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Cheap Eats: Vince's Produce Market & Deli

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Vince's Produce Market & Deli / COOPER LEVEY-BAKER

Vince's Produce Market & Deli / COOPER LEVEY-BAKER

This week's column marks a first in my tenure as your Cheap Eats correspondent: my first Twitter-recommended destination. A couple weeks back, user @elenisokos suggested I give a place called Vince's in east Bradenton a try, claiming the produce market's Cuban sandwich beats Jose's in a 'wich-to-'wich taste test. "I'm just a neighbor trying to ensure Vince's stays in business so I can have their Cubans on the reg!" Eleni wrote. Truly a noble cause, and well worth going out of my way to support.

Vince's Produce Market & Deli / COOPER LEVEY-BAKER

Vince's Produce Market & Deli / COOPER LEVEY-BAKER

Vince's is a relatively new venture. The father-son joint opened its doors this June in a spot just east of downtown Bradenton and just west of the sulfuric hellscape that State Road 64 becomes once you get closer to the interstate. Vince Favazza and his son, also named Vince, started the business with the goal of offering outstanding produce at below-supermarket rates.

And indeed the produce looks gorgeous. The market side of the property is just two long rows of open containers stuffed with the regular stuff like potatoes, onions and bananas, but also with a touch of the exotic. Cactus pears and guava wait to be scooped up, while bundles of corn husks cry out to be stuffed and steamed into tamales. Customers shuffle up and down the aisles, squeezing fruit and inspecting vegetables.

Unlike a supermarket, the vast majority of Vince's goods are fresh, but the store does offer some bottled specialties like Sarasota's My Sweetest Honey, as well as salad dressings and Jarritos. The market's emphasis on fresh ingredients and low, low prices carries over to the small deli counter in the back, where you can get a 16-inch pizza for $6.95. What? Insane.

Junior's Cuban at Vince's Produce Market & Deli / COOPER LEVEY-BAKER

Junior's Cuban at Vince's Produce Market & Deli / COOPER LEVEY-BAKER

How cheap are the prices? At $7.50, the Eleni-recommended Junior's Cuban sandwich is the most expensive item on the menu, and it's almost a meal for two. Combining slow-roasted pork you can shred with your fingers, ham, salami, provolone, mustard, mayo and pickles, the sandwich is enormous and satisfying. Better than Jose's? Hmmm... I'm not sure. I think I'll need to try them both back to back before I stick my neck out on that debate. But whichever team you're on, you can't deny that Vince's sandwich is killer.

The rest of Vince's menu contains about what you'd expect: wraps ($4.95-$6.95), more sandwiches ($4.50-$6.95), salads ($3.50) and those pizzas. I'm still hunting for a wrap that would ever make me order one instead of a sandwich, so I keep tasting them, hoping for the best.

Vince's Greek version ($5.95) is pretty yummy. Stuffed with sliced turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, black olives, cucumbers and feta, it packs a lot more flavor than your typical wrap, and the Greek dressing makes for a particularly nice condiment.

The service in the deli runs from great to fabulous, with constant refills on my soda and prompt dish delivery. Vince's only has two tables, and the gentlemen there make sure you feel right at home.

All in all, I tip my hat to @elenisokos, and encourage you to hit me up with your recommendations, too. I'm only as good as my spies on the ground. Got a place you think the world needs to know about? If it's cheap, I'm your man.

Vince's Produce Market & Deli
2230 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton
746-5405
This is the umpteenth entry in a weekly column dedicated to eats that are cheap. If you have an idea for a place to feature on Cheap Eats, comment below, email me at cheapeatssrq@gmail.com or hit me up on Twitter: @LeveyBaker.
Last modified: September 23, 2013
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