Established in 1896 by Francisco Ferlita, a Cuban-Italian immigrant, this was the first U.S. bakery to specialize in making Cuban bread - i.e. similar to French or Italian baguette-like loaves but made with all-white flour and using lard or vegetable shortening. At the time, the bakery created between 300 and 500 loaves per day, each selling for three to five cents a loaf. The bread was delivered every morning to local homes with sturdy nails driven into their door frames on which the loaves were impaled.
A devastating fire destroyed the original bakery in 1923. It was eventually rebuilt, this time much larger, making it THE major bread supplier in Tampa. The bakery finally closed for good in 1973. It was then totally renovated and transformed into a museum, in 1977, dedicated to conserving the city’s rich history and heritage.