The small variation: Since 1905, the Columbia eatery has offered Spanish and Cuban-inspired dishes and drinks that portray a long-standing family history. Based by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia stays a local favored due to the traditional ingredients and friendly service. Over time, people from all over the world came for the attractive restaurant to commemorate involvements, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, and various other monumental minutes. These days, the last and fifth generations of this family members owns and operates 13 various restaurants throughout Fl. If you’re looking for fine food with a decent conventional family experience, possible reserve a table in the stunning and passionate dining areas of the Columbia eatery.


Over the past thirty years, my children’s favored destination has been an oceanfront hotel in Sand Key, Fl. We have now eliminated there over 12 occasions to create sand castles, place dolphins, and eat tasty meals on patios ignoring the gulf coast of florida.

We thoroughly explored the city’s cafe choice, looking the actual most readily useful regional joints around, nevertheless only therefore takes place the one cafe most of us enjoy most is actually within taking walks distance your resort. The Columbia eatery’s white linen tablecloths, attentive solution, and mouth-watering meals ensure it is all of our go-to place for dinner.

When we happened to be children, my personal moms and dads would purchase us a mozzarella cheese pizza pie even though they visited this passionate Spanish bistro by yourself; however, we now enjoy tapas and wine as much because they carry out, so we’ve started crashing their own night out — sometimes getting along times of our very own.

Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant provides wowed patrons with Spanish and Cuban dishes and an old-world ambiance. Even though it’s the oldest restaurant in Florida, the organization remains operated by descendants regarding the initial creator. Every item on diet plan has a story behind it, and several from the meals were transmitted from one generation on the Hernandez Gonzmart household to another location. Family members tradition is a large an element of the Columbia’s menu, history, and approach to service.

„The staff normally somewhat like household,“ stated Michael Kilgore, the Chief advertising Officer for all the Columbia. „a number of our staff stay for 20 or thirty years. Among the things we love about our team is how long they stay with you. They come right here and find a house.“

You can enjoy this comfortable and welcoming atmosphere on the then night out by visiting any one of the Columbia’s seven various restaurants. The Columbia Restaurant at this time acts guests in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater Beach, and Celebration. Whether you are drinking wine on a picturesque balcony or enjoying flamenco performers light the level while you eat tapas, you’re sure to have an unforgettable night from the Columbia.

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

The Columbia Restaurant can locate its record back into Dec. 17, 1903 — the exact same day the Wright brothers successfully tried globally’s basic aircraft. That was whenever a Cuban immigrant named Casimiro Hernandez Sr. started operating a saloon for a regional making organization in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious entrepreneur switched the saloon into popular 60-seat cafe known for their genuine Cuban coffee-and snacks. Following his achievements, Casimiro purchased a restaurant next-door and changed it into a gorgeous living area. In 1930, his son got more than ownership and operation of this thriving cafe.

Throughout the Great Depression, their child Casimiro Jr. created the very first air-conditioned dining room in Tampa. He hoped their upscale look and elevated dancing flooring would draw individuals to the bistro that assist all of them forget about their particular worries for every night. The Don Quixote Room had been popular, and Columbia managed to keep their doors available although different companies folded.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia on to his only youngster, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an experienced artist who’d came across her husband, Cesar Gonzmart, on Tampa restaurant. This theatrical set delivered activity and artistry with the Columbia, developing a showroom that hosted a lot of talented Latin performers and musicians. Under Adela and Cesar’s authority, the Columbia extended to Sarasota as well as other places in Florida.

Nowadays, among Adela and Cesar’s two sons has had the reins and kept their family’s business heading. Richard Gonzmart might working at his family’s restaurants since he had been 12 yrs old, thus they are thoroughly familiar with their atmosphere and record. Richard can actually suggest the table during the Columbia Restaurant where he and his awesome spouse had their unique very first time significantly more than 43 in years past.

„there’s lots of love here, and we also have actually the story,“ said Michael. „under 15 restaurants in america are family-owned and most 100 years outdated, therefore we’re in pretty elite company.“

Fl’s oldest restaurant provides a pleased and enduring background rooted in food, family members, and fun. Michael informed all of us the fifth generation on the founding family members happens to be being groomed to dominate eventually. Richard’s daughters and nephew have taken on effective administration parts in the restaurants consequently they are ready to keep your family members heritage choosing more a long time.

The Columbia is known with a few associated with the greatest honors into the bistro business, such as induction into country’s eatery Information‘ „Fine eating Hall of Fame,“ obtained the „Distinguished Restaurants of united states (SiRoNA) honor of Excellence,“ Fl Trend’s „Golden Spoon Hall of Fame,“ and Wine Spectator’s „good Award of Excellence.“

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

The Columbia eatery establishes a magnificent dining table and provides an enjoyable getting away from everyday activity. It seduces your own sensory faculties as soon as you walk in the doorways. You are surrounded by greenery, water fountains, and artwork just like the noises of fun while the smells of new fish and shellfish meals waft through the environment. Before my personal purchase even extends to me, my personal throat is always watering with expectation. Luckily for us, each guest becomes his / her very own newly produced loaf of Cuban breads, thus I have one thing to meet my personal preferences while I wait.

