New Jersey shop revels in 'best Cuban sandwich' declaration

- A Cuban sandwich showdown is happening between New Jersey and spots in Florida.

It all started after Food Network personality Carl Ruiz ate hundreds of Cuban sandwiches in the country and announced that those made at La Pola in West New York are the best.

It all comes down to owner Belarmino "Mino" Rico, 78, who puts in long hours and a lot of love creating the sandwiches.

Inside La Pola, it's a family affair. Rico's daughter-in-law and grandson pitch in as the demand for his Cuban sandwiches boom after being declared the best.

"Yes, I am the Yankees," Rico said.

They're even better than in Tampa, Florida, a city that claims to make the best.

"That's fine. Let them come over here," one customer challenged. "Come on we'll show you the way."

The City of Tampa even tweeted its opposition to the ruling.

A Cuban sandwich is made with pork, ham, cheese, mustard, pickles and Cuban bread. But at La Pola, which opened in 1978, customers explain why these sandwiches are at the top of the class.

"You can taste the effort," Julian Romero, of Montclair, said. "You can see the cooks and chefs put work into it."

Many other customers chimed in:

"It's incredible. It's really good."

"No comparison. Anything this side of the map is always better."

"It's the effort they use. The pork they carve, it's good stuff in the product."

"It's the best one I ever had."

"I am the best, best in the country," Rico said. "I'm numero uno. Numero uno in the country."

And to that, we say, "Felicidades, Mino."

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