You’ll know you’ve found Central Grocery and Deli when you see a line winding out of the small storefront down the sidewalk of Decatur Street, where the old-fashioned grocery has been located since 1919 after moving from its original location a block away. Not much has changed at the century-old business, which is now run by third-generation family members.
“We’re proud of this business,” says owner Tommy Tusa. “It’s 111 years old. You don’t see many stores like these anymore, so we want to keep with the style it is.”
The French Quarter fixture is a well-oiled machine, selling anywhere from 300 to 500 muffulettas a day. The store’s quintessential sandwich is stacked with Genoa salami, ham, mortadella, Swiss, provolone, and chunky olive salad. They are made ahead and weighted—a step that causes the oils from the olive salad to seep into the loaf—creating a delightful texture and flavor.
Muffulettas are sold by the half and the whole, and can be enjoyed at one of the store’s barstools or to go. Those who can’t make it to New Orleans for a taste of this culinary masterpiece can enjoy it from the comfort of home, as Central Grocery now ships muffulettas overnight.