Established in 1915, La Segunda Central Bakery originally fed the booming population of cigar-making immigrants who, lured by the promise of good jobs, flocked to the city of Tampa in the early 1900s.
Now in its fourth generation of family ownership, the bakery continues as the city’s most beloved provider of their signature Cuban bread. Still crafted using a hand-baked process and the original recipe brought to Tampa from Cuba by founder Juan More, the bread features a unique taste and texture that can't be reproduced.
Today, La Segunda is a thriving Tampa success story, with big plans for its next 100 years.
La Segunda's famous Cuban bread loaves, resting before baking — Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers
Each 36-inch loaf is a labor of love. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, Cuban bread resembles a French baguette but differs in ingredients and baking technique.
Each loaf made at La Segunda also features the traditional palmetto leaf that is placed lengthways on the dough before cooking, which creates the familiar seam down the middle.
In addition to being the foundation for every authentic Cuban sandwich, Cuban bread is also popular toasted and accompanied by a café con leche for a morning meal.
As the popularity for this unique bread is growing – largely due to the entrepreneurial spirit of current father and son owners – so is its availability. Today you can find La Segunda Cuban bread offered at local markets and served at restaurants across the country.
Bakers work in three shifts to produce 15,000 loaves a day at La Segunda — Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers
Even though you can now find their famous Cuban loaves as far away as Alaska, there's no substitute for visiting La Segunda in person.
At their retail bakery in Tampa’s historic Ybor City neighborhood, customers are tempted by the intoxicating scents of freshly baked bread and pastries, as they have been for generations. Many current customers remember accompanying their parents as they bought the daily loaf, enjoyed a café con leche and caught up with the neighbors.
Make sure to linger over your choices as you pick from the long glass cases filled with freshly made goodies. Hang around a while, and enjoy the ambiance of this uniquely historic shopping experience.
If you get hooked on the Cuban bread, you can grab a few frozen loaves to take home with you, too
A morning visit to La Segunda immerses visitors in a timeless tradition of love, family and generosity that has survived largely unchanged for the last 100 years. And it appears poised to continue for 100 more.
Visit the retail bakery of La Segunda to sample and take home a taste of Tampa — Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers