Central Grocery is known for creating the now-famous muffuletta sandwich made with Italian sliced meats and olive spread.
A beloved grocery store in the French Quarter of New Orleans is set to reopen this fall after sustaining damage from Hurricane Ida in 2021. Central Grocery, known for inventing the muffuletta sandwich, is a family-owned Italian market now under its third generation of ownership.
The owners have taken pains to restore the look, feel and contents of the store so it is familiar to customers, but with some improvements. “It’s Central Grocery, and we want it to come back as Central Grocery,” co-owner Tommy Tusa told the website Nola.com, emphasizing that the basic layout was replicated.
While the muffuletta that original Salvatore Lupo made famous is a draw, the grocery store will serve the needs of residents and visitors to the Big Easy. Central Grocery will continue to sell a variety of Italian specialties along with other everyday items.
In the nearly three years since the hurricane struck New Orleans, grocers in the city banded together to keep selling Central Grocery’s original muffuletta that has become a piece of history and food lore. Central Grocery’s owners teamed up with other retailers, including Zuppardo’s Family Market, Rouses Market and Norco Fresh Market, among others, to distribute the product.
Located at 923 Decatur Street, Central Grocery is owned and operated by cousins Tommy Tusa and Frank Tusa.
While the venerable Central Grocery is making a comeback, other retailers are putting down new roots in New Orleans. Earlier this summer, reports surfaced that Trader Joe's is planning a new location on Tulane Avenue with a target opening in late 2024. Discount grocer ALDI welcomed shoppers to a store in nearby Metairie, La., at the beginning of the year.