By JP Chartier
The history and the ingredients of the Cuban Sandwich is a much debated topic. There are some who say the Cuban Sandwich originated in Cuba and was served to the workers in cigar factories and sugar mills sometime in the mid-1800s, then they found their way to Key West in the 1860s by those same workers that migrated to America. And finally in the 1880s the Cuban Sandwich made it to the Tampa area, Ybor City to be exact.
There are others who say that the Cuban Sandwich originated in Ybor City in the 1880s as a quick and easy way to feed the cigar workers. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, the ”mixto” as it was called in Cuba, was a primitive version of the modern day Cubano, or Cuban Sandwich, and was served in the mid-1800s throughout Cuba. As it made its way north to America, we Americans changed and varied the ingredients of the basic “mixto” sandwich to the modern day pressed and heated Cuban Sandwich version of today.
Here in Tampa, Florida we take pride in our version of the sandwich – lightly buttered Cuban bread, mustard, generous amounts of glazed ham, mojo smoked pork, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, thinly sliced dill pickles pressed and heated. I personally like to add mayo, lettuce and tomatoes to my sandwich, something that is frowned on by the purists.
If you find yourself in the Tampa Bay area, a stop at Brocato’s Sandwich Shop is a MUST! I’ve made it my personal mission over the years to find the best of the best Cuban Sandwich – and I’ve found it!
Brocato’s has the best damn Cuban Sandwich I’ve ever sunk my teeth into period!
I had the large Cuban Sandwich which weighed in at a whopping 1.5 lbs and was at least a foot long! It also came with a bag of chips and a large fountain drink – all for $10. After sinking my teeth into the sandwich for the first time, I realized at that moment that I was in the presence of greatness. The flavor of the slow cooked mojo pork meshed perfectly with all the other ingredients of the sandwich.
Brocato’s doesn’t press their Cubans though, they simply put them in a toaster oven to heat them to perfection. I personally love it when the sandwich is pressed when heated but I must say that the way they do it tasted excellent.
Brocato’s Sandwich Shop
5021 East Columbus Dr.
Tampa, Florida 33619
Hours of Operation
Monday – Friday ……. 7:30 – 5:30
Saturday ……………. 7:30 – 4:00
Sunday …………………………. Closed
Check out their menu, they have many, many other excellent food choices
If you think you’ve found the perfect Cuban Sandwich, and it isn’t Brocato’s please leave a comment below and let me know so I can give it a try.
Hi my name is JP Chartier and I write for Gutter Pup Adventures.com where you can expect to read well-written and entertaining articles about the people and places that often get overlooked at many popular vacation destinations around the world. You will also find articles on camping, hiking, kayaking and several other popular vacation activities here too.
My goal is to seek out the hidden ‘gems’ for you and bring them alive through my writing and photographs, so your next trip or vacation will be a much more rewarding and fulfilling experience.