-3 Snaps! Try it. You might like it.
Located in the sprawling new Tampa Encore project Ella building, this storied restaurant has re-created itself yet again. BTW, if you haven't seen Encore go and look at the architecture, music references, and the amount of new housing available in downtown Tampa. It's massive.
Michelle Faedo's start was in a deli in 1996. In 2012 they rolled into a food truck, Michelle Faedo's On The Go, and last year reopened this bricks and mortar store. They specialize in what they call Tampeño Cuisine, which by the menu looks to be a blend of Cuban food and generic dishes like corn fritters and mac & cheese bites.
Other standards like cheeseburgers and chicken wings don't really fit this foodie's vision of traditional Tampa food, but it's all part of the mix. The specialty here is their award-winning Cuban sandwiches. They offer two varieties, traditional and hybrid, along with several other sandwiches soups and salads.
I am all in for the award-winning traditional. It is a foot-long sandwich on pressed Cuban bread with a thick stack of smoked ham, a thin layer of seasoned pork and Genoa salami. They top it off with Swiss cheese and (controversial) Mayo. It is quickly evident why this is an award winner. That warm toasty crunchy bread wrapping that meaty mix of sweet ham next with the salt influence of the seasoned pork and Swiss cheese would make any Tampanian proud. It's really good.
The atmosphere is lively. Pop music Place while Michelle runs the grill and yells greetings from behind her stainless steel station. The restaurant seems to have a faithful following and gives off an everybody-nose-your-name vibe. There's a menu board hung above the counter but curiously there are no prices on it, and the people at the register aren't so sure either. They hand me a printed menu.
There are dozens of laminated restaurant reviews hanging on the wall with accolades from past members of the press including names like Steve Otto. During my visit Mayor Bob Buckhorn is there as well enjoying a quick bite.
There is a separate breakfast menu with traditional Cuban items. Prices are on the high side but given that right now it's the only game in town in that development, they are doing a brisk business.
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