Fertitta’s Deli Is the Only Place Around to Buy a Muffy
What’s a Muffy? You can find out at Fertitta’s Deli in Shreveport, Louisiana. It’s the only building left standing for blocks around. Once there were 31 other small simple houses, but they’re all gone. Inside this wood-framed building is a local institution, so beloved that a street was named after one of the founders of this iconic sandwich joint. Why Muffy?
For the answer I turned to Agatha Fertitta McCall, who shared her little sandwiches and her fascinating life story with us during our food tour of Shreveport this week. She explained that her grandfather opened the store as an Italian grocery store back in 1927. As Agatha and husband Bob do today, the proprietors lived above the store and when her dad went to New Orleans and got Muffaletta bread, he thought locals might want to buy some to take home.
Then they made a sandwich with chopped vegetables and olives, slathered on some yellow mustard, and added salami, ham and cheese. It was a Shreveport Muffaletta, just like you find all over New Orleans. But when they called a sign maker to emblazen the side of the deli with that long name, they found it was cheaper just to shorten it to Muffy. And a tradition was born. Agatha didn’t realize she’d become the store’s proprietor until she heard about her father’s retirement, and she returned to the city from New England to take over. Thirty-five years and two grown children later, she’s still making Muffy’s.
With a wooden floor, checked tablecloths and the old rotary phone still ringing in to-go orders, Fertitti’s has become a beloved Shreveport institution. Today’s Muffy comes in two sizes–the ‘feeds four’ dinner plate version at $16, or the smaller $5.50 version. Simple and delicious, Muffy’s are almost as much fun to eat as the story behind them.