The Short variation: Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant provides served Spanish and Cuban-inspired meals and drinks that portray a long-standing genealogy. Created by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia remains an area favorite due to its traditional foods and friendly service. Throughout the years, individuals from all over the globe attended with the attractive bistro to celebrate engagements, anniversaries, birthdays, along with other monumental moments. Now, the last and 5th generations for the family possesses and runs 13 different restaurants throughout Florida. If you’re searching for good food with a decent old-fashioned family experience, you can reserve a table when you look at the stunning and passionate eating rooms of this Columbia Restaurant.


Over the past 3 decades, my family’s preferred holiday destination was an oceanfront resort in Sand Key, Florida. We have eliminated there over a dozen occasions to construct mud castles, spot dolphins, and eat delicious dishes on patios ignoring the gulf.

We’ve thoroughly investigated town’s restaurant choice, looking around from greatest regional bones around, nevertheless only therefore occurs your one bistro most of us enjoy most is within taking walks range of our own lodge. The Columbia Restaurant’s white linen tablecloths, mindful service, and mouth-watering meals succeed our go-to area for supper.

As soon as we happened to be children, my moms and dads would purchase us a parmesan cheese pizza pie while they visited this intimate Spanish cafe by yourself; but we currently enjoy tapas and wine equally as much as they do, therefore we’ve started crashing their unique night out — occasionally getting along times your very own.

Since 1905, the Columbia eatery has wowed clients with Spanish and Cuban meals and an old-world ambiance. Though itis the oldest restaurant in Fl, the business enterprise remains operated by the descendants for the original creator. Every item about diet plan has actually a story behind it, and several on the quality recipes happen handed over from one generation of Hernandez Gonzmart family to the next. Family heritage is an enormous area of the Columbia’s menu, record, and method to service.

“The staff is a bit like household,” mentioned Michael Kilgore, the main Marketing Officer for the Columbia. “Many of our staff stay for 20 or thirty years. The things we love about the party is how much time they stick to us. They show up here and find property.”

You may enjoy this comfy and inviting environment on your own next night out when you go to any of the Columbia’s seven various restaurants. The Columbia eatery presently serves friends in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater Beach, and Celebration. Whether you are drinking drink on a picturesque balcony or seeing flamenco performers light up the phase even though you eat tapas, you’re certain to have an unforgettable night at the Columbia.

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

The Columbia eatery can track the background back once again to Dec. 17, 1903 — similar day the Wright brothers effectively tested the entire world’s basic airplane. That was when a Cuban immigrant called Casimiro Hernandez Sr. started running a saloon for a regional making business in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious entrepreneur switched the saloon into a well known 60-seat cafe known for its genuine Cuban coffee and snacks. After their success, Casimiro ordered a restaurant next-door and switched it into an attractive kitchen. In 1930, his daughter got over control and process of this thriving cafe.

Throughout the Great anxiety, their child Casimiro Jr. built one air-conditioned dining area in Tampa. He hoped their upscale look and elevated dancing flooring would draw men and women to the cafe which help them forget about their particular concerns for per night. The Don Quixote place was actually a success, additionally the Columbia could hold the doorways open while many various other companies collapsed.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia onto his only youngster, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an accomplished artist who’d came across her partner, Cesar Gonzmart, in the Tampa cafe. This theatrical pair brought activity and artistry to the Columbia, creating a showroom that hosted many talented Latin dancers and artists. Under Adela and Cesar’s management, the Columbia expanded to Sarasota alongside areas in Fl.

Today, one of Adela and Cesar’s two sons has had the reins and held his family’s business going. Richard Gonzmart was functioning at their family’s restaurants since he was 12 years of age, therefore he is intimately knowledgeable about their atmosphere and background. Richard can actually indicate the table at Columbia eatery in which the guy and his spouse had their very first go out more than 43 in years past.

“there are plenty of relationship here, therefore have actually the story,” said Michael. “Less than 15 restaurants in america are family-owned and more than a century outdated, therefore we’re in pretty elite company.”

Fl’s oldest bistro has actually a satisfied and enduring history rooted in meals, family members, and fun. Michael informed you the 5th generation of this founding family is currently being groomed to dominate one day. Richard’s daughters and nephew have chosen to take in active administration parts during the restaurants and are ready to keep the family members practice choosing even more years into the future.

The Columbia has-been recognized with a few of this greatest honors within the bistro sector, including induction into Nation’s eatery News’ “Fine food Hall of popularity,” won the “notable Restaurants of united states (SiRoNA) Award of quality,” Fl Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of popularity,” and Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence.”

