Food Network says quintessential Cuban Sandwich is found at Tampa’s Columbia Restaurant

And Miami once again loses ground in the battle for sandwich supremacy.
The Cuban sandwich, Columbia Restaurant style. [Times files]
Published Jan. 29
Updated Jan. 29

Though its name alludes to the country from which its creator’s hailed, the Cuban sandwich is most certainly an American icon, and a specifically Tampa icon.

While some in Miami might take umbrage with that, Food Network now says if you’re only gonna try one Cuban Sandwich, it should be the Cuban from Tampa’s own Columbia Restaurant.

Oscar Funez assembles a Cuban sandwich Columbia Restaurant style. [Times files]

The television titan of taste recently published The Best Sandwiches in America on its website, a compilation of some of the country’s most iconic sandwiches and the one place where you should try each.

The Columbia and its Cuban not only earned the honor of quintessential Cuban (sorry again, Miami), it’s the only sandwich from Florida out of more than 50.

The list of sandwiches made its rounds across the internet this past weekend, catapulting the Columbia’s Cuban once again into the web browsers and screens of diners across the ether. This version of the sandwich is so popular that it’s been featured on shows like ABC’s The Chew and CBS’s Sunday Morning, among others.

The Cuban Sandwich is sometimes claimed as a product of Miami’s Cuban culture, but Tampa residents consistently claim the Cuban originated from the lunchtime meals of Ybor City Cigar Factory workers near the turn of the 20th century. The city of Tampa even passed a resolution honoring the sandwich’s history with a resolution declaring it the city’s signature sandwich and outlining guidelines for crafting a historically accurate version.

Ingredients of the Columbia Restaurant Cuban sandwich. Ham, Genoa salami, mojo marinated Roast Pork, Swiss cheese, pickle and mustard on Cuban bread. [Times files]

While the Columbia Cuban’s popularity is no question, perhaps the one thing Tampa residents clamor over more than the defense of a Cuban’s origins is where to get the best one in the bay area. That, of course, begs the question: Where do you think someone should go to find the one Cuban Sandwich to rule them?

Tell us in the comments below.