Welcome to The Short List. Each week, we pick a topic and share our favorite – or, in some cases, maybe our least favorite – things about the Bay area.
The Tampa City Council made it official April 19: The Cuban sandwich was named the city's "signature sandwich." Reaction on social media was widespread; everyone had an opinion on where to find the best Cuban. We tasted and re-tasted to come up with our top five. Let us know if you agree.
Hugo's Spanish Restaurant, 931 S. Howard Ave., Tampa –This Hyde Park staple touts its "world's worst Cuban sandwich," but in truth, it competes with the best sandwich makers in Tampa. It's a great deal when you pair with a cup of black bean soup.
Brocato's Sandwich Shop, 5021 E. Columbus Drive, Tampa – Open since 1948, this family eatery specializes in large sandwiches and Cuban food. Brocato's roast pork, a key ingredient in its Cuban, is so tender that it almost melts in your mouth.
West Tampa Sandwich Shop, 3904 N. Armenia Ave., Tampa – An institution for more than 30 years, it has long been a hangout for Tampa's political elite, and includes Al Gore and Cameron Diaz among its more high-profile clientele. Gaze at the pictures on the walls while partaking in a honey Cuban.
Columbia Restaurant, 2117 E. Seventh Ave., Tampa – Restaurateur Richard Gonzmart spares no detail in creating his version of an "authentic" Tampa Cuban – marinating the roast pork, glazing the ham, importing Genoa salami with peppercorns, and including Swiss cheese and yellow mustard. Save the lettuce and tomato for your salad.
Wright's Gourmet House, 1200 S. Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa – This South Tampa favorite has won The Tampa Tribune's best Cuban sandwich contest year after year after year. Need we say more? Make sure you save room for dessert.