Cuban sandwich fans, rejoice and mark your calendars – National Cuban Sandwich Day is Wednesday, August 23! This delicious variation of a ham and cheese sandwich originated in cafes in Key West and Ybor City, Tampa, two early Cuban immigrant communities in Florida. Traditionally made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, mustard, pickles, and salami all on lightly-buttered Cuban bread, the Cuban sandwich is usually pressed and is enjoyed throughout the world.
Celebrate with these 6 fun facts that you might not know about this scrumptious sandwich!
It Was Popular Among Cigar Factory Workers – Although an early version of the Cuban sandwich was created in Cuba proper, the Cuban sandwich that we know and love originated in Tampa’s cigar-producing neighborhood of Ybor City in the late 1800s. It caught on in the early 1900s and was a big hit among German cigar factory workers.
The Salami Was the Italians’ Idea – The Cuban sandwich is a sweet combination of 3 different immigrant groups that came together in the South. Salami wasn’t added until immigrated Italian bricklayers came up with the idea (and also found that placing a hot brick on top of the sandwich for a few minutes would make it taste even more divine).
There Is a Regional Disagreement About the Sandwich’s Recipe – Some people believe that a Cuban sandwich consists of ham, mojo pork, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard, and dill pickle slices on crispy Cuban bread. Cuban sandwiches created in Tampa typically include the salami, but those in south Florida cities like Miami tend to exclude salami.
You Can Thank the Germans for the Mustard – Know why mustard was included on the sandwich? Because the Germans found out that the condiment didn’t spoil in the sweltering Florida heat. Refrigeration was hard to come by in the early 20th century, which is why mustard is used instead of mayo.
It’s the Official Sandwich of Tampa – In 2012, the Tampa City Council and Mayor Bob Buckhorn passed a resolution that made the Cuban sandwich the city’s official sandwich!
There’s an Annual Cuban Sandwich Festival in Ybor City – This fun festival attracts competitors from all around the nation. In 2015, many restaurants combined their powers to create a 105-foot-long Cuban sandwich, making it the world’s longest Cuban sandwich ever!
Now that we’ve whetted your appetite, remember to come in to McArthur’s to savor our very own Cubano panini! Our delicious take on the classic sandwich includes shaved pork, honey ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and, of course, sweet mustard. McArthur’s is the place to celebrate, and we can’t wait to see you Wednesday (and any other day as well)!