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Trademarking the Cuban Sandwich™

Cuban sandwich_0.jpg
A proper Cuban sandwich has crisp Cuban bread, glazed ham, shredded pork, yellow mustard, a dill pickle, Swiss cheese, and despite what people in Miami say, Genoa salami.

You might already know about the Tampa City Council resolution to define a Cuban sandwich as the "Historic Tampa Cuban Sandwich."

But did you know they might try to trademark it?

It's on the Tampa City Council agenda for Thursday. The City's legal department is scheduled to provide a report "on whether or not the City of Tampa can acquire a trademark for the 'Historic Tampa Cuban Sandwich' as being Tampa's signature sandwich."

We're still trying to figure out what trademarking the sandwich would mean for real people in Miami and Tampa selling or eating real sandwiches.

But it just adds to the war of words between Florida's two largest regions about who can claim the sandwich.

It started when Miami Mayor (and Cuban exile) Tomas Regalado questioned why the Tampa sandwich included salami.

“Oh. Wow,’’ Regalado said. “Tampa certainly has a tradition, but salami is for pizza.’’

Tampa Bay Times columnist (and former Miami resident) Sue Carlton fires back with this:

To us, that salami slice salutes this town's proud Italian roots. But Regalado scoffs that salami "is for pizza." And, really? You plan to win a food culture war with salami pizza as your standard for what's normal?

And this:

Miami is my hometown and Tampa my home. I love both, but they couldn't be more different. When I was growing up down there, the clash of cultures could be fractious, so it was interesting to move to a town with a Latin Quarter long integrated by a blend of Cuban, Spanish and Italian immigrants. So take this, Miami: Research indicates Tampa was making what we currently call the Cuban sandwich back in the cigarmaker days — before Miami was even Miami.

WUSF will be at the Tampa City Council meeting where the trademark will be discussed -- and maybe we can find out whether people in Miami who are making what they call a Cuban sandwich, will legally be able to continue calling it that.

UPDATE April 19, noon:

The trademark issue is off. But the council has approved the resolution.


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/14/2748730/tampa-claims-the-cuban-sandwich.html#storylink=cpy

Scott Finn is a former news director at WUSF Public Media, which provides in-depth reporting for Tampa Bay and all of Florida.
Bobbie O’Brien has been a Reporter/Producer at WUSF since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Florida and the Tampa Bay region.
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