The Family-Owned Columbia Restaurant: Fl’s Oldest Restaurant Produces a Beautiful Background For The Intimate Moments

The small variation: Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant features offered Spanish and Cuban-inspired dishes and drinks that express a long-standing genealogy. Founded by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia stays a local favored because of its conventional meals and personable service. Throughout the years, folks from world-wide attended on the glamorous restaurant to commemorate engagements, anniversaries, birthdays, alongside monumental times. Now, the last and fifth generations associated with the household has and runs 13 various restaurants throughout Florida. If you’re searching for good food with a good traditional family members feel, you’ll be able to reserve a table inside the spectacular and enchanting food spaces of the Columbia eatery.


Over the past 30 years, my loved ones’s favorite holiday destination has-been an oceanfront lodge in Sand Key, Fl. We have gone there over twelve occasions to build sand castles, place dolphins, and eat delicious meals on patios overlooking the gulf.

We thoroughly explored the city’s restaurant choice, looking around out of the most useful regional joints about, but it only so occurs that one bistro each of us enjoy a lot of is actually within taking walks range of your hotel. The Columbia Restaurant’s white-linen tablecloths, attentive solution, and mouth-watering food make it all of our go-to spot for lunch.

When we were kids, my personal moms and dads would get us a cheese pizza while they went to this passionate Spanish bistro by yourself; but we have now enjoy tapas and drink equally as much while they would, so we’ve begun crashing their own night out — sometimes taking along dates of our own.

Since 1905, the Columbia eatery has wowed clients with Spanish and Cuban meals and an old-world atmosphere. Even though itis the earliest cafe in Florida, business is still operate because of the descendants on the original creator. Every product about menu has actually a story behind it, and lots of regarding the recipes have now been transmitted from one generation associated with Hernandez Gonzmart family members to another. Household custom is a huge the main Columbia’s selection, background, and method to solution.

“the employees can slightly like family,” stated Michael Kilgore, the principle Marketing Officer for the Columbia. “Many of our workers remain for 20 or 30 years. The things we love about our party is actually how long they stay with all of us. They come right here and discover a property.”

You can enjoy this comfortable and inviting environment on your subsequent night out by visiting any one of the Columbia’s seven various restaurants. The Columbia eatery at this time serves guests in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater seashore, and Celebration. Whether you are sipping wine on a picturesque balcony or viewing flamenco dancers light up the level even though you take in tapas, you are sure to have an unforgettable evening within Columbia.

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

The Columbia eatery can locate its history back to Dec. 17, 1903 — the same time the Wright brothers effectively tested the whole world’s first plane. That was whenever a Cuban immigrant known as Casimiro Hernandez Sr. started working a saloon for a local making organization in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious business owner switched the saloon into a popular 60-seat cafe recognized for their real Cuban coffee-and sandwiches. After his achievements, Casimiro ordered a cafe or restaurant nearby and switched it into a striking kitchen. In 1930, his child got over ownership and process associated with thriving cafe.

While in the Great anxiety, their son Casimiro Jr. built the first air-conditioned living area in Tampa. He hoped the trendy look and raised dancing floor would draw visitors to the bistro and help them forget about their worries for every night. The Don Quixote Room had been popular, additionally the Columbia managed to keep the doors available while many some other organizations collapsed.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia onto their just kid, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an accomplished artist who had came across her husband, Cesar Gonzmart, in the Tampa restaurant. This theatrical set brought enjoyment and artistry to the Columbia, establishing a showroom that managed lots of talented Latin performers and performers. Under Adela and Cesar’s management, the Columbia extended to Sarasota alongside places in Florida.

These days, one of Adela and Cesar’s two sons has had the reins and held their family members’ business heading. Richard Gonzmart happens to be functioning at their family members’ restaurants since he had been 12 years old, therefore he or she is intimately familiar with their atmosphere and background. Richard can point out the dining table at Columbia eatery where he and his spouse had their particular first big date a lot more than 43 in years past.

“there are many love here, therefore have outstanding tale,” said Michael. “around 15 restaurants in the us are family-owned and more than 100 years old, therefore we’re in pretty elite company.”

Florida’s earliest bistro has a pleased and enduring record rooted in food, family, and fun. Michael informed all of us the 5th generation of the founding family is now becoming groomed to take over one day. Richard’s daughters and nephew took in energetic control parts from the restaurants and therefore are willing to keep consitently the household custom choosing even more years to come.

The Columbia happens to be recognized with some of greatest honours into the restaurant business, such as induction into country’s eatery Information’ “Fine eating Hall of Fame,” attained the “Distinguished Restaurants of America (SiRoNA) honor of Excellence,” Fl Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of popularity,” and Wine Spectator’s “Best of honor of quality.”

