California Muffaletta: King of Sandwiches

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Lisa Hemenway's Muffaletta at Fresh

Lisa Hemenway's Muffaletta at Fresh

Lisa Hemenway has decoded the Muffaletta.

The signature street food of New Orleans and a treasured Southern tradition, the Muffaletta is the undisputed King of all subs. Take a loaf of bread, stuff it with a pound of cold cuts (salami, ham, etc), pile on another half pound of cheese and slather it with olive spread and you’ve got a whole lotta, well, lotta.

Personally I’ve never understood why people go so gaga for what usually amounts to a choke-inducing amount of meat stuffed between a carb-coma. With olives. But they do.

This version is different. And maybe it’s the hint of California that makes it so tasty. At Fresh, Hemenway takes a loaf of Ciabbata (already better), adds layers of Sopressata, salami, clove-smoked ham and smoked turkey, then adds a few slices of provolone and smoked mozzarella with artichoke heart spread (yes, sacrilege but it tastes good) and moist olive tapenade.

You’ll be hard pressed to find a better, more moist version of this super sammie anywhere. And we’ve consulted a number of NOLA expats. Hemenway serves it daily for lunch, grilled in her wood-fired oven. More than enough for two. Possibly a whole family, $12.95.

Fresh By Lisa Hemenway: 755 Mountain Hawk Way, Santa Rosa, 595-1048

Author: biteclub

Food Dining and Restaurants in Sonoma County and beyond, is Wine Country dining with Drive-Thru Sensibility.

Share This Post On


  1. Had the sandwich, and I have to say, it tastes better than it looks, and I thought it looked damn good! Still not convinced it’s worth $13. Add a drink and you’re on the other side of $15, for a sandwich.

    I’m still waiting for someone to figure out that there are literally hundreds of blue-collar winery workers in the area that would absultely flood a decent deli that put out great sandwiches for under $10. There was a place like that in Rutherford about 10 years ago before it was forced to move, and they had a line out the door every single day.

    I’ll get the sandwich again, but it’s going to be a special occasion lunch, rather than something I’d look forward to once a week or so.

  2. Sorry, but there’s just no such thing as a muffaletta that’s “better” because it’s vegetarian. It’s a freakin’ meat sandwich, honey, not a salad. That;’s like saying a steakhouse is better because it’s vegetarian.

  3. I’m really not a fan of Fresh, as every time that I’ve gone in there I’ve been really disappointed in what they have to offer. An afterthought market with an expensive restaurant inside? I don’t care how big it is, $12.95 for a sandwich? Seriously? I’m really not sure how it has managed to stay in business this long.

    That being said, I’m a HUGE muffaletta fan, and your photo alone makes me rethink a visit for some take-out. I’ll spring for the $12.95 and see if it does your drool-worthy photo any justice!

    Love the blog Heather!

  4. Heh. Just order more wine. Higher profit margins anyway.

  5. Okay, unfair. You have to at least explain how to do that. I love those TJ’s eggplant slices.

  6. When I saw that it was wood-fired, I was skeptical since that isn’t traditional for a NOLA muffaletta. BUT! Then I watched the video- good lord that looks like the sandwich to end all sandwiches. Yum!

  7. There’s a coffee place on the main drag in Lakeport that makes an eggplant muffaletta and what’s better is that it’s vegetarian – AWESOME. It also has artichokes with the olive tapenade. The best thing – I re-created it at home using Trader Joe’s breaded eggplant slices – OK i cheated – but it’s darn good. Company loved it! Sorry can’t remember the name of the place, but it’s easy to find on the side of the street across from the lake and sort of mid-town

  8. If I was Lisa I would have been LOVING this review until you said “More than enough for two.” Dang! Sales are cut in half. Oh, well, I’ll have to try it. It’s been a while since we’ve been in, maybe due to the $12.95 sandwiches, but if one of those will feed two, maybe it’s time to go back.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>