TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – One of the most recognizable delicacies in the Tampa Bay area is the Cuban sandwich, though it’s hotly debated whether the sandwich was created in Tampa or Miami.
According to the Columbia Restaurant’s menu, “the “Mixto,” as it was known in the beginning, was created in the 1890s for cigar workers as they walked to and from their jobs The sandwich underwent changes as immigrants from different countries came to Ybor City.”
No matter the origins of the sandwich in Florida or the United States, you can get a delicious blend of ham, salami, roast pork, cheese, pickles and mustard right here in Tampa.
8 On Your Side compiled a list of eight sandwich shops and restaurants where you can grab a mean Cuban sandwich. This is not a complete list of locations for Tampa’s staple sandwich, so if you know of any great places to score a good bite, let us know by emailing email@example.com!
1. Columbia Restaurant
A major restaurant here in Tampa and beyond further into the Tampa Bay area, the Columbia is Florida’s oldest restaurant, founded in 1905 by Casimiro Hernandez, Sr., of Cuba.
The original restaurant can be found in Ybor City, but other locations for a Cuban sandwich, as well as its famous 1905 salad, can be found in Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater and Orlando, as well as the Tampa Bay History Center and the Tampa airport.
2. West Tampa Sandwich Shop
Another staple here in Tampa, you can grab a Cuban sandwich here with the usual fixings, as well as mayonnaise, or lettuce and tomatoes for an additional 95 cents. The sandwiches also come in a small and large version, depending on how hungry you are.
In a location original, the West Tampa Sandwich Shop offers a honey Cuban “Obama Sandwich,” which is a traditional Cuban sandwich with honey. “Try it the way President Obama did by adding lettuce and tomatoes for an additional 70 cents,” the shop’s website says.
“La Teresita now serves thousands weekly and has been honored to host and serve Presidents of the United States, governors, senators, mayors, city workers, and peoples and cultures from all walks of life,” the restaurant ends its story of history on its website.
The Cuban sandwiches also come in small and large sizes, for $6.95 for a large.
4. La Segunda
La Segunda Bakery provides many of Tampa’s restaurants and sandwich shops with Cuban bread for their own Cuban sandwich creations.
In their own location, La Segunda not only offers a traditional Cuban sandwich, but Cuban toast with butter, cheese, cream cheese, peanut butter or guava.
For the traditional sandwich, the La Segunda menu online boosts a “special sauce” in addition to the bakery’s Cuban bread, mojo marinated pork, ham and salami.
5. The Floridian
These award-winning Cuban sandwiches are available at the location on Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa, and their bites have even been inducted into the “Cuban Sandwich Hall of Fame.”
The Floridian also features a breakfast Cuban sandwich, which is topped with fried egg and served Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. Traditional sandwiches come by 7 inches or 10 inches.
6. Hemingway’s Cuban Kitchen
This take on the Cuban sandwich can be found at Armature Works. Also featuring La Segunda Bakery’s famous Cuban bread, this sandwich is also topped with house-made special sauce. Those visiting Armature Works can grab one for $12.
7. Bodega Seminole Heights
Bodega Seminole Heights offers its Cuban sandwiches for $9. The location on North Florida Avenue also features a juice bar that sells smoothies, refreshers, “shots” of ginger, turmeric and “immunity shots.”
Bodega also has another location in St. Petersburg.
8. Las Palmas Latin Grill
The Cuban sandwich at Las Palmas was featured at the 2017, 2019 and 2020 Cuban Sandwich Festival in Ybor City. The location features a “full Tampa Cuban” and “full Miami Cuban” on the menu, though the full Tampa version of the sandwich is slightly more expensive at $12.59, with the full Miami version costing $11.15. Both sandwiches come in half sizes, as well.
More events continue to get back underway in the Tampa Bay area as more Floridians and those traveling here receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and the annual International Cuban Sandwich Festival in Ybor City is one. According to the event’s website, the 10th annual festival will take place on Sept. 5 at Centro Asturiano in Ybor City. The event itself is free to the public, outside of purchasing food and beverages, but VIP tickets are already available.