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Home of the Muffie

by Kathleen Walls

Fertitta's

Some restaurants are so all fired genuine you feel like you stepped into a time warp when you walk in. Fertitta's Delicatessen in Shreveport, Louisiana is one of those places. Located in what was once called the Blue Goose District, a mix of honky-tonks and shotgun houses. It is the home of  the ?Muffie.? In case you have never heard of a Muffie, it is a close cousin to the famous New Orleans muffaletta a huge structure composed of a loaf of round bread, countless meats and topped with a Greek salad. Fertitta's differs in that the bread is flatter and the Greek salad in is Papa Fertitta's special  Olive Mix, the recipe of which is a closely guarded family secret.

A happy crowd await a Muffie

Agatha Fertitta McCall, Papa Fertitta's daughter, carries on the family traditions: like continuing to make the world famous Muffie and continuing to live above the deli as her parents did. How the Muffie came to be is an interesting story.

In 1927 the building was original a mom and pop grocery store run by Agathe's grandparents. In 1949, her parents took over the running of the store. In 1960 they converted from a grocery to more of a deli.

 

The world famous Muffie

Papa , the inventor of the Muffie, was Sam R. Fertitta. At that time, the deli sold muffaletta bread. As Agatha tells it, "one day in December of 1960 he was in the store and he had made himself a sandwich from the muffaletta bread, lots of cold cuts and his Olive Mix. He let a customer have a taste of the sandwich. The customer was attending a big Christmas party that weekend and the following Monday, many of the people at the party came to the store and demanded 'one of those sandwiches.'"

Agatha's mother was minding the store that day and had no idea what they were talking about.They insisted "Mr. Feritta mades them." But you can't keep a good sandwich down and before long the muffie's fame had spread.

Agatha Fertitta with a slice of Muffie

Eventually they trademarked the name but could not afford all the neon it took to read "Fertitti's Home of the M uffaletta " so they shortened the name to "The Muffie."

The building itself deserves respect as it was built in 1927 and has never been out of the hands of the original family. It is one of only a few restaurants in the state of Louisiana on the National Register of Historic Places.

Besides, it tastes darn good. As does the pizza. And the other sandwiches; the Gladiator, a turkey version of the Muffie; Centurion, with Cajun roast beef; the Gondolier, a meatball version; several salads and I suspect everything that comes out of Agatha Fertitta's kitchen. The decor is authentic as well filled with family mementoes, early signs and photographs of Papa.

 

For more info and good recipes:

http://www.papafertitta.com/index.html

Provided by American Roads Travel Magazine - Visit American Roads Travel Magazine website.

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