Muffuletta Fest in Old Metairie celebrates a sandwich, marks a second act for a classic Italian grocery

By Ian McNulty for The Advocate.

Start stacking the salami and ladle up some olive salad, there's a new party in the works for the mighty muffuletta.

Nor-Joe Imports, the Italian grocery in Old Metairie, is planning the inaugural Muffuletta Festival for Sept. 10. The Sunday afternoon event will bring food booths and bars, a bocce ball court, a muffuletta-themed dance troupe and live music (see details below).

News of another New Orleans food festival may make some eyes roll like well-oiled olives, but this event is taking shape a bit differently from the fests that now fill the local calendar. 

In form and function, the Muffuletta Festival will be more like a block party, held between Nor-Joe’s brick façade and the adjacent rail line on Frisco Avenue. And while organizers say the aim is to celebrate the city’s famous Italian sandwich, the event also marks a new chapter for Nor-Joe itself, which very nearly closed last year.

“It’s not just about this place, it’s about the essence of the old time Italian grocery store, that's what I want to showcase,” said Mark Subervielle, who took over Nor-Joe in 2016. “You hear a lot about new restaurants in town, but sometimes I think the old school food businesses get overshadowed. This is a chance for more of our neighborhood businesses to shine.”