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

The Columbia eatery establishes a lavish dining table and provides a delightful getting away from every day life. It seduces your own senses from the moment you walk-in the doorways. You are surrounded by greenery, liquid fountains, and artwork just like the noises of fun and also the scents of new fish dishes waft through atmosphere. Before my personal purchase also reaches me personally, my mouth area is always watering with anticipation. Luckily, each visitor will get his or her very own newly generated loaf of Cuban breads, so I have one thing to fulfill my personal tastebuds while we wait.

The 14-page selection is full of good food but additionally provides easy conversation beginners for daters only learning the other person. Each entrée, appetizer, and treat comes with an enticing description along with fascinating back ground details. By way of example, the cafe’s coconut ice-cream was a preferred of frozen dessert business person Gustavo Hernandez, the 3rd child of initial Columbia founder, now this nice dish is actually offered within his respect.

Through the vegetarian paella (Spanish rice mixed with satisfying greens) on shrimp supreme (shrimp covered with wafer-thin bacon), the foods within Columbia tend to be bursting with flavor. The shareable plates, called tapas, get this to restaurant well suited for partners on a night out together because you can come closer together by revealing small plates of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or stuffed peppers. It is possible to generate a budget-friendly dinner by purchasing several among these appetizers together — remember to truly save area for treat!

The Très Amigos churros might be an outstanding option for partners since they are tactile, sweet, and just some messy. It is possible to drop the piping-hot churros in candy, caramel, or guava sauce so there’s a little something for everybody. Additionally, Columbia’s trademark White Chocolate Bread Pudding is actually an indulgent treat ideal for splitting with a date having a taste for white chocolate and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler weblog named the Columbia Restaurant among St. Augustine’s top date-night spots, promoting lovers to “start with Columbia’s well-known 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with much panache, and then share an enormous platter with the Paella a la Valenciana, full of shellfish, aromatic rice, and chorizo.”

Your enchanting evening will be-all the greater number of enjoyable any time you set together with your dinner one glass of the Melanie Chardonnay, a rich drink named after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school lover and partner.

Plus, on Columbia Restaurant, the sangria would be to die for. Severely, it comes of the cup you could additionally separate a pitcher of white or yellow sangria with a romantic date to boost the dinner knowledge. Nicely large slices of good fresh fruit drift in drink and infuse it with rich types. Whether you are purchasing this classic sangria or one of many cafe’s household wines, the high-caliber products cannot let you down.

Michael informed us the team tends to make an endeavor to provide inexpensive however top quality wines to whet visitors’ appetites. “Our drink selection need completely designed for the foodstuff we provide and your selling price,” the guy stated.

Countless partners & groups Have Shared particular times Here

When i believe regarding the Columbia, In my opinion associated with the evening we made a decision to have treat for dinner, and my personal moms and dads purchased churros, essential lime pie, mango mousse dessert, white chocolate loaves of bread dessert, and five spoons. I think of my personal twin-brother attempting grouper for the first time on our twentieth birthday and claiming excitedly, “Take my personal image” because he desired to show their sweetheart (who is now their girlfriend) which he loved eating fish around she did.

In a lot of methods, the Columbia feels like our very own location, but my family isn’t the only real family members getting generated memories only at that bistro and its particular six sister locations across Florida. People arrived at the restaurant whatsoever phases of life given that it supplies a particular atmosphere that sets really with any special event.

Famously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were frequent guests for the Columbia during the early 1950s. The Columbia personnel paid tribute on the couple as well as the loving memories they provided at cafe by naming a dish after them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed blend of tenderloin recommendations, boneless chicken white meat, shrimp, and chicken — is a delicious reminder in the very long reputation of relationship for the Columbia’s eating areas.

Whether you are happening a primary go out or honoring a wedding anniversary, you will discover intimacy and love flourish in the soft candlelight of the Columbia eatery.

“It is a goals,” Michael said, “to possess men and women feel as if the Columbia is the place to get to commemorate life’s goals.”

The Columbia Restaurant offers group standards on the Table

The Columbia eatery charms daters with authentic dishes, divine atmospheres, and personable solution. The servers, at least at our very own Columbia in Sand Key, pay attention to their unique friends as they are rapid to express “Welcome back” to devoted consumers exactly who, like my family, end up going back to the stylish dining areas over repeatedly.

This long-standing eating institution has actually expanded and changed in the decades, however it has never disregarded the century-long family members sources. Richard has bold intends to provide diners and daters throughout Fl inside the many years to come. “Our proprietor doesn’t sleep,” Michael said with a laugh. “he is usually fantasizing upwards something new.”

The Columbia team plans to open at least two new restaurants in the upcoming years. One will be easily situated correct across the street from initial Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set-to start in autumn 2018, pay homage to a little village in Sicily where a lot of Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants came from — the real menu will bring these family members a delicious indication of residence.

Enduring leadership and quality styles result in the Columbia eatery as well as their aunt restaurants genuinely amazing locations where singles and lovers can spend a night together with those they like best.

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