The Cuban takes a turn in the spotlight
The Cuban sandwich, born right here in Ybor City as a delicious and easy lunch for cigar factory workers, is having a moment.
What's happening: The core makings of a mixto — ham, salami, Swiss, pickles and mustard — are popping up on menus across the country as chefs get more creative with our signature sandwich.
- Atlanta-based Mellow Mushroom offers the Wild in Havana pizza: jerk pork, ham, salami, Swiss and mozzarella, chunky pickles and a mayo/mustard sauce.
- Nashville chain Party Fowl sells a Hot Chicken Cuban: Nashville hot fried chicken with Swiss, pickles, mustard, and (oddly) chimichurri on a baguette.
- There's a Cubano taco in Texas, a Bar B Cuban in Cincinnati, Cuban Spring Rolls at Disney, and more "deconstructed Cubans" than you can shake a stick at.
🥖 Why it matters: If Tampa Bay has a flavor profile, it's the Cuban sandwich, and it's riding a wave of popularity.
Flashback: Traces of the sandwich stretch all the way back to the Taíno tribe in Cuba, who stuffed fish and bird inside two thin slices of casabe bread. It's been in a state of transformation since.
- The Cuban as we know it rose with the cigar industry after several immigrant communities added their own ingredients — Italians added salami, for instance, while the Spaniards brought the pork.
What's new: Local chefs have been toying with the Cuban for years, and we've noted a few creative dishes:
- The Independent served loaded Cuban fries at the Gasparilla Music Festival that were a knockout.
- People are raving about the Cuban sandwich sticks on the bar menu at the new Flor Fina at Ybor City's Hotel Haya, which serves the Cuban both Miami and Tampa-style.
📬 Seen any interesting iterations? Hit reply.
More Tampa Bay stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Tampa Bay.