TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — La Tropicana Cafe has been a cornerstone of Tampa’s historic Latin-influenced Ybor City neighborhood since the 1960s, well known as a gathering spot where movers and shakers and even mobsters mixed with construction workers over Cuban coffee and sandwiches.
Now its doors are likely closed for good, like so many other bars and restaurants done in by the coronavirus pandemic.
Every neighborhood loses something precious when local eateries and hangouts get shuttered, but as infections spread and the economic fallout continues, the loss of iconic establishments like La Tropicana is particularly hard to swallow.
“In Tampa, if you were a politician, La Tropicana was where you would show up,” said Patrick Manteiga, editor and publisher of La Gaceta, a local newspaper that publishes in English, Spanish and Italian. For years, his father, Roland Manteiga, kept a corner table reserved for himself, with a special red telephone