By the early 1900s New Orleans had a sizeable Italian population, specifically from Sicily. That population was augmented by the Sicilian farmers who lived outside the city, who traveled each day to the market to sell their produce. Because of the lack of refrigeration, marketing was conducted early, while all of the products were still fresh. Afterward many vendors who had arisen before the sun to prepare their wares were hungry.

Those who were Sicilian often frequented the shops along Decatur who specialized in Italian products, including olive oil, figs, lemons and imported, cured meats. One of these groceries where they gathered was Central Grocery, located on Decatur near the French Market and the Mississippi River. The farmers would purchase meats, cheese, bread and olives and eat them as an antipasto. But owner Salvatore Lupo decided to put them all together and created the sandwich now known as the muffuletta. The sandwich is made by splitting a round loaf of crusty Italian bread, with a texture similar to foccaccia, and filling it with layers of sliced Capicola ham, mortadella, Genoa salami and Provolone cheese. It is topped with an olive salad, which is a chopped mixture which can include green and black olives, pimientos, celery, cauliflower, carrot, garlic, cocktail onions, capers, oregano, parsley, olive oil, red-wine vinegar or lemon juice, salt and pepper.