Image by Broadway Photography. Article by Althea Tyrell.
How much do you know about first year contestant, “Cigar City Brew Pub”? Last week we stopped in to take a look around, and see some of their best dishes. Later, I spoke with Chef Ryan, so we could find out what makes this pub really stand out.
1) How did the "Cigar City Brew Pub" start?
Cigar City opened April 1st 2013 with the simple goal of giving Tampa great food to go with great beer. Our menu is a little Cuban, a little Southern, a little Italian and all Tampa. We aim to provide a welcome and casual environment for our guest to enjoy a good time with their friends and family.
2) What makes your Cuban sandwich stand out from others?
What makes ours stand out from others would be everything we put into our Cuban. We have sourced the highest quality ingredients, like are high marble fat ham, La Segunda Cuban bread and Fiorucci Salami. Most important, we use our house fermented pickles and house mojo marinated pork loin. That's right Pork Loin, not pork butt or shoulder like many others might. But, most of all would be the love we put into our Cuban sandwich as well as all our other dishes.
3) Your menu consists of different genres of food, but it all
encompasses Tampa. Is one chef responsible for all of these?
Our menu is definitely a 50/50 partnership between Chef Michel Cavanaugh and me Chef Ryan Brooks, which I think makes our menu so diverse.
4) What is a "must-have" when going to the "Cigar City Brew Pub"
Our "must-have" would obviously be the Cuban! But it has also been rumored that we have one of the best burgers in town, being our Local Providence Cattle beef Grass Fed Burger.
5) What made you want to try out for the Cuban Sandwich Festival?
What made use want to try out for the Festival is that is sounded like a fun time with the best of the Bay.
6) Press it? Don't press it?
We are definitely excited to have the "Cigar City Brew Pub" joining us this year, and so are they. Check out what Chef Ryan and Michael have to say to the other competitors in this video . See you at the festival!
When it comes to Cuban culture Ybor is anything but lacking. Since the 1800s when Don Vicente Martínez-Ybor decided to move his Cigar factories here, Ybor was made known as the “Cigar Capitol of the World”. These factories employed many Cubans, and were a staple to the community. Now the factories still stand, being occupied with different shops and businesses, but also standing with them is the history of what once was.
Cuban culture has been growing and spreading, not only with the preservation of these buildings, but with events like the Cuban Sandwich Festival. The Cuban sandwich started with the managers of these cigar factories’ wanting something better for their employees, something that reminded them of home. Now these sandwiches have spread all over, and once a year Ybor takes the opportunity to find the best one, and celebrate it with the community through the Cuban Sandwich Festival. At the festival, sandwich makers come from all over to present their best sandwiches, and attendees get to eat all their hearts desire.
Ybor is a great place to go and get a feel of Cuban culture. If you find yourself here in March, don’t miss the opportunity to stop by the Cuban Sandwich Festival, or one of these other great historical sites mentioned here.