The 14-page selection is filled with good food and supplies simple conversation starters for daters merely getting to know the other person. Each entrée, appetizer, and treat has an enticing description along with interesting history information. For-instance, the restaurant’s coconut ice cream had been a well liked of ice-cream business person Gustavo Hernandez, the 3rd daughter in the original Columbia president, and after this this nice meal is actually offered inside the honor.

Through the vegetarian paella (Spanish grain mixed with hearty vegetables) to the shrimp great (shrimp wrapped in wafer-thin bacon), the foodstuffs from the Columbia tend to be bursting with flavor. The shareable dishes, called tapas, get this restaurant well suited for couples on a romantic date since you may come better with each other by discussing small dishes of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or stuffed peppers. You can easily generate a budget-friendly dinner by purchasing various of those appetizers together — keep in mind to truly save space for dessert!

The Très Amigos churros would be an excellent option for lovers since they are tactile, sweet, and merely slightly messy. You’ll drop the piping-hot churros in candy, caramel, or guava sauce so there’s a little something for all. Additionally, Columbia’s trademark White Chocolate Bread Pudding is actually an indulgent dessert excellent for splitting with a romantic date that a taste for white candy and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler web log known as the Columbia Restaurant among St. Augustine’s top date-night spots, motivating partners to „begin with Columbia’s famous 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with much panache, then discuss a massive plate from the Paella a la Valenciana, filled with shellfish, fragrant rice, and chorizo.“

Your own intimate evening will be-all the greater amount of pleasurable should you pair along with your meal one glass of the Melanie Chardonnay, a refreshing drink called after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school sweetheart and partner.

Plus, at Columbia Restaurant, the sangria is to perish for. Severely, it comes by cup but you can in addition separate a pitcher of white or yellow sangria with a romantic date to boost your own food knowledge. Nicely huge pieces of fruit float from inside the drink and infuse it with wealthy styles. Whether you are ordering this traditional sangria or one of the bistro’s family wines, the high-caliber products never let you down.

Michael told united states the group can make an endeavor to provide affordable yet top quality wines to whet guests‘ appetites. „the wine option must perfectly designed for the meals we offer as well as your price point,“ he mentioned.

Many partners & groups have actually Shared Special times Here

When In my opinion from the Columbia, In my opinion with the night we decided to have treat for lunch, and my moms and dads purchased churros, essential lime pie, mango mousse meal, white chocolate bread dessert, and five spoons. In my opinion of my twin brother attempting grouper for the first time on our twentieth birthday and stating excitedly, „get my personal image“ because the guy wished to show his sweetheart (that is today their girlfriend) which he liked taking fish up to she did.

In a lot of ways, the Columbia feels as though all of our place, but my family actually the only real household to possess generated recollections during this bistro as well as its six sister locations across Fl. Folks arrived at the bistro anyway phases of life since it provides an unique atmosphere that pairs well with any celebration.

Notoriously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio happened to be repeated visitors from the Columbia in early 1950s. The Columbia team settled tribute to your couple and also the loving thoughts they contributed at restaurant by naming a dish after all of them. The Marilyn & Joe „Salteado“ — a sautéed blend of tenderloin guidelines, boneless chicken white meat, shrimp, and chicken — is actually a delicious note in the lengthy history of relationship inside the Columbia’s dining areas.

Whether you are happening a first time or remembering a wedding anniversary, you’ll find closeness and passion flourish in the gentle candlelight of this Columbia Restaurant.

„It is our targets,“ Michael mentioned, „having men and women feel as if the Columbia is where to get to celebrate life’s milestones.“

The Columbia Restaurant Brings household standards toward Table

The Columbia eatery charms daters with genuine dishes, divine atmospheres, and personable solution. The computers, at the least at the Columbia in Sand Key, look closely at their particular guests and generally are rapid to say „Welcome straight back“ to faithful consumers exactly who, like my loved ones, end up returning to the stylish dining spaces time and time again.

This long-standing dining place has actually grown and changed through the entire years, it hasn’t forgotten about its century-long family sources. Richard provides ambitious plans to serve diners and daters throughout Florida during the years to come. „Our manager doesn’t rest,“ Michael mentioned with a laugh. „He’s constantly thinking up something new.“

The Columbia group intentions to open up at least two brand-new restaurants in the upcoming many years. One will be conveniently located correct down the street from the initial Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set-to open up in fall 2018, will probably pay respect to a tiny community in Sicily in which a majority of Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants came from — the authentic menu is designed to bring these households a tasty indication of home.

Suffering management and high quality types improve Columbia Restaurant and all sorts of their sibling restaurants truly remarkable locations where singles and lovers can spend a night with those they like greatest.