Article By: Althea Tyrell
Today I had the honor of speaking with Ramon Hernandez, a member of the original Pipo’s Café family. He shared with me his favorite thing about the Cuban Sandwich Festival, and a little about Pipo too!
How long has Pipos been around?
Pipo’s Café has been around since 1979 when my parents opened up. Since then my brother and I have expended to have multiple locations here in the Tampa Bay area.
Who was Pipo?
Pipo was my Dad, and Pipo is like a Spanish nick name for father. Everyone used to call my dad Pipo.
Which Pipo’s is still owned by your family?
The only Pipo’s owned by the original family is the one I own and in 3 or 4 weeks I’ll be opening another in down town St. Pete 9531 Bay Pines Blvd.
What is your favorite thing to eat on your menu?
Roast Pork goes the quickest. We basically through 600-700 pounds a day but my favorite is Ropa Vieja. Ropa vieja is translated in Spanish to old clothes and it’s a stew of tender shredded flank steak in a tomato and wine sauce simmered with onions & peppers till tender.
What’s your favorite thing about the festival?
Wide variety of local businesses that get together once a year to put out their best Cuban sandwich and the best options they have at their restaurants. It’s a good opportunity for everybody to get exposure to thousands of people. And customers can go and try all these restaurants at one time; it’s a win-win situation.
Press It/ Don’t Press It
It’s got to be pressed. We don’t sell Cuban sandwiches not pressed at the restaurant.
If you’re team #PressIt I think Pipo’s is definitely the right place for you. Look out for them at the festival!
It’s almost time for the festival, and we hope you’re as excited as we are! To ensure we all have the best time on festival weekend we just wanted to clear up some questions you may have when you come.
What time is the festival?
Day 1 (Breaking the record for the world’s largest Cuban sandwich!!) - Saturday, March 21st 2015 from 11:00AM-5:00 PM at HCC Ybor Campus (Outdoor Parking Lot),
2112 N 15th St, Tampa, FL.
Day 2 (City2City Showdown) - Sunday, March 23rd 2014 from 10:30AM–6:30PM at Centennial Park in Ybor City, 1800 E. 8th St., Tampa, FL
Is the event free?
Yes, the event is free and open to the public. Come and dance, laugh and share great memories with your friends and family. There will be many vendors including our Cuban sandwich competitors there for you to patronize. You will be able to purchase as many sandwiches, drinks, art work, and other items being sold as you can carry. Some vendors will take cards, however some will take cash only. Try and prepare for both scenarios.
Can I bring my kids?
The event is purposely created to be family friendly. We welcome your youngest and oldest members of your family to attend.
Which restaurants will be participating in the contest?
We currently have 20 restaurants with the possibility of having additional ones added or ones that may need to drop out for unexpected reasons. For a complete current list, please click here.
Why isn't my favorite restaurant listed?
Our event and the competition is completely open to restaurants who want the additional exposure and a chance to share their best with the public. The contest is made known to many restaurants throughout the state and beyond. The competition is voluntary and some restaurants do not participate for various reasons. If your favorite restaurant is not on the list, contact them to let them know you believe they should enter the next competition.
Where do I park?
Ybor is a great location to have the festival. It is the epitome of urban life and history mixed together. You can use one of the many parking garages, metered lots or on-street site in Ybor or you can hop on the trolley which runs between Channelside and Ybor. Be sure to pay attention to posted signs and remit payment for any fees listed. For more specific information on parking in Ybor, please click here.
Is the festival also a fundraiser as well?
Yes. This event serves as a fundraiser for Emberlynn Padilla, a 2 ½ year old baby miracle baby born with Congenital diaphragmatic hernia. To Donate or learn more about Emberlynn, please click here.
We hope this answers some of your many questions. For updates, please connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Also, please be sure to tag us on our social media pages to your pictures from the event.
We look forward to seeing you soon!