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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 www.neworleansgrocer.com

              1. re: Missi

                Napoleon House is our favorite place for muffalettas as well. It is still there, but hours/menu are limited. (http://www.napoleonhouse.com/)

                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.)

                  2. Who said.. If you have a reputation of being an early riser....then you can sleep till noon? They have always been rude with an attitude. They even used to make a decent muff...but with so many better ones to choose from, why waste the time and resources?

                    1. i don't think nor joes or frank and johnnys are as good as central. i like serios or a frenchaletta from liuzzas for a hot muff

                      1. I've never been able to understand why it takes so long to get a muffaletta when they're premade and stacked high on the back counters. We once waited in line for about a half hour with maybe 6-8 people in front of us in line, so it wasn't even a busy day. When I arrived at the counter, they just turned around, grabbed a ready-made sandwich, and I was on my way. It's as if they purposely move slow to make the line go out the door.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: pitterpat7

                          Sandwiches all over Europe are premade in the morning for selling during the day and are delicious. Additionally, many greatly benefit from sitting tightly wrapped in the refrigerator overnight with a weight on them.

                        2. We gave up on Central years ago. Sandwiches made earlier sit in stacks and get soggy and stale. The amount of ingredients has diminished significantly. I'll agree with those who have suggested Nor-Joe Imports. Each order is freshly made and they will warm it for you if you wish. Generous servings of quality meat, cheese and olive salad. No parking problem, park right in front and don't worry about tow trucks or meter maids. One suggestion, call in your order beforehand and ask how long you should wait 'til you can pick up. (504) 833-9240

                          1. World Deli on Clearview and West Esplanade has a very good muffaletta, IMO. I like it heated but have it your way.

                            1 Reply
                            1. or you could always venture forth to Baton Rouge for a muff that puts Central Grocery to shame at Anthony's Italian Deli on Florida Blvd. Oh yum.

                              1. R&O has a good one...get it toasted!

                                1. Go to Central Grocery for the food not to make friends.

                                  1. I wouln't call them rude, just indfferent. It's their trademark so you just ignore it. IMO they make the best.

                                    1. I can handle rude because its full of tourists, but I just ran over there because it had been awhile and there was so much oil on the sandwich that I couldnt finish it---it was making me nauscious(sp). And it was only the half and Im usually a big eater. It will be a VERY long time before I try em again.

                                      1. The Come Back Inn in Metairie has great Muff's but if you want to buy great olive salad stay in Metairie and go to Zuppardo's supermarket on Vets and Transcontinental. Thayer have Occhupinti's olive salad at about $20 for a gallon. You can't get any better.
                                        Ps:I prefer hot muffs anyway . Central's are cold and rubbery!

                                        Come Back Inn
                                        8016 W Metairie Ave, Metairie, LA 70003

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Cheli

                                          Different strokes for different folks . . . I've never found CG's muffs to be "cold and rubbery," now have I found them all that rude, either . . . .

                                          1. re: Cheli

                                            I like the rec. for Come Back Inn. They are seldom seen on this board, but have some great food in a very casual, neighborhood setting. Too few know about it.



                                            Come Back Inn
                                            8016 W Metairie Ave, Metairie, LA 70003

                                          2. Ooh boy. Don't ever go to Pat's in Philly for a cheesesteak if you think CG is rude. At least at CG they let you order when you don't know what you want.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: gastrotect

                                              Ah, a "cheesesteak Nazi?"

                                              Not sure why that sort of attitude is so appealing to the masses, but it does seem to be.


                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                I think it developed because it fits with the Philly reputation. And they have so many orders at peak hours that dawdling at the order window really does slow everything down.

                                                1. re: gastrotect

                                                  That could well be. Going back many decades, the waitstaff at the Morning Call and Cafe du Monde were also horribly rude. That was right across the street. Maybe there was a segment of the clientele, who expected that? Still, in my many, many years in NOLA, I felt that the regular waitstaff was attuned to the clients, but could well have missed something.


                                            2. I still love their Muffs and the rudeness is more in contrast to the gentility of the South than anything else. Let's just say they seem rather polite at CG in comparison to Katz's in Manhattan. I can also heartily recommend Nor Joe's, but for those without a car, it's an effort to get there from the FQ, DT or CBD.

                                              1. I have to ask: "Why did you send your parents there?" CG has been like that forever.

                                                1. heck, i know the owners and they are still rude to me.

                                                  1. i DO recommend checking out Stein's Deli. they have fantastic sandwiches and a KILLER beer selection.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: deepsouth

                                                      Stopped going to Central decades ago. Was ordering Prosciutto and asked if it was Parma : received dirty look, asked to have it sliced thin yet another dirty look. I've givin up on their Muffaletta's a long time ago. An informed source told me they dont use pure olive oil anymore. Forgot what they were using,

                                                      69305 Highway 21, Covington, LA 70433

                                                    2. Hey.. have to tell ya that the Best Muff ive had is at Cooter Browns 509 S. Carrollton Ave.
                                                      New Orleans, LA
                                                      phone: 504-866-9104

                                                      If you have never been.. its a pretty big Tulane Hangout.. and the Service is great,.. beer selection is amazing.. Check it out..

                                                      1. TigerAtty, there is No other Option. Believe me. Yes they are No-Good Dam Bastards, I discovered this FACT the First time I went there in 1995. They have reconfirmed what MISERABLE No-GOOD BASTARDS They ARE the 20 times of been there ever since, but they also Confirmed that they are The No-Good Bastards who make Thee BEST DAM MUFFULETTA in The WORLD "Bar None."
                                                        You just gotta "Bite The BULLET" Give the SOBs your MONEY, get your MUFFULETTA and it's all Worth it!!!!!! Best MUFFULETTA in NEW ORLEANS, which means The BEST DAN MUFFULETTA in The World !!! Nuff said !

                                                        photo by DBZ

                                                        at NY-Foodie http://ny-foodie.com/