TAMPA, Fla. — There’s nothing like a Cuban sandwich in Tampa.

While it’s on many menus around town, for years now, one of the original favorite spots in the city to get one hasn’t been there.

What You Need To Know

  • Silver Ring Café has reopened in Tampa inside the Westhore Plaza food court

  • The Silver Ring, which originally opened in the 1940s in Ybor City, closed its doors years ago while still operating out in Riverview

  • After so much time away, the Silver Ring is back in the city where it began, with the anticipation from its operating partner that more stores will open in the city in the next few years

Instead, it’s been in Riverview, where Dana Neville spends nearly every day slinging sandwiches.

Neville is the owner of the Silver Ring Café in Riverview, a spot that’s been around for decades but was a staple in Ybor City long before it came here.

“I get calls from people all over the country. Do we ship? They grew up in Tampa,” Neville said of the café’s large fanbase. “They grew up — their dads, their grandfathers — took them to the Silver in Ybor. Everybody has a wonderful story about their memories.”

There are lots of memories for Neville too. After all, the Silver Ring has been a part of the bay area since the 1940s, but through different owners, fluctuating rent costs and retirements, the flagship Ybor City store has long been closed.

Silver Ring hasn’t even been in Tampa for about 15 years.

That is, until this year.

“All the old people that we knew that we grew up with are coming back,” said Nelson Valdes as he put together a famous Silver Ring Cuban sandwich.

Valdes is the operating partner of Silver Ring in Tampa.

He retired from his career in the car business back in September and was talking with his good friend, Tim Booth, who owned the Silver Ring back in the day and is Neville’s uncle.

“We had a couple of shots of tequila and the next thing we know, we’re opening up a Silver Ring,” Valdes said.

After over a decade of time away from the city it originally called home, Valdes opened a brand-new Silver Ring Café in inside Tampa’s Westshore Plaza food court.

“People are driving from Plant City, St. Petersburg, Crystal River — they’re coming to get a Cuban sandwich from the Silver Ring,” Valdes said.

When the news got out that the Silver Ring was back in Tampa, Valdes said long lines formed around the food court for hours.

Business has been great, according to Valdes, because he wanted to keep the authenticity of what he loved about Silver Ring.

“I drove out to Riverview just to make sure it was the right thing,” he said. “Man, (it was like) I’m back in Ybor City.”

Valdes said he tried to find a place in Ybor to bring the café back but rent prices there, according to him, were triple what he’s paying here in the mall.

“If I could open in Ybor and found a spot that wasn’t sky high, I would have done it, but the rents are just crazy over there,” he said.

For Valdes, he’s just thankful he could bring a piece of Tampa’s culinary history back to the city where it all began.

So, whether you’re in a mall food court or in Riverview, you’re transported back to those fond memories with every bite.