The brief Version: Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant provides served Spanish and Cuban-inspired dishes and drinks that represent a long-standing genealogy. Created by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia stays a local preferred simply because of its conventional ingredients and personable solution. Through the years, folks from all around the globe came towards attractive cafe to commemorate involvements, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, also monumental times. Now, the 4th and 5th generations from the household owns and functions 13 various restaurants throughout Fl. If you’re looking for good dinner with a decent old-fashioned family members experience, you’ll reserve a table for the stunning and romantic dinner areas of this Columbia eatery.


For the past thirty years, my children’s favorite destination has-been an oceanfront resort in Sand Key, Fl. We have now gone there over twelve times to construct mud castles, area whales, and consume tasty dinners on patios overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

We’ve got completely discovered the city’s bistro selection, looking out the most readily useful regional bones about, it merely therefore occurs that one bistro we-all enjoy most is within walking length your hotel. The Columbia eatery’s white-linen tablecloths, mindful solution, and mouth-watering food succeed our very own go-to spot for dinner.

As soon as we happened to be children, my personal parents would order you a cheddar pizza as they visited this passionate Spanish bistro alone; however, we now enjoy tapas and wine just as much while they perform, so we’ve started crashing their own night out — occasionally delivering along dates in our very own.

Since 1905, the Columbia eatery features wowed clients with Spanish and Cuban meals and an old-world ambiance. Though itis the earliest cafe in Fl, business continues to be operate from the descendants on the original founder. Every product on selection has a story behind it, and lots of associated with the meals have been transmitted from one generation associated with Hernandez Gonzmart household to another location. Family heritage is an enormous part of the Columbia’s selection, history, and method to solution.

“the employees is slightly like family members,” said Michael Kilgore, the principle Marketing Officer for all the Columbia. “quite a few staff remain for 20 or thirty years. One of the situations we like about our very own team is just how long they stay with you. They are available right here in order to find a house.”

You may enjoy this comfortable and pleasant environment on the then night out by going to any of the Columbia’s seven different restaurants. The Columbia Restaurant currently acts visitors in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater seashore, and Celebration. Whether you’re drinking drink on a picturesque balcony or viewing flamenco performers illuminate the level when you take in tapas, you are certain to have an unforgettable evening at Columbia.

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

The Columbia Restaurant can locate their record back into Dec. 17, 1903 — similar time the Wright brothers effectively tested the world’s basic airplane. Which was when a Cuban immigrant called Casimiro Hernandez Sr. began running a saloon for a local making organization in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious business person switched the saloon into a popular 60-seat cafe noted for the real Cuban coffee-and snacks. Following their success, Casimiro purchased a restaurant across the street and converted it into an attractive kitchen. In 1930, their daughter got more than possession and operation in the thriving bistro.

During Great anxiety, their child Casimiro Jr. created the initial air-conditioned dining room in Tampa. He hoped the upscale appearance and raised party floor would draw individuals the restaurant and help them forget their particular fears for every night. The Don Quixote area had been a success, therefore the Columbia could keep their doorways open even though many other businesses folded.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia onto their only son or daughter, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an accomplished artist who’d came across the woman spouse, Cesar Gonzmart, on Tampa cafe. This theatrical pair introduced entertainment and art on Columbia, creating a showroom that managed a lot of talented Latin dancers and musicians. Under Adela and Cesar’s leadership, the Columbia extended to Sarasota along with other locations in Fl.

These days, one of Adela and Cesar’s two sons has brought the reins and held their family’s business going. Richard Gonzmart has become functioning at their family’s restaurants since he was 12 yrs . old, very he could be thoroughly acquainted their atmosphere and history. Richard can actually point to the table within Columbia eatery in which he along with his partner had their own first day a lot more than 43 years back.

“there are many romance right here, and in addition we have an excellent tale,” mentioned Michael. “not as much as 15 restaurants in america are family-owned and more than 100 years outdated, so we’re in pretty elite organization.”

Florida’s oldest cafe has a satisfied and enduring history rooted in meals, household, and fun. Michael informed you the fifth generation of the founding household happens to be getting groomed to take over one day. Richard’s daughters and nephew have taken in productive management parts during the restaurants and they are prepared keep your family practice going for even more years to come.

The Columbia has become known with a few associated with highest honours in the cafe business, such as induction into country’s Restaurant Information’ “okay Dining Hall of popularity,” gained the “notable Restaurants of America (SiRoNA) honor of Excellence,” Florida Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of Fame,” and Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of quality.”

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

The Columbia Restaurant sets a magnificent dining table and offers a delightful escape from daily life. It seduces your sensory faculties from the moment you walk-in the doorways. You’re surrounded by greenery, water fountains, and artwork as the sounds of laughter as well as the odors of new fish and shellfish meals waft through atmosphere. Before my personal order also reaches me personally, my personal mouth area is always watering with anticipation. Luckily, each guest will get their very own newly made loaf of Cuban bread, thus I have actually one thing to satisfy my personal tastebuds while we wait.

