The Quick Version: Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant has offered Spanish and Cuban-inspired dishes and beverages that represent a long-standing genealogy. Based by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia continues to be a local favorite due to its traditional ingredients and friendly service. Throughout the years, individuals from world-wide attended to your glamorous cafe to celebrate engagements, anniversaries, birthdays, also monumental times. Nowadays, the fourth and 5th generations with the family is the owner of and runs 13 various restaurants throughout Fl. If you’re looking for okay eating with a decent conventional household experience, possible reserve a table from inside the stunning and romantic dinner areas with the Columbia Restaurant.


For the past 3 decades, my children’s favorite holiday destination has been an oceanfront lodge in Sand Key, Fl. We have now eliminated truth be told there over 12 occasions to construct sand castles, area whales, and consume delicious dinners on patios overlooking the gulf coast of florida.

There is thoroughly explored the town’s bistro choice, searching out of the most readily useful local joints about, but it simply very occurs that the one restaurant we enjoy a lot of is within strolling length your hotel. The Columbia eatery’s white linen tablecloths, mindful service, and mouth-watering meals enable it to be all of our go-to spot for lunch.

Whenever we happened to be kids, my parents would get united states a cheddar pizza pie while they visited this enchanting Spanish cafe by yourself; however, we have now enjoy tapas and drink equally as much as they perform, therefore we’ve begun crashing their own date night — sometimes taking along times in our very own.

Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant has actually wowed clients with Spanish and Cuban meals and an old-world ambiance. Although it’s the oldest cafe in Florida, the company still is operated of the descendants of this initial creator. Every object from the menu provides an account behind it, and lots of associated with meals being handed over from one generation with the Hernandez Gonzmart household to a higher. Family practice is a large a portion of the Columbia’s diet plan, background, and method of solution.

“the employees is also a little like household,” mentioned Michael Kilgore, the Chief Marketing Officer the Columbia. “quite a few staff members stay for 20 or three decades. The things we like about the party is how long they stick with all of us. They come here and find a property.”

You may enjoy this comfortable and inviting atmosphere on your own then date night when you go to any one of the Columbia’s seven various restaurants. The Columbia Restaurant presently serves guests in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater seashore, and party. Whether you are drinking drink on a picturesque balcony or viewing flamenco performers illuminate the phase while you eat tapas, you are certain to have an unforgettable evening at the Columbia.

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

The Columbia Restaurant can locate their background to Dec. 17, 1903 — equivalent day the Wright brothers successfully tested globally’s first aircraft. Which was when a Cuban immigrant known as Casimiro Hernandez Sr. began working a saloon for an area preparing business in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious business owner switched the saloon into a favorite 60-seat cafe noted for its genuine Cuban coffee and snacks. Following their success, Casimiro bought a restaurant next-door and switched it into a striking dining room. In 1930, his daughter took more than control and procedure of this flourishing cafe.

During Great Depression, his boy Casimiro Jr. built the very first air-conditioned living area in Tampa. The guy hoped the trendy appearance and elevated dancing flooring would draw people to the cafe and help them forget about their particular concerns for every night. The Don Quixote place had been popular, in addition to Columbia could hold the doors available although other organizations folded.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia to his just youngster, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an accomplished artist who had satisfied the woman spouse, Cesar Gonzmart, within Tampa cafe. This theatrical set delivered activity and artistry to the Columbia, creating a showroom that hosted lots of talented Latin dancers and artists. Under Adela and Cesar’s authority, the Columbia extended to Sarasota and other places in Fl.

These days, certainly Adela and Cesar’s two sons has brought the reins and held their family members’ business heading. Richard Gonzmart is working at his family’s restaurants since he had been 12 years of age, so he is thoroughly acquainted with their atmosphere and background. Richard can suggest the table at the Columbia eatery in which the guy and his awesome wife had their particular very first day over 43 years ago.

“There’s a lot of romance here, and now we have outstanding tale,” said Michael. “Less than 15 restaurants in america are family-owned and more than a century outdated, so we’re in pretty elite organization.”

Fl’s oldest bistro features a satisfied and enduring background grounded on meals, household, and enjoyable. Michael told united states the 5th generation on the founding family members is now becoming groomed to take over eventually. Richard’s daughters and nephew have chosen to take on energetic control functions at restaurants and are also prepared keep the family members practice choosing even more years into the future.

The Columbia has been acknowledged with associated with the highest awards from inside the cafe industry, including induction into Nation’s Restaurant News’ “okay Dining Hall of popularity,” won the “notable Restaurants of North America (SiRoNA) honor of Excellence,” Fl Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of popularity,” and Wine Spectator’s “better of Award of Excellence.”

