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Feb 21, 2008 02:16 PM

Central Grocery is Rude

When my parents were in town last weekend, I insisted that my mom and dad try the muff. While standing in line, the guys behind the counter were straight up rude. It offended my parents who are pretty laid back folks. Bouncing around on the boards, I think they may have a reputation for this. I'm a big fan of exercising the only power I have by boycotting a place that disrespects my patronage. I'm willing to write off Central Grocery, but need another option for a great muff. Suggestions from the board for a great muff and a place to buy good olive spread?

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  1. I like Franky & Johnny's.

    1. Hey Tiger, welcome to the club.....

      I miss the great muffs Progress had, but lips that touch Central Grocery muffalettas shall never touch mine.

      1. They ain't been the same since they "re-did"the place back in the '90's..and the muff has a quarter-inch of meat instead of the full inch it USED to have. Go to Nor Joes.

        3 Replies
        1. re: hazelhurst

          Thanks for the rec. I'll run it down.

          1. re: TigerAtty

            Bought a muff. at Norjoe's, took a bite and trashed it. Funky olive salad, subpar meat. Bread was overly thick, dry and stale tasting. I've not had a problem with Central's.

        2. I often wonder how I would react if I was treated rudely at that counter- but I have to say that if you ever stood to the side and watched what went on in that place on a Fri or Sat you'd understand why the short temper.

          I've seen customer after customer flip out, ask the most ridiculous questions, cut in line and piss off 20 people, request vegetarian muffs, knock over displays and (my favorite) get up to the counter and forget what they wanted.

          Let's face it- after hours of that mess you'd sound like the soup nazi, too- I know I would.

          That being said, I like Napoleon house better anyway! Central grocery is just too skimpy and salty for me.

          7 Replies
          1. re: chef4hire

            I think in this case, whatever the reasons for the rudeness, it's not going away. No, they are not warm and friendly. But hot damn, they make a good muffaletta, the best IMO. In a cost/benefit analysis, the transcendent muffaletta is worth the brusque service at the counter.

            But if I may analyze this a little further: how is one's interaction ever anything more complicated than "I want X muffalettas and (maybe) X drinks"? Pay the man, get your food, leave. It's counter service at an extremely busy store that sells essentially one thing, the only thing it really needs to be is efficient. I for one will gladly forgo the pleasantries that add 30 seconds to every transaction if there are 20 people in front of me in line.

            But then again, I live in New York, land of the brusque. (And yes, tourists get the brunt of the ire here, too.) Maybe I've just been away from home too long.

            1. re: HalfShell

              I'm always surprised at how rude some people can be. It would be a much nicer world if everyone were just polite! But, the idea of a vegetarian muff makes me giggle. There are always those that need evey ingredient itemized (OK, if you have allergies, I'll give you a pass on that one).
              Tourists can get really tired and cranky and can take it out on everyone and anyone (who hasn't had a big fight with a spouse on vacation at least once?).
              Having said that, I LOVE/CRAVE the warm muff at the Napoleon House. That and a Pimm's Cup and I'm in heaven!

            2. re: chef4hire

              I've always LOVED the Napoleon House muff because of the simple fact that it is heated. I know, I know, some purists are adament that a muff should NOT be heated, but I like mine that way. Haven't been to NO since a long time before Katrina. Is the Napoleon House still there? I've also ordered muffs from Progressive Grocery online and they are wonderful (albeit a tad pricey online) too. Are they still in business on the street? Their olive salad is awesome and can be purchased at

              1. re: Missi

                Napoleon House is our favorite place for muffalettas as well. It is still there, but hours/menu are limited. (

                1. re: philmaur

                  Just returned from a short NOLA trip. Popped into Napoleon House to try their muffaletta. had a 1/4 sandwich with a side spinach salad. (wanted to pace myself for other meals and not overdo it. : ) ) both sand and salad were delicious. the sandwich heated up didn't bother me, but wasn't necessary either, IMO. i hit central grocery last year, and remember that they weren't the friendliest of folks. but i also remember happily devouring their sandwich. i wanted a sit down experience this time, so Nap House was perfect. I'd been a few years ago for a Pimm's Cup.

              2. re: chef4hire

                I LOVE The Napoleon House, one of the World's Great Bars, and I'm never in New Orleans without making a least 2 stops for Pimms and other libations. As for the comparison of Muffuletta between
                Central Grocery, in my book, there really is none, The Central Grocery Muffuletta blows it away, it's superior and to me, the only Muffuletta to eat. Yes I love Napolean House and often eat there, some food to go along with the drinks, at reasonable prices and with an atomosphere that just can't be beat. But the taste of the Muffuletta at Napoleon House is so far behind Central Grocery's, it isn't even funny. "No comparison!" You're better off getting some Gumbo or Jambaylaya at Napoleon House.
                As for the Personality and Demeanor of the owners of Central Grocery, it's appalling! From the first time I ever stepped into the Central Grocery back in 1994 and every time since I've been amazed at the awful disposition of the owner ( I believe his name is Sal), he's an absolute "No Good SOB" to put it mildly. The guy is an out and out prick. I've said it over and over again, and I always will as long as the guy continues to be such an Ass. Thousands will agree.
                But they do have amazing sandwiches, The Muffuletta at Central Grocery is one of the World's Great Sandwiches but no thanks to that no good SOB, it was his in-laws who set the business up over 100 Years ago, and this No Good S.O.B. benefits on it everyday. The place is a "GOLD MINE" that he doesn't deserve

                DBZ in NYC

                Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
                500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                1. re: chef4hire

                  Yes, I like Nap House's muffs but they can be rude there too!

                2. Reading the title of your entry is like reading, "The sky is blue." They've tended to be like that for decades, thought not always. I think I'd have to worry if they were to be sweet one day. Just a little thing we gotta ignore to get what we really want - the all- around best muff in town, IMO.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Hungry4Good

                    Gosh, my sister and I were tourists there at Central Grocery, our first visit to New Orleans (this was about 10 years ago), and everything was fine - I don't remember any attitudes by the staff or anything like that. But yes, they were busy, we just took it all as a matter of course. It's a popular place - what do you expect???
                    (The muffs were fantastic, by the way.)