Tampa's Brocato's Sandwich Shop files bankruptcy citing lingering debts from pandemic

Known for its Cuban sandwiches and devil crabs, the 76-year-old family business will continue to operate as it finds financial footing.
Brocato's said the restaurant was not able to catch up to debts incurred during Covid. | Photo: Shutterstock.

The 76-year-old Brocato’s Sandwich Shop in Tampa, Florida, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month, citing lingering debts from the pandemic.

A family operation since 1948, the iconic restaurant is known for its Cuban sandwiches, and stuffed potatoes, but it calls itself “the home of the best devil crabs in town.” Devil crabs appear to be like a stuffed fried crab cake.

In the May 8 filing, the company said the shop saw a substantial drop in revenue during Covid. Though it survived, the shop fell behind on tax payments and money owed to vendors.

Owner and president Michael Brocato listed the company’s assets as less than $50,000 and estimated liabilities range from $1 million to $10 million. The shop owes about $1.4 million, including $700,000 to the state Department of Revenue, according to court documents.

Sales have been improving. The company said gross revenues in 2022 were about $1.7 million, and reached over $2 million in 2023. Year to date, the sandwich shop had gross revenues of $741,000.

Brocato did not immediately return requests for more information, but the sandwich shop remains open through the reorganization.

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