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

The Columbia eatery establishes a lavish table and provides a wonderful escape from everyday life. It seduces the sensory faculties from the moment you walk-in the doors. You’re in the middle of greenery, drinking water fountains, and artwork because the noises of fun therefore the odors of new seafood meals waft through environment. Before my order actually extends to myself, my mouth area is definitely watering with expectation. Thankfully, each visitor will get his/her very own recently produced loaf of Cuban loaves of bread, and so I have actually one thing to please my tastebuds while we wait.

The 14-page diet plan is filled with great meals but supplies simple dialogue starters for daters just getting to know one another. Each entrée, appetizer, and treat comes with an enticing explanation including interesting background details. By way of example, the restaurant’s coconut frozen dessert had been a well liked of frozen dessert business owner Gustavo Hernandez, the third child associated with the original Columbia president, and today this nice meal is offered within his respect.

From the veggie paella (Spanish grain combined with satisfying vegetables) to your shrimp great (shrimp wrapped in wafer-thin bacon), the foods during the Columbia tend to be bursting with taste. The shareable plates, also known as tapas, get this to cafe perfect for lovers on a date as you may come better with each other by revealing small dishes of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or packed peppers. It is simple to generate a budget-friendly meal by purchasing a number of of the appetizers with each other — remember to save lots of area for treat!

The Très Amigos churros might be an outstanding option for partners since they are tactile, nice, and merely a tiny bit messy. You’ll drop the piping-hot churros in candy, caramel, or guava sauce generally there’s something for all. In addition, Columbia’s trademark White Chocolate Bread Pudding is an indulgent treat excellent for splitting with a date who has a taste for white candy and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler weblog named the Columbia Restaurant among St. Augustine’s leading date-night areas, motivating couples to “start out with Columbia’s well-known 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with much panache, right after which discuss a huge plate in the Paella a la Valenciana, overflowing with shellfish, fragrant rice, and chorizo.”

Your enchanting evening will be-all the greater amount of pleasurable if you combine together with your meal a glass of the Melanie Chardonnay, a rich drink known as after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school lover and partner.

Plus, in the Columbia Restaurant, the sangria is die for. Seriously, it comes down by the cup but you can in addition split a pitcher of white or red-colored sangria with a date to increase your eating knowledge. Nicely large cuts of fresh fruit float within the drink and infuse it with wealthy flavors. Whether you’re purchasing this traditional sangria or one of several restaurant’s household wines, the high-caliber drinks dont disappoint.

Michael told united states the group can make an effort to offer affordable however quality wines to whet visitors’ appetites. “our very own drink selection must certanly be completely fitted to the meals we provide as well as your price,” the guy mentioned.

Many Couples & groups have actually Shared particular times Here

When In my opinion associated with Columbia, i believe associated with the evening we decided to have treat for supper, and my personal parents bought churros, essential lime pie, mango mousse meal, white candy loaves of bread dessert, and five spoons. I believe of my twin-brother attempting grouper the very first time on the 20th birthday celebration and saying excitedly, “simply take my image” because he wanted to reveal their sweetheart (who is now their spouse) that he liked taking fish around she performed.

In so many techniques, the Columbia feels like the location, but my children isn’t the only family members for generated thoughts as of this cafe as well as its six sister areas across Florida. Individuals started to the restaurant whatsoever phases of life because it provides an unique atmosphere that sets well with any special event.

Famously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio happened to be constant guests of this Columbia during the early 1950s. The Columbia staff members settled tribute to your pair as well as the loving thoughts they provided in the bistro by naming a dish after all of them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed mixture of tenderloin tips, boneless chicken breast, shrimp, and chicken — is a tasty reminder in the very long reputation of relationship in Columbia’s eating spaces.

Whether you’re going on an initial day or celebrating a wedding anniversary, you will discover intimacy and passion achieve the soft candlelight on the Columbia Restaurant.

“its our objectives,” Michael mentioned, “getting people feel as if the Columbia is the place to come quickly to celebrate existence’s goals.”

The Columbia eatery has Family standards for the Table

The Columbia eatery charms daters with genuine meals, divine atmospheres, and friendly solution. The computers, at the least at our very own Columbia in Sand Key, pay attention to their friends as they are rapid to say “Welcome back” to dedicated customers which, like my children, are returning to the classy dining spaces over repeatedly.

This long-standing eating institution features expanded and changed through the decades, nevertheless hasn’t forgotten its century-long family members origins. Richard provides challenging intends to offer diners and daters throughout Florida during the many years to come. “All of our manager doesn’t sleep,” Michael mentioned with fun. “He’s usually dreaming upwards new things.”

The Columbia group intends to start at the least two brand-new restaurants for the upcoming many years. One will be easily found appropriate across the street from the original Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set to open in autumn 2018, can pay homage to a little town in Sicily in which a majority of Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants emerged from — the genuine menu will bring these family members a delicious note of house.

Enduring leadership and top quality flavors make the Columbia eatery and all of the aunt restaurants really great spots where single doctors looking for loves and lovers can spend an evening together with those they like finest.