Home of the “Muffy”
Continuing a family tradition may seem like a idea whose time is long past, but not at Fertitta’s Delicatessen in Shreveport, Louisiana. For 50 years, this mom and pop Italian deli has been serving up the “muffy,” founder Sam Fertitta’s delicious take on the famous Italian Muffelletta sub sandwich (made famous in New Orleans).
Papa Fertitta, as he’s known, developed his own olive mix that goes on the muffy. A mixture of green and black olives, sweet peppers, picked antipasto mix, vinegar and other secret ingredients, it’s become a staple for Sherveport residents.
Unlike the standard Muffelletta sandwhiches, the muffy is made with a thinner version of the round Muffelletta bread (they cut out the center and make Muffelletta pizza and garlic bread out of it).
Instead of Italian cold cuts, they use American cold cuts and cheeses, mustard in place of olive oil, and generous amount of their house olive mix all toasted and toast it until it’s crispy and melty. The result is downright heavenly — rich, crispy, with a distinctive and addictive tang from the olive mix. In addition to the original muffy, they also sell several sub sandwiches (veggie, turkey, roast beef, and meatball) and Muffelletta bread pizza (what they call Pronto Pizza. We found this pizza tasty though less successful than their wonderful sandwiches because the pizza crust isn’t crisp). Pair it all with their surprisingly refreshing sweet mint tea and you’ve got an incredibly satisfying lunch.
The Fertitta story is almost as wonderful as their sandwiches and olive spread. The deli is nestled on a corner in a brick building in Shreveport’s historic (though now a bit down-at-the-heels) Blue Goose neighborhood. This building is where Sam Fertitta, a second generation Sicilian, operated his deli and grocery story and raised his family in the apartment above the store. It’s also where Sam’s only daughter, Agatha Fertitta McCall now lives and continues her father’s tradition.
“I’ve been making the olive salad and the muffy here in the same place where it was invented for the past 30 years,” says Agatha with pride. When his other children showed no interest in the business, Papa Fertitta offered it to Agatha. She was thrilled to carry on the family legacy. “I may have not gone far, but it’s been fun,” she says with her characteristic broad smile.
Twice a month, Agatha and her husband make 250 gallons of their famous olive mix, which they sell on sandwiches, in to-go containers, and online (see Favorite Food Finds). They say the olive mix can be used not only on sandwiches, but also in deviled eggs, chicken or tuna salads, omelets, or as a topping for hot dogs or hamburgers.
If you’re in the Shreveport area, Fertitta’s Deli is an authentic, regional food favorite that’s definitely worth a stop.
1124 Fairfield Avenue
Shreveport, Louisiana 71101