An Italian grocer, a famous sandwich and a long-awaited comeback

Sep 29, 2023 1072

BY: Roby Chavez

When Hurricane Ida blew through New Orleans two years ago with 113 mph winds, the Central Grocery Company, a hallmark of the French Quarter for 117 years, was left in ruins. The closure of the old-time Italian deli left New Orleanians, transplants, and tourists hungry for its world-renowned original muffuletta — a gigantic sandwich made on 9-inch-round sesame bread and stuffed with Genoa salami, ham, mortadella, cheese, and olive salad made from a secret family recipe.

At its busiest, during Mardi Gras, the deli could sell as many as 1,200 sandwiches a day. But when a 10-foot-tall brick wall from a neighboring building crashed onto the grocery’s roof, the fate of the company, which has been operated by the same family for three generations, was left hanging in the balance.

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