Stephena and Webster Pierre, self owners of the Carrollwood Café and Deli, took some time out of their busy schedules, and allowed me to ask them a couple questions about their Deli and Cuban sandwiches!
1) How long have you been at Carrollwood Café and Deli?
We have been here 18 years running and owning the deli.
2) What is the “Patch Readers’ Choice” award?
That’s one of the awards that they gave within the neighborhood, but I think it’s discontinued now. We got it for best deli.
3) What is your favorite item on your menu?
One of our signature items, our hot New York pastrami served with fresh baked Jewish rye.
4) What is your favorite thing about the Cuban Sandwich Festival?
It’s an opportunity to provide to this variety of food. Everyone has their own flare to their Cuban sandwich. For example, ours is the Deli Cuban which has pork beef, pastrami, pickles, and cheese and so on. That’s our staple.
5) What is one ingredient you can’t go without on a Cuban sandwich?
For us is our homemade bread. Our bread is baked in-house; and the bread makes or breaks any sandwich.
6) Press It/Don’t Press It
It’s a toss-up. Webster prefers it pressed, I prefer it traditional and not pressed.
Come on out to the festival in March to experience the different varieties of delicious Cuban sandwiches!
Image by Broadway Photography. Article by Althea Tyrell.
Despite being around for such a short time So Nuts Donuts has had people talking about their Cuban sandwich, specifically the sweet Cuban. I called in to speak with the people responsible for replacing the buns with donuts (YUM). I spoke with Stephanie Burke, who works at the deli/bakery with her husband and in-laws.
1) What came first the donuts, or the deli?
They both came together and we started them at the same time, but our initial idea and creation was the donuts. Then we realized we wanted to bring in the deli side as well and were able to spin off our sandwiches like the “Sweet Cuban” and the “Donut Burger”
2) What gave you the idea to combine donuts and sandwiches?
My husband came from Panera as a manager so he was really familiar with the combination of a kind of deli and pastry shop. Then my brother-in-law had experience on the deli side. From there we wanted to create something fun and new, but something still familiar, fast and casual but also out of the box and different.
3) Is So Nut! Donuts & Deli family owned?
Yes this is family owned by me, my husband Peter, my brother-in-law David, and my father-in-law Michael.
4) How long have you been here in Tampa?
We have been open since June of 2014, we’ll be approaching our year anniversary this coming June. We look to open in about 2-3 months two more locations. One in South Tampa and one in Westchase
5) What made you want to try out for the festival?
We did a small twist on our Cuban. We do a traditional and a nontraditional way. On the nontraditional we use a spicy jack cheese, and on our traditional we use the traditional Swiss cheese. We have had so many good responses to our Cuban, and some of the folks involved with the festival stopped in for lunch one day, and wanted us to try for the Cuban Sandwich Festival.
6) Press it? Don’t press it?
For our sweet Cuban on a donut we press it and we press out our traditional as well, but I actually prefer the traditional Cuban not pressed, and on our nontraditional sweet Cuban is pressed.
Come check out So Nuts Donuts and satisfy both your hunger and sweet tooth!
Image by Broadway Photography. Article by Althea Tyrell.
Yesterday I spoke with Chef Darlene Herrick, former Cuban Sandwich Festival winner for Non-Traditional Cuban when she was with Gaspar’s Grotto. She is currently the Executive Chef at La Septima Café in Brandon. In the ten minutes I spent talking with Chef Darlene, I discovered that it is not every day that you find someone with such pride and love for what they do.
ME: La Septima Café is a family owned business, right?
ME: What made them want start the Café?
CHEF: The owner, Dahlia Fernandez, along with her husband, Ron, have been in the restaurant business for years. They are from Tampa, like me. They have had two very successful restaurants. Their families are from Ybor City and West Tampa. Dahlia’s paternal grandfather owned a casino in Ybor when her father was growing up. Ron and Dahlia moved to Brandon where they raised their children, Jennifer and RJ. A very dear family friend, Gert Laxer, gave them the advice to open a restaurant in their own back yard serving what they know best…and that’s how they decided to open La Septima twenty years ago!
ME: Where did the name La Septima come from?
CHEF: La Septima means “seventh” for Seventh Avenue in Ybor City.
ME: What is your secret to continually winning “Best of Brandon” for Spanish/Cuban Restaurant and Cuban Sandwich?
CHEF: Our recipes are handed down from their grandparents, who were born in Cuba, Italy and Spain. These recipes have been in the owners’ families for years. Our food is made with love and care. I’ve been a chef for a long time and have never worked with anyone who takes such pride and love in their food. Being an executive chef, I feel the very same way!
ME: What dish are you most proud of on your menu?
CHEF: Well, the Cuban Sandwich of course!
ME: What is your favorite thing about the Cuban Sandwich Festival?
CHEF: The spirit of the competition. I know some people say, “oh, it’s just a Cuban Sandwich”, but it is a part of our Tampa history. I’ve been making Cuban sandwiches since I was six years old!
ME: Press or Not pressed?
CHEF: I prefer not pressed, when the bread is fresh and the sandwich is made just before you eat it.
IF YOU WANT A TASTE OF CHEF DARLENE HERRICK’S FOOD STOP BY LA SEPTIMA, OR SEE THEM AT THIS YEAR’S FESTIVAL!