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

The Columbia eatery establishes a magnificent table and a wonderful getting away from daily life. It seduces the sensory faculties from the moment you walk-in the doorways. You’re in the middle of greenery, liquid fountains, and artwork just like the sounds of laughter together with scents of new fish and shellfish meals waft through environment. Before my personal order actually gets to myself, my personal throat is obviously watering with expectation. The good news is, each guest gets his or her own freshly made loaf of Cuban breads, so I have actually something you should fulfill my taste buds while I wait.

The 14-page diet plan is filled with great food but also supplies simple talk starters for daters just getting to know the other person. Each entrée, appetizer, and dessert boasts an enticing information and interesting back ground details. By way of example, the bistro’s coconut frozen dessert had been a well liked of frozen dessert business owner Gustavo Hernandez, the third daughter associated with the original Columbia founder, and after this this sweet recipe is actually offered inside the respect.

Through the vegetarian paella (Spanish grain blended with satisfying greens) for the shrimp great (shrimp wrapped in wafer-thin bacon), the foodstuffs in the Columbia tend to be bursting with flavor. The shareable dishes, called tapas, make this cafe ideal for partners on a date since you may come better together by discussing little dishes of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or packed peppers. It’s easy to create a budget-friendly food by ordering a couple of of those appetizers with each other — keep in mind to truly save area for dessert!

The Très Amigos churros could well be an excellent option for couples since they are tactile, sweet, and simply somewhat messy. It is possible to dip the piping-hot churros in candy, caramel, or guava sauce so there’s a little something for everyone. Positive, Columbia’s trademark light Chocolate Bread Pudding is actually an indulgent treat perfect for splitting with a romantic date who’s got 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 areas, encouraging lovers to “start with Columbia’s famous 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with much panache, after which share an enormous plate with the Paella a la Valenciana, overflowing with shellfish, aromatic grain, and chorizo.”

Your own intimate evening will be-all the greater amount of satisfying should you pair with your dinner one glass of the Melanie Chardonnay, a rich wine named after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school sweetheart and partner.

Plus, in the Columbia eatery, the sangria will be die for. Honestly, it comes down by the glass you could in addition separate a pitcher of white or red sangria with a date to boost your own dinner experience. Generously big slices of fresh fruit drift when you look at the drink and infuse it with wealthy flavors. Whether you’re buying this classic sangria or one of several bistro’s family members wines, the high-caliber beverages cannot let you down.

Michael told you the team can make an attempt to supply inexpensive yet quality wines to whet visitors’ appetites. “the wine option needs to be completely suited for the foodstuff we provide as well as your price point,” the guy mentioned.

Countless partners & groups have actually Shared specialized times Here

When In my opinion for the Columbia, i believe on the evening we decided to have dessert for dinner, and my parents bought churros, important lime pie, mango mousse dessert, white chocolate loaves of bread pudding, and five spoons. I think of my personal twin-brother attempting grouper the very first time on the 20th birthday celebration and claiming excitedly, “Take my image” because the guy planned to program their girl (that’s now his wife) he enjoyed taking in fish everything she did.

In plenty means, the Columbia is like our very own destination, but my children actually really the only household for made recollections during that bistro as well as its six sister places across Fl. Individuals arrived at the restaurant whatsoever phases of existence because it supplies an unique atmosphere that pairs well with any occasion.

Famously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio happened to be frequent friends of Columbia during the early 1950s. The Columbia team paid tribute towards few plus the enjoying memories they provided at cafe by naming a dish after them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed blend of tenderloin ideas, boneless chicken, shrimp, and pork — is a tasty reminder of this extended history of relationship for the Columbia’s dining spaces.

Whether you are going on a primary date or remembering a wedding anniversary, you will discover intimacy and enthusiasm achieve the comfortable candlelight in the Columbia eatery.

“It’s one of the goals,” Michael said, “to own people feel like the Columbia is the place to come calmly to commemorate existence’s milestones.”

The Columbia eatery offers group Values on Table

The Columbia Restaurant charms daters with real meals, divine atmospheres, and personable service. The machines, at least at our Columbia in Sand Key, look closely at their own friends and are quick to express “Welcome back” to dedicated customers which, like my children, are going back to the stylish eating spaces over and over repeatedly.

This long-standing dining organization features expanded and changed for the years, nevertheless hasn’t forgotten its century-long family origins. Richard features ambitious intends to offer diners and daters throughout Florida in the years into the future. “Our owner does not sleep,” Michael mentioned with fun. “he is usually thinking upwards new things.”

The Columbia group plans to start about two new restaurants when you look at the following years. One will be conveniently located right next door from initial Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set-to open in fall 2018, pay respect to a small community in Sicily where a lot of Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants emerged from — the authentic menu aims to deliver these people a delicious reminder of residence.

Suffering authority and top quality styles result in the Columbia Restaurant as well as their sis restaurants certainly amazing locations where singles and lovers can spend an evening with those they love most readily useful.

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