The Family-Owned Columbia Eatery: Florida’s Oldest Eatery Creates an attractive Backdrop To Suit Your Enchanting Moments

The Short type: Since 1905, the Columbia eatery provides offered Spanish and Cuban-inspired dishes and products that express a long-standing family history. Started by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia continues to be an area preferred due to its conventional meals and personable solution. Throughout the years, individuals from all around the globe came for the glamorous restaurant to celebrate involvements, anniversaries, birthdays, and various other monumental times. Nowadays, the next and 5th years of family members is the owner of and runs 13 different restaurants throughout Fl. If you’re searching for great dinner with a good conventional household experience, it is possible to reserve a table into the spectacular and intimate food areas associated with the Columbia Restaurant.


For the past 3 decades, my children’s favorite destination is an oceanfront hotel in Sand Key, Florida. We have eliminated there over twelve times to build sand castles, area dolphins, and eat delicious meals on patios overlooking the gulf.

We now have carefully discovered the town’s restaurant choice, looking around the actual most readily useful regional joints about, but it just very occurs that one cafe we-all enjoy a lot of is within walking range of one’s resort. The Columbia Restaurant’s white-linen tablecloths, mindful solution, and mouth-watering food create our very own go-to area for supper.

When we had been kids, my moms and dads would order us a parmesan cheese pizza while they visite de rencontre lesbienned this passionate Spanish restaurant alone; but we now enjoy tapas and wine equally as much as they perform, so we’ve begun crashing their particular night out — often delivering along times of our own.

Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant has actually wowed clients with Spanish and Cuban dishes and an old-world ambiance. Although itis the oldest bistro in Fl, the business enterprise continues to be operated of the descendants for the initial creator. Every item about menu has actually a tale behind it, and many associated with dishes being passed from one generation on the Hernandez Gonzmart family to the next. Family members heritage is an enormous the main Columbia’s menu, background, and method of service.

“The staff can be quite like family members,” mentioned Michael Kilgore, the Chief promotion Officer when it comes down to Columbia. “a number of our employees stay for 20 or 3 decades. The circumstances we like about our team is the length of time they stick to us. They arrive here in order to find property.”

You can enjoy this comfy and pleasant atmosphere on the after that date night by visiting any of the Columbia’s seven different restaurants. The Columbia Restaurant presently serves visitors in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater seashore, and Celebration. Whether you’re drinking wine on a picturesque balcony or enjoying flamenco dancers light the phase whilst you eat tapas, you are certain to have an unforgettable evening at Columbia.

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

The Columbia Restaurant can locate their background back into Dec. 17, 1903 — similar time the Wright brothers effectively tested the whole world’s first plane. Which was whenever a Cuban immigrant known as Casimiro Hernandez Sr. began working a saloon for a local preparing organization in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious business person switched the saloon into a favorite 60-seat cafe recognized for its genuine Cuban coffee-and snacks. Soon after their achievements, Casimiro purchased a restaurant next-door and switched it into a striking kitchen. In 1930, his child took over control and process of thriving restaurant.

Throughout Great anxiety, their boy Casimiro Jr. built the initial air-conditioned living area in Tampa. He hoped its trendy appearance and raised dance floor would draw individuals the bistro which help all of them forget about their particular concerns for per night. The Don Quixote place had been popular, in addition to Columbia could hold the doorways available even though many additional businesses folded.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia onto his only youngster, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an experienced artist who’d satisfied her spouse, Cesar Gonzmart, on Tampa restaurant. This theatrical pair introduced enjoyment and artistry with the Columbia, developing a showroom that hosted lots of talented Latin performers and artists. Under Adela and Cesar’s authority, the Columbia extended to Sarasota as well as other areas in Fl.

These days, among Adela and Cesar’s two sons has taken the reins and held his family’s business heading. Richard Gonzmart has been operating at their family members’ restaurants since he had been 12 yrs old, thus he or she is thoroughly acquainted with its atmosphere and record. Richard can in fact point out the table during the Columbia Restaurant where the guy with his partner had their unique very first day a lot more than 43 years ago.

“there are plenty of love here, therefore have actually outstanding tale,” mentioned Michael. “lower than 15 restaurants in the United States tend to be family-owned and more than 100 years old, therefore we’re in pretty elite business.”

Fl’s earliest cafe provides a satisfied and enduring history grounded on meals, family, and fun. Michael told all of us the 5th generation associated with the founding family members is currently getting groomed to dominate 1 day. Richard’s daughters and nephew took in effective control functions in the restaurants and they are prepared to keep your family members custom choosing even more many years to come.

The Columbia was recognized with of the greatest awards inside cafe industry, such as induction into Nation’s Restaurant News’ “Fine food Hall of Fame,” received the “notable Restaurants of the united states (SiRoNA) Award of Excellence,” Florida Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of popularity,” and Wine Spectator’s “Best of honor of Excellence.”

