The best Cuban sandwich in the US comes from…New Jersey?

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WEST NEW YORK -

The Cuban sandwich is said to have been invented in Florida, home to a large Cuban population.

But celebrity chef Carl Ruiz set off a firestorm when he declared that the best Cuban sandwich in the United States comes from New Jersey.

“I didn’t believe myself that the best Cuban sandwich could be from New Jersey. But it is,” says Ruiz. “I got a tweet from the mayor of Tampa telling me absolutely ‘No way.’ Then from the mayor of St. Petersburg, and I’m like ‘Oh my God. What did I do?’”

Ruiz says that the best Cuban sandwich he’s ever had comes from a little restaurant named La Pola in West New York.

“It's hipster proof…There's nobody with a handlebar mustache, no knife and fork tattoos, no nothing,” Ruiz says. “This is just the same way they started making it in 1960 until now. It's perfect.”

La Pola is owned by Amini and Maria Rico. They are still working in the restaurant even in their 70s. Their son Joe cuts the ham and pork for the sandwich by hand – just like his father taught him.

Cars are often double-parked out front due to the amount of people who come through there to try the food.

La Pola is also the place where a young Ruiz was first brought by his mother to try his first Cuban sandwich.

Ruiz says he's eaten at all the Florida shops famous for their Cuban sandwiches. But he says that few, if any, of his critics have come to New Jersey to try a sandwich from La Pola. He invites them to try one out.

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