The Family-Owned Columbia Restaurant: Fl’s Oldest Eatery Produces an attractive Backdrop To Suit Your Passionate Minutes

The Short variation: Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant has served Spanish and Cuban-inspired meals and drinks that signify a long-standing genealogy and family history. Based by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia remains a regional favored simply because of its old-fashioned ingredients and personable service. Through the years, folks from all over the world have come on the glamorous bistro to celebrate involvements, anniversaries, birthdays, also monumental times. Today, the fourth and 5th years of this family members possesses and operates 13 different restaurants throughout Florida. If you’re looking for okay dining with a decent antique household feel, you can reserve a table for the spectacular and passionate eating spaces from the Columbia Restaurant.


For the past 3 decades, my family’s favorite holiday destination happens to be an oceanfront resort in Sand Key, Florida. We have gone there over twelve occasions to build mud castles, spot dolphins, and consume tasty meals on patios ignoring the gulf.

We thoroughly explored the city’s cafe choice, looking around out the most useful neighborhood bones about, but it just very takes place that the one bistro all of us enjoy a lot of is within strolling length your hotel. The Columbia eatery’s white-linen tablecloths, attentive solution, and mouth-watering meals enable it to be our very own go-to spot for lunch.

When we had been children, my personal moms and dads would order all of us a mozzarella cheese pizza as they went to this passionate Spanish restaurant alone; but we now enjoy tapas and wine equally as much because they would, so we’ve begun crashing their unique date night — sometimes taking along times of one’s own.

Since 1905, the Columbia eatery has wowed clients with Spanish and Cuban dishes and an old-world atmosphere. Though it’s the oldest bistro in Florida, the business enterprise continues to be operate by descendants associated with original founder. Every object on eating plan has an account behind it, and several of the quality recipes have now been handed over from one generation with the Hernandez Gonzmart household to a higher. Family members heritage is a huge area of the Columbia’s eating plan, history, and way of solution.

“the employees can also be quite like family members,” said Michael Kilgore, the main advertising Officer for Columbia. “Many of our employees stay for 20 or 30 years. Among situations we love about our grohook up girls near me is actually how long they stick to united states. They are available here and discover property.”

You may enjoy this comfy and inviting environment on the then night out by visiting any of the Columbia’s seven various restaurants. The Columbia Restaurant currently serves visitors in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater Beach, and Celebration. Whether you are drinking drink on a picturesque balcony or viewing flamenco dancers light the stage while you eat tapas, you’re certain to have a memorable evening on Columbia.

In 1905, a Cuban Immigrant Ran a Saloon That Became a Sensation

The Columbia Restaurant can trace their background back to Dec. 17, 1903 — alike day the Wright brothers effectively tried the world’s first aircraft. That has been whenever a Cuban immigrant named Casimiro Hernandez Sr. began running a saloon for a regional brewing business in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious entrepreneur switched the saloon into a favorite 60-seat cafe recognized for its authentic Cuban coffee and sandwiches. Following their success, Casimiro purchased a cafe or restaurant across the street and switched it into a striking dining room. In 1930, his daughter got more than ownership and operation with the thriving bistro.

Throughout the Great anxiety, his son Casimiro Jr. created 1st air-conditioned kitchen in Tampa. The guy hoped their trendy look and raised party floor would draw men and women to the restaurant that assist them forget their fears for every night. The Don Quixote place was a success, plus the Columbia could hold their doorways open although various other companies folded.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia on to their just child, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an accomplished musician who had fulfilled the woman husband, Cesar Gonzmart, within Tampa restaurant. This theatrical pair brought enjoyment and art towards Columbia, setting up a showroom that hosted lots of skilled Latin performers and performers. Under Adela and Cesar’s leadership, the Columbia extended to Sarasota also areas in Fl.

These days, among Adela and Cesar’s two sons has had the reins and held their family’s business heading. Richard Gonzmart might operating at his family members’ restaurants since he had been 12 yrs . old, thus he is intimately knowledgeable about their atmosphere and record. Richard can point to the table in the Columbia Restaurant where the guy with his girlfriend had their own basic go out a lot more than 43 years ago.

“there are many love right here, therefore we have the story,” stated Michael. “lower than 15 restaurants in the United States are family-owned and most a century outdated, so we’re in pretty elite business.”

Florida’s earliest restaurant has actually a happy and enduring record grounded on food, family members, and fun. Michael informed united states the fifth generation of founding household happens to be being groomed to take control of one day. Richard’s daughters and nephew took in energetic management parts during the restaurants and generally are prepared maintain the household custom choosing additional years into the future.

The Columbia happens to be acknowledged with some with the greatest awards during the restaurant market, such as induction into Nation’s eatery News’ “good food Hall of popularity,” gained the “notable Restaurants of America (SiRoNA) Award of quality,” Fl Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of Fame,” and Wine Spectator’s “good honor of Excellence.”

