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"Rules" at Central Grocery

sibeats Nov 7, 2008 02:24 AM

I was reading another thread on a different board about restaurants with rules, and Bill Hunt referred to the unwritten rules at Central Grocery when ordering a muffaleta. He said that if you don't know the rules you will be bumped out of the line without a sandwich!
We are planning our first trip to NO next month and are quite looking forward to a muffaleta from Central Grocery. If anyone could fill us in on the rules, we'd greatly appreciate it!!

  1. t
    The Bird Nov 7, 2008 03:03 AM

    Well Bill Hunt, what did you say?

    1. z
      zin1953 Nov 7, 2008 07:01 AM

      So Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi" moved to NOLA post-K???

      If there are "rules," no one ever told us, and the only times we've ever left without a sandwich is when a) they ran out, and b) they were closed.

      9 Replies
      1. re: zin1953
        sibeats Nov 7, 2008 07:24 AM

        Thanks for the response. Like I said, I read it on another thread on the "not about food" board, and wanted to make sure we weren't denied the muffaleta that you are all endorsing so highly!

        1. re: sibeats
          speyerer Nov 7, 2008 09:09 AM

          I agree with zin1953. I am not aware of "rules" at Central Grocer .nor of the rude behavior described below.

          By the way this is Mr. Hunts claim
          "Central Grocery in New Orleans has ... "rules," though most are not written anywhere. When ordering your muffaletta sandwich, you're expected to just know them, or you will be forced out of line with no sandwich, and everyone in line will laugh at you and quickly close ranks."


          1. re: speyerer
            twangster Nov 7, 2008 11:00 AM

            Given that the menu options are fairly limited I'm guessing the rules refers to knowing what you want when it's your turn to order.

            1. re: speyerer
              Bill Hunt Nov 9, 2008 09:42 AM

              The "rules" that I was refering to are knowing that there are no substitutions and not asking for any - knowing exactly what you'll get and not having a discussion on options (the proprietors are not there to have a conversation, just serve the sandwiches) -knowing what beverage you want beforehand and not changing your mind - having your payment ready and not fumbling for the money. Keep the line moving and do not be surprised if the beverage you ask for is not "available," but then you see someone else, later, getting that same beverage.

              Not so hard-n-fast, as in the other thread, and much of it is just common sense, though if the line stops, because of you, things will likely get almost rude - not "soup Nazi rude," but the patrons are expected to have everything in order, before they get to the counter.

              Hope that this clarifies my statements better, If not, you can hit me with a cold muffaletta!


              1. re: Bill Hunt
                sibeats Nov 9, 2008 09:54 AM

                Bill, Thanks for the response, was hoping you'd see this and chime in. Just want to make sure we get that muffaleta!

                1. re: Bill Hunt
                  JerseyNOLA Nov 9, 2008 11:09 AM

                  The folks at the late Progress Grocery gladly put an extra spoonful or two of oil on my muff bread....

                  I hate to hand money to people who are sneering at me.

                  1. re: JerseyNOLA
                    Bob W Feb 24, 2009 06:33 AM

                    I miss Progress. Central makes a good muff, but Progress did it better.

            2. re: zin1953
              Honore Melmoth Nov 7, 2008 01:43 PM

              Anything Central Grocery does to turn off customers is no surprise to me. I've always known it as a place that should have a sign outside reading "Service With a Smirk."

              1. re: Honore Melmoth
                southerngal Nov 7, 2008 04:28 PM

                I don't recall ever having "service with a smile" at Central Grocery. But I hardly notice, because the muff is sooooo good. I have not been able to find a muff that hits the spot like the Central Grocery muffaletta.

            3. c
              Cameraman Nov 7, 2008 06:34 PM

              They could b%&ch slap me and I'd still go back for that sandwich. Wow!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Cameraman
                bob567 Mar 30, 2012 09:48 PM

                LOL. I couldn't have said it better than Camerman!

              2. c
                chef4hire Nov 7, 2008 07:47 PM

                it's not liket that at all- get in line, ask for your sandwich and pay the cashier- then enjoy

                1. b
                  Bride of the Juggler Nov 11, 2008 05:48 AM

                  I never had any trouble asking for a muffelatta with no meat, although they are always surprised. Thank you.

                  1. b
                    bg1811 Nov 11, 2008 12:49 PM

                    I'm not aware of any "rules" as others have posted. There are a couple of items that you need to know. As you enter the front door you'll be faced with going to the left or going to the right around a display of food items. You'll want to go to the left and to proceed to the end of the display and then make a right turn up to the counter to order. You should have already decided when you get to the counter if you want a whole or half muff. All the muffs are wrapped to go so you don't have to ask about that. You don't order soft drinks at the counter, they are in a drink machine in the back of the store. The owners are not very friendly, but, they sure do have good muffs.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bg1811
                      sibeats Nov 12, 2008 02:22 AM

                      Thanks, just the kind of info I was looking for. I hate walking into a place and being unsure of how to proceed!

