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The History of the Cuban Sandwich

Rosie’s Sidekick Sandwich Shop has their version of a Cuban Sandwich! Here’s how this sandwich came to be.

The Cuban sandwich, also known as the Cubano, is a popular sandwich that originated in the Cuban immigrant communities of Florida, particularly in the Tampa and Key West areas, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its history is intertwined with the cultural fusion of Cuban, Spanish, Italian, and American influences prevalent in these regions at the time.

The history of the Cuban Sandwich

The exact origins of the Cuban sandwich are somewhat debated, but it is generally believed to have evolved from the sandwiches made by Cuban workers in cigar factories in Key West and Ybor City, Tampa, in the late 1800s and early 1900s. These workers, coming from diverse backgrounds, brought with them culinary traditions that eventually melded into what we now know as the Cuban sandwich.

What’s in a Cuban Sandwich?

The classic Cuban sandwich typically consists of sliced roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and sometimes salami, all layered between Cuban bread, which is a long, crusty bread with a soft interior. The sandwich is then pressed and grilled, compressing the ingredients and creating a warm, melted, and flavorful combination.

As Cuban immigrants settled in Florida, particularly in the cigar-producing regions, they brought their culinary traditions with them. The sandwich likely evolved as a convenient and hearty meal for the working-class population in these areas. Its popularity grew over time, becoming a staple in local eateries and gaining recognition beyond Florida.

The Cuban sandwich’s fame expanded beyond Florida and into other parts of the United States, particularly as tourism increased in the region. Its inclusion on menus in Cuban restaurants, delis, and even mainstream eateries across the country helped solidify its status as a beloved sandwich.

Freddy P’s Cuban Sandwich

Over the years, variations of the Cuban sandwich have emerged, with different regions and chefs adding their own twists to the classic recipe. However, the fundamental elements of roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and Cuban bread remain consistent in most versions. The Freddy P’s Cuban Sandwich at Rosie’s Sidekick Sandwich Shop includes our homemade Italian Beef!

Rosie’s Sidekick Sandwich Shop & Catering is located in Chicago in the Logan Square neighborhood. 2610 N California Ave 773-697-3000. Our newest location is in Schaumburg in the D. R. Horton building. 1750 E Golf Rd 1st floor 847-648-7098

For more information about Rosie’s Sidekick Sandwich Shop & Catering in Logan Square or Schaumburg or to order online, go to

Fred Pecoraro

Author Fred Pecoraro

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