Through thick and thin – and a pandemic – father-son duo lives dream of owning business together

The owners of a West Tampa sandwich shop – a father and son – teamed up to open their own business in West Tampa.

"I love it. I love it. We're always together. We're been always together since he was 11 years old," said Butch Gonzalez.

Butch and his son Bill have been living their dream of owning a restaurant together.

"We planned on doing this many years ago and we talked about it forever and then when I retired we said we would do it," said Butch. "Within six months we were working on it already, and here we are now seven years later."

They named their West Tampa eatery Gonzo's Sandwich Shop, which is located at 1902 North Himes Avenue.  

"It's the best. We get to hang out a lot also if I didn't work with him," Bill added. "He would call me constantly."

Bill is the chef. He picked up his culinary skills from his family.  

"Grandfather was a chef down in Miami. My great grandmother was an amazing cook," he said. "You could smell here food down the block."

The sandwich shop has hamburgers, Philly cheesesteaks, and Bill even has a signature sandwich he calls the West Tampa Cuban.

"It's got smoked ham, corn beef – which we substitute for salami because we make our own meats in house – pulled pork and Swiss cheese, bread and butter pickles, and mayonnaise and mustard," Bill described.

They say the pandemic was a rough time for their small business.

"We were able to just kind of keep going as we were. Make a few cuts here and there to what we were doing and we made it through it," Bill said.

For Bill, there is nothing like the satisfaction of feeding customers.

"Making something that somebody really enjoys there's something special about that. You get a good feeling. You get a good feeling for yourself," he said.

The business has been a great bonding experience for both of them.

"We have a really good time," said Butch. "We eat together all the time. We play golf all the time. He is like my best friend."

It is an unbreakable friendship of a father and son working together.

LINK: Learn more about Gonzo’s Sandwich Shop by clicking here.