Search In! A Delectable Menu of Sharable Tapas & Indulgent Desserts

The Columbia eatery establishes a luxurious table and gives a wonderful escape from daily life. It seduces the senses as soon as you walk in the doorways. You are in the middle of greenery, h2o fountains, and artwork while the sounds of laughter plus the odors of fresh seafood meals waft through air. Before my personal order actually reaches me, my throat is often watering with expectation. The good news is, each guest becomes his or her very own recently produced loaf of Cuban loaves of bread, therefore I have one thing to satisfy my tastebuds while we wait.

The 14-page diet plan is full of good food but also provides simple talk starters for daters merely observing one another. Each entrée, appetizer, and dessert is sold with an enticing information also fascinating background details. As an instance, the restaurant’s coconut frozen dessert was a favorite of ice-cream business owner Gustavo Hernandez, the 3rd son in the initial Columbia president, and after this this nice meal is offered in his honor.

From the veggie paella (Spanish grain combined with satisfying vegetables) into the shrimp supreme (shrimp covered with wafer-thin bacon), the foods at the Columbia tend to be bursting with taste. The shareable dishes, called tapas, make this bistro suitable for partners on a romantic date because you may come better collectively by revealing tiny dishes of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or packed peppers. To make a budget-friendly food by ordering multiple among these appetizers together — keep in mind to save lots of area for treat!

The Très Amigos churros might possibly be a fantastic option for partners since they are tactile, nice, and merely some dirty. Possible dip the piping-hot churros in candy, caramel, or guava sauce so there’s something for all. Additionally, Columbia’s trademark White Chocolate Bread Pudding is actually an indulgent treat excellent for splitting with a romantic date that a taste for white candy and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler weblog called the Columbia eatery among St. Augustine’s top date-night places, motivating partners to “focus on Columbia’s well-known 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with a lot panache, and share an enormous platter from the Paella a la Valenciana, full of shellfish, fragrant rice, and chorizo.”

Your own romantic evening will be all the greater amount of satisfying should you set together with your food one cup of the Melanie Chardonnay, an abundant wine called after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school lover and spouse.

Plus, within Columbia eatery, the sangria is always to die for. Honestly, it comes down from the glass you could also divide a pitcher of white or purple sangria with a night out together to boost your eating experience. Generously huge slices of fruit float in the drink and infuse it with wealthy tastes. Whether you are buying this classic sangria or among the many bistro’s family members wines, the high-caliber drinks do not disappoint.

Michael told you the group makes an attempt to offer inexpensive however quality wines to whet guests’ appetites. “the drink selection must be completely suited to the foodstuff we serve and your price point,” he stated.

Many Couples & groups have actually Shared specialized Moments Here

When I think of this Columbia, In my opinion associated with evening we chose to have dessert for dinner, and my moms and dads bought churros, crucial lime pie, mango mousse meal, white chocolate bread pudding, and five spoons. I think of my personal twin-brother trying grouper for the first time on all of our twentieth birthday celebration and stating excitedly, “get my personal picture” because the guy planned to program their gf (that’s today his partner) that he liked taking fish around she performed.

In many ways, the Columbia is like our place, but my family isn’t the actual only real family members for generated thoughts during this cafe and its six sister places across Florida. People started to the restaurant whatsoever stages of life as it supplies a particular environment that pairs well with any function.

Famously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio had been frequent visitors associated with the Columbia during the early 1950s. The Columbia employees settled tribute towards the pair and the enjoying memories they shared in the restaurant by naming a dish after all of them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed combination of tenderloin recommendations, boneless chicken white meat, shrimp, and chicken — is a delicious reminder of the very long history of relationship in the Columbia’s dining spaces.

Whether you’re going on a first date or remembering a wedding anniversary, you will discover intimacy and love flourish in the smooth candlelight of Columbia Restaurant.

“It is one of the objectives,” Michael said, “having people feel like the Columbia is the perfect place to come to commemorate life’s milestones.”

The Columbia eatery offers group standards on the Table

The Columbia eatery charms daters with authentic meals, divine atmospheres, and personable solution. The machines, at least at all of our Columbia in Sand Key, look closely at their visitors and are generally rapid to say “Welcome straight back” to dedicated customers which, like my family, are time for the classy eating rooms over and over again.

This long-standing eating business features cultivated and altered throughout the decades, it hasn’t ever forgotten about the century-long family roots. Richard has actually challenging intentions to provide diners and daters throughout Florida during the years into the future. “our very own proprietor does not sleep,” Michael said with a laugh. “He’s always fantasizing right up something totally new.”

The Columbia group intentions to open at least two new restaurants within the upcoming decades. One will end up being conveniently found right across the street from original Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set to open in autumn 2018, pay respect to a tiny community in Sicily in which most Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants came from — the genuine selection will bring these people a delicious reminder of house.

Enduring leadership and high quality styles result in the Columbia Restaurant and all of their sibling restaurants genuinely impressive spots where singles and couples can invest an evening with those they like greatest.


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