                    2. a
                      ARABELLA4 Feb 23, 2009 12:42 PM

                      I am always treated great at Central Grocery, I've been going there since I was a little kid. They're always real busy, so they don't have time to chat, but, once you smell the wonderful aroma of this place, all you'll want to do is get your food and eat!

                      1. l
                        Lemonlips Feb 15, 2011 07:27 PM

                        I'm a tourist. I visit NOLA every 2-3 years. Each visit I go to the CG for the famous muffulatta. The CG muffulatta are without a doubt the best iin the City. I've never encountered a problem ordering, or paying, or eating at the skinny counter in the back. I LOVE this place and this year, since we are here via RV, I will be able to take home jars of olive salad. Tomorrow is our day to visit the Central Grocery and we can hardly wait, and lack of smiles or conversation is not a prerecquisite to a great sandwich. Enjoy.
                        Thanks Central Grocery for all you do.

                        Central Grocery Co
                        923 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116

                        1. e
                          expatorleanian Feb 16, 2011 05:05 AM

                          I live in New Orleans. I get my mufffalettas at Nor Joe. But I was strolling around the Quarter with a friend from out of town, and she wanted to go to Central Grocery for some things (other than a muffaletta). The man behind the counter was very helpful and patient answering her questions, after we waited in the line of course. There is only one line, whether you want muffalettas or just a pint of olive salad or a gallon of olive oil. I had read the comments here beforehand and was looking out for any rudeness while waiting in line, and truly didn't see any. However, when you walk in the door, don't walk straight up to the counter. Maybe it's different at different times, but when we were there, the line weaved through the grocery aisle to the left. I'd say best bet is to scope out the line when you walk in so you don't accidentally break into the front of the line. Then you can browse the grocery items while you wait.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: expatorleanian
                            LargeLife Feb 16, 2011 08:18 AM

                            I've been there dozens of times.....and have never seen any rudeness to anyone for any reason whatsoever.....It does help that you know what you want....when you get to the head of the line....so as not to slow down the process......And that would rude to the other guests in line.....right?....Right!!

                            All good at Central Grocery!!

                            Ft. Pierce, FL

                            (heading there again next Saturday!)

                          2. r
                            rouxdauphine Mar 30, 2012 10:06 PM

                            OK. I will simplify. Never mind the actually really good prices on Italian grocery items locals go in there to buy when the line is not out the door.

                            Imagine you sell one thing. You sell it every day you are open and have done so for years. It does not change. It is what you sell. You sell them in halves or wholes. You have a highly visible sign stating the price for a half or a whole. The sign says that the halves are cut in two and the wholes are cut in four. They are wrapped and ready to sell, having all been made that morning and while you are waiting in line. And, by the way, don't quibble that "ewwww, it's premade," the olive salad is slowly permeating the bread and making the sandwich better.

                            Does any of this stop a person in line -- sometimes with the line behind him or her stretching to and/or out the door from asking questions already addressed on the signs they've already seen in line? Does it make them considerate to those in line behind them?

                            I dare say, there are people I'd characterize as rude in Central Grocery, but I have to say from my point of view as a repeat customer time and again, they are not warm and fuzzy, but the rudeness is among those unprepared when they reach the front of a line, information in hand, in a deservedly busy venue.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: rouxdauphine
                              bob567 Mar 30, 2012 10:40 PM

                              Mike Hunt is welcome to his opinion. I'll be back there, over and over. Enough said.

                              1. re: bob567
                                Bill Hunt Apr 6, 2012 09:41 PM

                                Sorry, but Michael is my cousin. Thank you for allowing me, Bill Hunt, to have my opinion. That is greatly appreciated, though honestly, I really do not need for you to allow that - I do just fine, by myself.


                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                  bob567 Apr 7, 2012 03:37 AM

                                  I was addrressing Mike, not Bill. thank you.

                              2. re: rouxdauphine
                                GDPhalp Apr 2, 2012 10:18 AM

                                Couldn't agree more - I have seen rudeness on occassion, but frankly it was warranted & I dare say I would have difficulty abstaining from a comment or two, were I in their place.

                                1. re: GDPhalp
                                  JazzyB Apr 3, 2012 04:17 AM

                                  My preference for muffs is CG. Been going forever and have yet to encounter rudeness. As for Nor-Joe's, I pass, even for free. Different strokes.

                                  1. re: JazzyB
                                    mcegielski Apr 5, 2012 09:18 PM

                                    i miss Progress because they would create some different things that weren't really a Muff but were to my tastes. Turkey, Ham, Salami, the cheeses and the olive salad. LOVED IT.

                                    1. re: mcegielski
                                      Bill Hunt Apr 6, 2012 09:41 PM

                                      Progress was great, and so was the old Frank's Deli. I miss them both.


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