Tampa Treasure: Brocato’s devil crabs and Cubans are a Tampa pastime

Since 1948, Brocato’s Sandwich Shop has been serving up football-sized devil crabs and Cuban sandwiches to the hungry Tampa community.

On the outskirts of Ybor, with a large quarry of a parking lot, this popular sandwich spot doubles as a delicious truck stop along 50th Street and I-4 and is truly a rite of passage for most born in the area.


Devil crabs and classic sandwiches

If you have never indulged, the devil crab is a colossal croquette stuffed with crab meat and spicy tomato sauce. The devil crab is literally about the size of two large fists and it has been the delight of cigar workers – like many famous Tampa culinary delights – dating back to the 1900s.


Brocato’s Italianized version of this blue-collar fried ball of blue crab claws tips its cap to the sauce Fra Diavolo, but in this delicacy you will notice stewed peppers and onions inside.

Besides the devil crab, Brocato’s is also a Tampa traditionalist favorite every year for the best Cuban Sandwich in the city – we featured them in our article on the matter in August, 2016.

The shop’s version is a homey classic and big enough to shove in the fridge for another day. Lastly, we have to mention the stuffed potatoes and the plantains – these are great side orders to any sandwich and even make for tasty standalone snacks.



Dishes are well worth the wait

Understandably, lines can be long at this famous shop (and ordering and picking up your food can somewhat resemble a Government office), but after you do get your food Brocato’s has plenty of seating to go around.

We also are somewhat partial to the collection of Brocato family memorabilia in the rafters and on the walls of the shop – little league baseball portraits, yearbook photos and even a classic pissed-off Lou Piniella (hometown boy, no less).

Visit Brocato’s at 5021 E Columbus Drive. We recommend calling ahead and placing your order, it may save you some valuable time. Call them at 813-248-9977


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