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

The Columbia eatery establishes a luxurious table and a delightful getting away from every day life. It seduces the sensory faculties as soon as you walk-in the doors. You are in the middle of greenery, liquid fountains, and artwork because noises of laughter together with scents of fresh seafood meals waft through environment. Before my order also gets to me, my mouth area is watering with anticipation. Fortunately, each guest will get his/her very own freshly made loaf of Cuban bread, thus I have actually one thing to fulfill my personal taste buds while I wait.

The 14-page eating plan is full of good food but provides easy talk beginners for daters only getting to know the other person. Each entrée, appetizer, and dessert comes with an enticing information and fascinating back ground details. For-instance, the bistro’s coconut frozen dessert was a preferred of frozen dessert entrepreneur Gustavo Hernandez, the next boy with the original Columbia creator, and after this this nice recipe is actually supported within his respect.

From vegetarian paella (Spanish rice combined with satisfying greens) into shrimp great (shrimp covered with wafer-thin bacon), the foods on Columbia tend to be bursting with flavor. The shareable dishes, also known as tapas, make this cafe suitable for lovers on a date because you may come better together by discussing small plates of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or stuffed peppers. You can easily generate a budget-friendly food by buying certain of those appetizers together — keep in mind to truly save place for dessert!

The Très Amigos churros was an excellent choice for lovers since they are tactile, nice, and just slightly messy. You’ll be able to drop the piping-hot churros in chocolate, caramel, or guava sauce generally there’s a little something for everybody. Positive, Columbia’s trademark White Chocolate Bread Pudding is actually an indulgent dessert ideal for splitting with a night out together that a taste for white chocolate and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler weblog known as the Columbia eatery among St. Augustine’s top date-night areas, encouraging lovers to “start with Columbia’s well-known 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with a lot panache, then discuss an enormous plate from the Paella a la Valenciana, full of shellfish, fragrant grain, and chorizo.”

Your own enchanting night will be-all the greater amount of satisfying should you decide pair with your dinner one cup of the Melanie Chardonnay, a wealthy drink named after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school lover and wife.

Plus, within Columbia Restaurant, the sangria is to perish for. Honestly, it comes from the cup you could additionally split a pitcher of white or red sangria with a date to increase the eating knowledge. Generously huge pieces of good fresh fruit drift inside the wine and infuse it with rich types. Whether you’re buying this classic sangria or one of the restaurant’s household wines, the high-caliber products do not disappoint.

Michael informed you the team tends to make an endeavor to supply affordable yet top quality wines to whet guests’ appetites. “our very own drink variety ought to be completely designed for the meal we serve as well as your selling price,” he said.

Many Couples & households Have Shared specialized times Here

When In my opinion associated with the Columbia, i do believe in the night we chose to have dessert for dinner, and my moms and dads purchased churros, crucial lime pie, mango mousse meal, white candy loaves of bread dessert, and five spoons. In my opinion of my personal twin brother attempting grouper for the first time on our very own twentieth birthday and claiming excitedly, “simply take my personal picture” because he planned to program his girlfriend (who is today his girlfriend) that he enjoyed taking fish everything she did.

In plenty steps, the Columbia is like the location, but my children isn’t really really the only family to own made memories at the bistro and its particular six sister areas across Florida. Folks started to the bistro whatsoever phases of existence as it supplies a special atmosphere that sets really with any special event.

Notoriously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio happened to be repeated guests with the Columbia in the early 1950s. The Columbia staff settled tribute on the pair additionally the enjoying thoughts they contributed at the bistro by naming a dish after all of them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed mixture of tenderloin guidelines, boneless chicken breast, shrimp, and chicken — is actually a tasty indication of this very long reputation of relationship for the Columbia’s dining rooms.

Whether you’re happening a primary go out or honoring a wedding anniversary, you will discover intimacy and passion achieve the soft candlelight regarding the Columbia Restaurant.

“It’s one of our goals,” Michael stated, “to own folks feel like the Columbia is where to come to celebrate existence’s milestones.”

The Columbia Restaurant has household Values to your Table

The Columbia eatery charms daters with genuine meals, divine atmospheres, and personable solution. The servers, about at our Columbia in Sand Key, focus on their own visitors and they are fast to say “Welcome back” to dedicated consumers whom, like my family, are time for the stylish eating areas over repeatedly.

This long-standing eating place provides cultivated and altered for the decades, however it has never forgotten about the century-long family origins. Richard has challenging intends to serve diners and daters throughout Fl when you look at the many years to come. “All of our proprietor doesn’t sleep,” Michael mentioned with fun. “he is constantly thinking up something new.”

The Columbia team plans to open up at the very least two brand new restaurants in following many years. One will be conveniently situated right across the street through the initial Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set-to open in autumn 2018, can pay honor to a small town in Sicily where most Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants emerged from — the genuine eating plan is designed to bring these people a tasty note of house.

Enduring management and top quality flavors make Columbia Restaurant and all of its aunt restaurants undoubtedly great locations in which singles and lovers can spend a night with those they love most readily useful.