Baton Rouge’s Italian groceries, delis and cafes have a well-established record of producing excellent muffalettas—that round, piled-high-and-pressed Italian sandwich born in New Orleans in the early 20th century. But why stop there? Local Italian delis serve all sorts of other Old World-inspired sandwiches that are well worth working into your rotation. Here are a few to try.
THE PORCHETTA PETE (pictured above)
Open in Mid City since May 2019, Cannatella’s is a fourth-generation Italian grocery-deli that began in the St. Landry Parish town of Melville. The new Baton Rouge location offers take-home lasagna, stuffed chickens and other meals, fresh boudin and Italian groceries. The tidy sandwich menu features a notable roast beef po-boy as well as the must-try Porchetta Pete. It’s made with bite-sized chunks of tender roast pork cooked with herbs and garlic and layered on ciabatta bread with mayo, fresh spinach, mozzarella, provolone and grated Parmesan and Romano. Pressed until toothsome and gooey, it’s reminiscent of the Philly classic, roast pork with broccoli rabe and provolone. 3869 Government St.; cannatellagrocery.com
THE ITALIAN LOVER
Anthony’s Italian Deli
Who doesn’t want an Italian lover for lunch? This sandwich boasts a laundry list of sliced Italian meats, each bringing its own signature flavor to the party. Between po-boy bread goes capicola, Genoa salami, ham and mortadella, along with provolone, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, marinated onions and Anthony’s signature sandwich dressing. This combination is also available on round sesame bread, but then it’s named the Italian Deli Special. 5575 Government St.; bestmuffoletta.com
Randazzo’s Italian Market
Selling fresh pasta, Italian wines, deli meats and cheeses and a big menu of specialties and sandwiches, Randazzo’s is an Italian food lover’s paradise. The Michelangelo sandwich takes ham and cheese to a glorious new level. Italian rosemary ham and mozzarella are stacked between ciabatta bread along with crunchy romaine and fresh tomato slices, and then pressed. The Papa Carl is a variation on this theme using the Italian smoked ham, speck, mozzarella and roasted red peppers. 240 Capitol St., Denham Springs; randazzositalianmarket.com
OTHERS TO TRY
• Pocorello’s Casa d’Italia’s eggplant po-boy with meatballs; pocorellos.net
• Monjunis’ Italian sausage po-boy with peppers and provolone; monjunis.com
• DiGiulio Brothers’ chicken parmigiana po-boy; digiuliobros.com
This article was originally published in the July 2020 issue of 225 Magazine.