What is a delicatessen, you might be surprised by its definition and origin! A German food company is credited as the first delicatessen more than 300 years ago! They were the first store to import bananas, mangoes, and plums to the German population from faraway places such as the Canary Islands and China. Popping up in the US in the mid-1800's American deli's catered to the German immigrant population importing specialty foods they craved. According to Wikipedia, a deli is "a retail establishment selling a selection of unusual or foreign prepared foods." It was the late 1800's when the word delicatessen shortened to 'deli' and the main focus became the sandwich. Here's where you can find the best deli's dishing up delicious deli favorites in Tampa.
Please let us know in comments below your favorite deli! If it's not on the list we will check them out and consider adding your favorite places to the list!
Where to Find the Best Deli's Dishing Up Delicious in Tampa
Tampa's premier cafe and deli featuring gourmet soups and sandwiches is changing again. Current owner Jeff Mount, grandson of Marjorie and Pete Wright, and his team of experts create many of Tampa's favorite signature sandwiches, salads, and desserts daily using the same recipes Marjorie and Pete used when they opened Wrights in 1963. Building out as they built a solid reputation for excellent food, Wright's is growing again to accommodate a steadfast and loyal following. A destination deli, people around the world hear about Wright's from friends and family then plan a trip to this iconic delicatessen. Personally, I dream about their Bahama Baby, the Beef Martini, and their Chocolate/Chocolate cake! What do you dream about, because truth is, once you've been to Wright's Gourmet, the dreaming....it's an unavoidable side effect! (Click over to their 813area Business Page to see the Chocolate Chocolate Cake!)
1200 S. Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa Fl Phone 813-253-3838
Since 1997, Carrollwood Deli has been serving Tampa with the highest-quality assortment of sandwiches, gourmet soups and fresh salads found anyplace. Find delicious food at great prices here! This deli takes their corned beef brisket and New York Pastrami very seriously! A longtime Tampa favorite among the local lunch crowd they offer dine-in, carry out and delivery options. Check out this delicious deli where service is their Motto and Quality is their Brand!
Find D & D at Kennedy and Lois and stop in for delicious deli favorites like their famous Philly Cheesesteak, wings, gyros and killer Hot and Cold subs! Favorites include the 'Capicollo' Sub, Cheese Trio, and Pastrami Sub! Order easily online by pointing a clicking then swing by to pick up from this inventive New York style deli serving up classic and not-so-classic subs, using homemade Italian dressing, the best meats and more. Lunch is always a treat at D & D!
This authentic German Deli on El Prado Blvd in Tampa operated by Craig Trunk has been feeding South Tampa's masses since 1951! This, their only location, is a family run business passed through the generations. Craig began working in the store at 14 years old! You find no frills at what is the only authentic German Deli in Tampa, however, the attention to detail and "extreme quality" as Craig puts it, has allowed them to remain in business for more than 60 years!
Walk through the door and you feel like family as the staff prepares and serves your selections. Be sure to order their homemade German Potato salad! Word of mouth and a loyal customer base sustain this deli. A friend of my son's, returning home from college for a visit, made Schiller's his first stop once he hit home. Schiller's serves Breakfast daily from 8 am-11 am featuring German pancakes with red currant jelly and Black Forrest bacon. They also stock Weihenstephaner beer, the oldest brewed beer in the world!
The West Tampa Sandwich Shop is a 'Cuban Deli' and a hidden gem featuring deliciously freshly made sandwiches based on the Cuban Sandwich. Taking traditional deli fare and adding a Cuban twist there is nothing else like this shop! Serving traditional Cubans this restaurant also offers local favorites like the "Obama" (Honey Cuban), Media Noche and a Mojo Pork sandwich. Non-trad faves include the Frita (a combo of hamburger and chorizo), Bacalao (Fish) , B.L.T., Tuna, and a delicious Veggie Sandwich that stole my heart years ago! Below is the Tripleta. You feel as if you step back in time at this shop where you are immediately greeted and made to feel at home. Scan the walls to see the many dignitaries and famous friends of this little sandwich shop that could!
This classy cafe/deli in the Channelside District serves delicious homemade food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Combining American and Jamaican cuisines Zelda's is fabulous old-school delicious. A B.L.T. is one of my favorite sandwiches; evoking sweet memories of being called into the house for lunch in the summer by my mother. Mom grew fresh lettuce and tomatoes, and was extremely picky about her bacon, sourcing bacon from a local farmer. Her B.L.T.'s were works of art, perfectly toasted, with just the right amount of mayo, salt, and pepper they were loaded with deep red, sweet and juicy beefsteak tomatoes. My mom's B.L.T. is the standard I use when checking out a new deli. For me, you get this one right and the rest is, well cake! Zelda gets it right every time. For $5.95 I am transported through time back to my childhood. We've tried nearly every deli item at Zelda's and never been disappointed! Her egg salad is awesome and my kids love the Channelside Chicken Wrap! (Pictured is the Steak Sandwich with peppers and onions from regular Zelda patron Brian!)
1239 E. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa FL Phone 813-226-0169
This East Ybor eatery on 40th Street has been serving up kettle soups and deli sandwiches to the working crowd since 1989! Fast and friendly service, though not on the menu, are two things you can expect to receive every time at this delicious Tampa deli! Try the California Reuben or the hot Black Forest ham and swiss on grilled Texas sourdough bread, or perhaps the California Chicken Salad wrap with raspberry sauce! By far, however, the number one, all-time, MOST ordered sandwich is the Texas Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Cream of Tomato soup! Next time you are in Ybor, get off the beaten path and head over to the Bread Basket for something different!
1155 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Ste 10 , Tampa FL Phone 813-289-9758
1021 W Swann Ave., Tampa FL Phone 813-251-5000
The sandwich, from the moment we wrapped our mouths around two slices of bread smeared with peanut butter, dripping in delicious jelly, we've been in love with these portable pieces of heaven! There are plenty of deli's across Tampa Bay slinging sandwiches but few who go the extra mile guaranteeing you a fresh and delicious true deli flavor experience incorporating imported and foreign foods. We hope you enjoy this list and will find each one of the Deli's dishing up delicious in Tampa equally as delightful as we have! Let us know what you think in comments below!