VIEUX CARRÉ CLASSIC
Nestled in the heart of the historic French Quarter is Napoleon House, a New Orleans institution that has long been a favorite for hot muffulettas and icecold Pimm’s Cups. Joseph “Uncle Joe” Impastato opened a Sicilian grocery at the site in 1914, where he sold sandwiches to dock workers. Along the way, the grocery morphed into a tavern and eventually a restaurant.
In 2015, local restaurateur Ralph Brennan purchased the restaurant, which continues to delight diners with its classic New Orleans cuisine and welcoming ambience in a nearly 200-year-old building. The muffuletta definitely remains a mainstay of the menu.
“Certainly, two of the most critical differences are that we use pastrami in lieu of the traditional mortadella, and also that we serve the muffuletta hot,” says Executive Chef Chris Montero. “Those are the real signatures of the Napoleon House muffuletta.”
Chris honors the Impastato family legacy by going back to the original methods of making the restaurant’s classic recipes. That includes making the bread fresh daily, hand mixing the olive salad in Uncle Joe’s bowl, and toasting the bread in a toaster oven, where the edges of the cold cuts crisp and the cheese melts to perfection. Check out the recipe for the Napoleon House’s crowd-pleasing muffuletta pictured above.
“We want to do things as authentically and as originally as possible since it’s such an iconic restaurant,” Chris says.