The 14-page menu is filled with good meals and provides easy conversation starters for daters simply observing one another. Each entrée, appetizer, and treat has an enticing information including fascinating background information. By way of example, the restaurant’s coconut ice-cream was actually a popular of ice cream business owner Gustavo Hernandez, the 3rd son of the initial Columbia president, now this sweet dish is supported within his respect.

From vegetarian paella (Spanish grain combined with hearty veggies) into shrimp supreme (shrimp wrapped in wafer-thin bacon), the foodstuffs within Columbia are bursting with flavor. The shareable dishes, called tapas, make this bistro well suited for lovers on a romantic date since you can come better together by sharing small plates of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or packed peppers. It is simple to generate a budget-friendly meal by purchasing many among these appetizers together — remember to save lots of room for dessert!

The Très Amigos churros might possibly be a great choice for lovers because they’re tactile, sweet, and simply only a little messy. It is possible to drop the piping-hot churros in chocolate, caramel, or guava sauce so there’s a little for everybody. In addition, Columbia’s trademark White Chocolate Bread Pudding is an indulgent treat excellent for splitting with a night out together that has a taste for white chocolate and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler web log named the Columbia Restaurant among St. Augustine’s leading date-night areas, encouraging couples to “begin with Columbia’s well-known 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with much panache, and discuss a massive platter associated with Paella a la Valenciana, filled with shellfish, fragrant grain, and chorizo.”

Your romantic night will be all more satisfying should you set along with your food one cup of the Melanie Chardonnay, a refreshing drink named after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school sweetheart and girlfriend.

Plus, in the Columbia eatery, the sangria is to die for. Honestly, referring from the cup you could additionally divide a pitcher of white or yellow sangria with a date to increase your dinner knowledge. Generously large slices of good fresh fruit float inside the drink and infuse it with rich types. Whether you’re ordering this classic sangria or the restaurant’s family members wines, the high-caliber beverages usually do not let you down.

Michael told united states the team can make an endeavor to offer affordable but top quality wines to whet friends’ appetites. “All of our wine option should-be completely suited to the foodstuff we serve and your price,” the guy said.

Countless Couples & groups have actually Shared Special Moments Here

When In my opinion for the Columbia, i do believe regarding the evening we decided to have treat for supper, and my personal parents purchased churros, important lime pie, mango mousse meal, white chocolate loaves of bread pudding, and five spoons. I believe of my twin brother attempting grouper for the first time on all of our 20th birthday celebration and saying excitedly, “Take my picture” because he planned to reveal their girlfriend (who’s today their girlfriend) that he liked taking fish whenever she did.

In a lot of techniques, the Columbia is like our very own spot, but my loved ones actually truly the only household to possess made memories only at that bistro and its particular six sister locations across Fl. People come to the bistro after all stages of existence given that it supplies a special atmosphere that sets well with any function.

Famously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio had been frequent visitors associated with the Columbia in the early 1950s. The Columbia team paid tribute with the few as well as the warm recollections they contributed from the cafe by naming a dish after all of them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed mixture of tenderloin ideas, boneless chicken white meat, shrimp, and chicken — is a tasty reminder of this long reputation for romance during the Columbia’s eating rooms.

Whether you are going on a primary time or celebrating a marriage anniversary, you’ll find intimacy and passion achieve the smooth candlelight in the Columbia eatery.

“It is one of our targets,” Michael stated, “to possess individuals feel as if the Columbia is the place to come calmly to commemorate life’s milestones.”

The Columbia eatery Brings Family standards to the Table

The Columbia eatery charms daters with genuine meals, divine atmospheres, and personable service. The hosts, no less than at our very own Columbia in Sand Key, look closely at their unique guests and tend to be quick to express “Welcome straight back” to devoted clients just who, like my children, are time for the stylish eating rooms time and time again.

This long-standing dining place has actually expanded and changed through the entire many years, however it has not forgotten the century-long family members sources. Richard features challenging intentions to provide diners and daters throughout Fl when you look at the years to come. “our very own owner doesn’t sleep,” Michael said with fun. “he is usually thinking right up something totally new.”

The Columbia group intends to open at the least two new restaurants from inside the impending years. One will be conveniently positioned correct across the street through the original Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set to start in fall 2018, will pay homage to a little community in Sicily in which a lot of Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants arrived from — the genuine eating plan will deliver these individuals a delicious note of home.

Suffering authority and top quality flavors result in the Columbia eatery and all its sibling restaurants truly remarkable locations where singles and lovers can invest an evening in the company of those they love finest.

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