My first “muffuletta” was at the old Fantasia classical music bar on Madison. Not the “Fantasia” that was in the old Idlewild Theatre, but the one that was torn down to build the old Zinnie’s II.
Years ago I was delighted to find muffulettas at Yang’s Deli. The restaurant’s extensive menu includes traditional Chinese fare, including Moo Goo Gai Pan, General Tso’s Chicken, and Egg Foo Young. But it also lists muffuletta, which they describe as a“New Orleans Special.”
Over the years, I’ve stopped at Yang’s for a muffuletta during my jaunts up and down Summer Avenue visiting antique malls. Their muffuletta is the only thing I’ve ever eaten at the restaurant.
The sandwich is made with onion, tomato, lettuce, cheese, olive oil, ham, salami, and olives. It’s served on a lightly-toasted white bun with sesame seeds on top.
And you should just get a half unless you’re sharing it with someone, says Ying Xiao, who was behind the counter.
They’ve been serving muffulettas since 1983, she says. In fact, they were serving sandwiches, including Philly Cheese Steak, before they started selling Chinese food, Xiao says.
Her uncle, Chung Yang, put the muffuletta on the menu, Xiao says. “Lots of people like it,” she says.
I’m one of them. That tasty bread mixed with the olives and everything else just gets me.
I used to eat whole muffulettas in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s at Fantasia. And I know I finished off a half of one each time I visited Yang’s. This time, however, I could just eat one fourth of the sandwich. But I ate it not too long after I ate lunch. I need to go back to Yang’s tomorrow and give it another try. And the next day.
Yang's Deli is at 4985 Summer Avenue; (901) 682-5309