversion from the original but zero sacrifice on flavor. $17