TAMPA, Fla. — Former President Barack Obama stopped by the West Tampa Sandwich Shop in 2012.
He ordered a Cuban sandwich with honeyed bread.
The stuffed salty-sweet sandwich, fully loaded with lettuce and tomato too, was quickly renamed "the Obama."
That famous visit is just part of the lore of this iconic neighborhood joint, which courts all walks of political and cultural life, a melting pot of amazing food and passionate debate.
"There's nothing better than a great conversation over good food," says Andy Russell, whose family has owned the West Tampa Sandwich Shop for more than three decades.
With a menu rich with Cuban delicacies, all at incredibly low prices (a surfboard-sized sandwich for less than $5!), the restaurant draws a diverse crowd of bigshots and regular folks.
"It's just so Tampa," laughs John Honeycutt, a regular for some 20 years now. "You see all the regulars coming in here with their families, talking about local events and politics."
"It's like 'Cheers' in here," adds Andy Russell. "Everybody knows everybody."
The shop is open every day, from 5:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., for breakfast and lunch.
The portions are huge. The price always low. A huge sandwich with a side of rice and beans is still under $10.
Fair warning. Sometimes the cars in the parking lot are double- and triple-parked. It's worth the wait.