(ran TP edition)
Maybe I think Joe Faedo's Pastry and Sandwich Shop has been here forever because it has been around since before I was born.
The shop, at 3501 N Armenia Ave. in West Tampa, opened on Easter Sunday 1952. Since then, it has been a popular spot for Italian and Spanish pastries, real Cuban bread (baked with the palmetto leaf) and sandwiches.
Joe Faedo's has always been a family affair.
Joe and Delia ran the place until he died 26 years ago. Delia was there until she died last year. Their daughters, Delia DeCaprio and Loretta Quinones, have been behind the counters since girlhood. Loretta's husband, Ralph, oversees the bakery.
I've usually stopped in early _ the place opens at 6 a.m. _ for Cuban coffee and Cuban toast. There are a few small tables along the southern windows of the place.
That's the morning gathering spot for politicians and the members of the West Tampa Political Group, a loose-knit group of men who talk and live politics. On the wall are photos of some who have come to pay homage _ Gov. Lawton Chiles, Gov. Bob Martinez, State Rep. Elvin Martinez, Mayor Sandy Freedman, City Council members Bob Buckhorn and Charlie Miranda.
Faedo's serves a full breakfast menu, along with pastries, all of which can be prepared to go.
But the real dining action starts with lunch.
Faedo's serves original Cuban sandwiches _ with roasted pork and fresh baked bread _ for $2.80 or $3.20, depending on the size you want. There are also Italian steak, Italian subs and burgers, all for under $3.
More ambitious eaters can try the hot plate lunches featuring picadillo and rice, stuffed green peppers, yellow rice and chicken and other favorites, all for $3.50.
Other West Tampa favorites include deviled crabs, empanadas (pastries filled with crab or meats), escachata (a sheet pizza), stuffed yuca and bollitos (a fried pastry that Delia DeCaprio describes as "like a hush puppy, only different").
All the lunch orders can be made to go.
Since this is also a bakery, there is no shortage of temptations for the sweet tooth. Fresh guava turnovers, cream puffs and Italian cookies fill the display cases. I stopped in on Easter weekend and saw lots of holiday specials, including an egg bread basket _ a small twisted loaf with a pouch for a hard-boiled Easter egg.
Late diners should look elsewhere; Loretta and Delia lock the door at 1:30 p.m. every day.
HILLSBOROUGH TO GO
Joe Faedo's Pastry and Sandwich Shop
3501 N Armenia Ave.
Hours: 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Consumer: Two adults
What we got: Cuban sandwich, deviled crab, yellow rice and chicken, crab empanada and Cuban coffee
What it cost: $10.50
Time it took: The only time involved is the time you spend making up your mind. Most dishes are ready when you order
Pay with: Cash, check, credit cards