Cigars are about as synonymous with Tampa as gambling is with Las Vegas. Guilty pleasures that cost money, and you can lose big when you play with them. I’m not so much of a gambler or a smoker, but despite the risks I do occasionally like to puff on a good old stogie.
I found Gaspar’s Cigar Shoppe by accident, but now I keep going back. Reason: in the back they have one case that contains Nicaraguan, Dominican, and Honduran cigars that are hand-rolled here in Tampa. The flavor and the price point are all perfect for my tastes, and there is something about the fact that there is no branding, labels, or fancy presentation – just the real deal. I also like the owner, D.C., a real deal himself who epitomizes many of the characters that compose the Tampa region.
Gaspar’s was established by fourth generation Tampan, Davelis “D.C.” Goutoufas, whose roots run deep in Tampa Bay. Goutoufas is the great grandson of a pioneering Greek who helped settle Tampa in 1887. He is a member of one of the Gasparilla krewes.
I snapped a picture of DC the last time I was in there. The above is my depiction of him.