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Denver Lunch Spots: The History of the Cubano Sandwich


December 13, 2017

The Cubano, or Cuban, sandwich has been around for years, and for good reason. The combination of ham, cheese, pickles, and mustard makes for an unforgettable experience for your mouth. Our version of the Cuban sandwich is one of the most popular menu items at DJ’s Cafe. But where did this favorite sandwich originate from? Let one of your favorite Denver lunch spots explain!

History of the Cubano

Everyone can agree on the main ingredients for a Cuban, or Cubano, sandwich. This creation consists of slices of roasted pork butt, smoked ham (no wet or processed stuff), Gouda or Swiss cheese, pickles, and of course, mustard. As far as bread goes, you’ve got to use Cuban bread. You should never replace it with French bread, ever. Additionally, Cuban sandwiches taste the best after they’ve been slathered in butter and pressed to perfection.

Tampa and Miami have long argued over whether the Cuban sandwich originated in their city. There’s one ingredient that separates a Tampa Cuban sandwich and a Miami Cuban sandwich. That ingredient is… salami! Tampa is home to the United States’ first Cuban community where Spanish and Cuban immigrants fled for an opportunity to work in the increasingly popular cigar industry. Tampa also claims that their Cuban bread is more flaky and crusty than the kind made in Miami, thus making it more authentic.

Say these things to someone from Miami, and you’re in for an argument.

According to Miami Cubans, the U.S. Cuban Capital is actually South Florida, not West Coast where Tampa is located. They also do not believe in the addition of salami to a Cuban sandwich. If you order a Cuban sandwich down in Miami, you will only find ham, pork, cheese, pickle, and mustard - what they call the “authentic” ingredients. The bread is still Cuban and made in Miami Cuban bakeries.

While the two cities may over argue the addition of salami or not, there is one thing that they can agree on. In Cuba, the sandwich was never called a Cuban sandwich. It was called a sandwich, or un mixto which meant a mix of meats.

The Cuban sandwich history is more complex than a diner might simply think!

DJ’s Cubano Sandwich

While Denver is located far away from Florida, and in a different landscape, we still love a good Cuban sandwich. On our Lunch menu, we offer a Cubano sandwich that we take house smoked pork, ham, provolone, sliced pickles, and Dijon mustard served on grilled foccacia.

Remember, lunch is an extremely important meal of the day so be sure you take a break to eat! Your midday fuel up is crucial for a variety of reasons, including keeping your body at an optimal place to finish out the workday. Our Cuban sandwich is the perfect choice for a savory, satisfying lunch option. Be sure to bring your coworkers and stop on by DJ’s Cafe to grab a bite to eat!

We serve lunch from 11 am to 2 pm, Monday through Friday. You can also drop by and sit outside to soak up the sun on nice days! Take a peek at our menu and give us a visit!