The Family-Owned Columbia Eatery: Fl’s Oldest Eatery Produces an attractive Backdrop To Suit Your Passionate Moments

The Quick variation: Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant features supported Spanish and Cuban-inspired meals and products that signify a long-standing family history. Based by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia continues to be a local lesbians favored because of its traditional foods and friendly service. Over time, folks from world-wide have come to your attractive bistro to celebrate engagements, anniversaries, birthdays, and other monumental moments. Now, the next and fifth years of the family members owns and functions 13 various restaurants throughout Fl. If you’re searching for great eating with a good traditional household sense, you’ll be able to reserve a table for the stunning and intimate dinner spaces from the Columbia eatery.


Over the past 30 years, my family’s favorite holiday destination has-been an oceanfront resort in Sand Key, Florida. We’ve gone there over several instances to create mud castles, place dolphins, and eat tasty dishes on patios overlooking the gulf coast of florida.

We have carefully investigated town’s restaurant variety, searching out of the finest neighborhood bones about, nevertheless just thus takes place the one bistro all of us enjoy a lot of is within taking walks length of your resort. The Columbia eatery’s white linen tablecloths, mindful service, and mouth-watering food create all of our go-to place for supper.

Once we had been kids, my personal moms and dads would order you a cheese pizza pie as they visited this romantic Spanish cafe by yourself; however, we have now enjoy tapas and wine just as much while they carry out, so we’ve started crashing their unique night out — often taking along dates of our own own.

Since 1905, the Columbia eatery features wowed clients with Spanish and Cuban meals and an old-world ambiance. Though it’s the earliest cafe in Fl, the company still is operate by the descendants of the initial president. Every object from the eating plan has a story behind it, and lots of associated with quality recipes were passed from one generation with the Hernandez Gonzmart family to another location. Household practice is an enormous a portion of the Columbia’s diet plan, history, and method to solution.

« the employees normally a bit like family members, » stated Michael Kilgore, the principle promotion Officer when it comes to Columbia. « a number of our employees stay for 20 or 30 years. One of many things we love about all of our party is the length of time they stick to all of us. They show up right here and locate a property. »

You can enjoy this comfy and welcoming environment in your next night out by going to any one of the Columbia’s seven different restaurants. The Columbia Restaurant currently acts friends in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater Beach, and party. Whether you’re drinking wine on a picturesque balcony or seeing flamenco dancers light up the phase although you consume tapas, you are certain to have an unforgettable evening on Columbia.

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

The Columbia eatery can locate its record to Dec. 17, 1903 — the same day the Wright brothers successfully tested globally’s basic plane. Which was whenever a Cuban immigrant known as Casimiro Hernandez Sr. began operating a saloon for a local brewing business in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious business owner switched the saloon into a favorite 60-seat cafe noted for its real Cuban coffee and snacks. Soon after their achievements, Casimiro purchased a restaurant nearby and converted it into an attractive dining room. In 1930, his boy got over ownership and process in the flourishing bistro.

During Great anxiety, his boy Casimiro Jr. built the very first air-conditioned dining room in Tampa. He hoped their upscale look and elevated dancing floor would draw visitors to the restaurant that assist all of them forget their own worries for a night. The Don Quixote place had been popular, as well as the Columbia was able to keep its doors open even though many some other organizations folded.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia to their just child, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an accomplished artist that has met the woman spouse, Cesar Gonzmart, at the Tampa cafe. This theatrical pair introduced entertainment and artistry on the Columbia, establishing a showroom that managed lots of talented Latin performers and performers. Under Adela and Cesar’s management, the Columbia expanded to Sarasota and various other areas in Fl.

Nowadays, certainly Adela and Cesar’s two sons has had the reins and kept his family members’ business heading. Richard Gonzmart was operating at their family members’ restaurants since he had been 12 yrs . old, very he is intimately familiar with their atmosphere and history. Richard can indicate the table during the Columbia eatery where he with his wife had their particular basic time a lot more than 43 in years past.

« there are plenty of love right here, and we also have outstanding tale, » said Michael. « significantly less than 15 restaurants in the us tend to be family-owned and more than 100 years outdated, so we’re in pretty elite business. »

Florida’s oldest bistro features a happy and enduring record grounded on food, family, and enjoyable. Michael told united states the 5th generation for the founding household is currently getting groomed to take over one-day. Richard’s daughters and nephew have chosen to take in productive management functions within restaurants and are usually willing to keep carefully the family members tradition choosing many others years to come.

The Columbia happens to be known with some of the highest honours in restaurant sector, such as induction into country’s eatery News’ « Fine food Hall of popularity, » attained the « Distinguished Restaurants of North America (SiRoNA) Award of Excellence, » Florida Trend’s « Golden Spoon Hall of popularity, » and Wine Spectator’s « good Award of Excellence. »

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

The Columbia Restaurant sets a luxurious dining table and gives an enjoyable escape from every day life. It seduces your senses as soon as you walk in the doors. You’re in the middle of greenery, liquid fountains, and artwork just like the noise of fun together with scents of fresh fish dishes waft through the atmosphere. Before my purchase also gets to myself, my mouth is often watering with anticipation. Luckily, each guest gets their very own newly made loaf of Cuban bread, so I have actually one thing to please my tastebuds while I wait.

The 14-page diet plan is full of good meals but additionally supplies effortless discussion beginners for daters just learning each other. Each entrée, appetizer, and treat boasts an enticing explanation along with fascinating back ground information. Such as, the restaurant’s coconut ice-cream ended up being a popular of ice cream business owner Gustavo Hernandez, the 3rd son for the original Columbia president, and after this this nice plate is served within his honor.

Through the vegetarian paella (Spanish rice combined with satisfying vegetables) into the shrimp supreme (shrimp covered with wafer-thin bacon), the foods during the Columbia are bursting with flavor. The shareable dishes, known as tapas, get this cafe perfect for partners on a date because you will come better together by revealing little plates of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or packed peppers. To generate a budget-friendly dinner by buying various of those appetizers with each other — keep in mind to truly save space for treat!

The Très Amigos churros could be a fantastic selection for partners since they are tactile, sweet, and simply somewhat dirty. You’ll be able to dip 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 an indulgent dessert excellent for splitting with a romantic date that a taste for white candy and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler blog called the Columbia Restaurant among St. Augustine’s top date-night areas, encouraging partners to « focus on Columbia’s well-known 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with much panache, and share a massive plate of Paella a la Valenciana, full of shellfish, fragrant rice, and chorizo. »

The romantic evening will be-all the greater amount of enjoyable in the event that you set along with your food one cup of the Melanie Chardonnay, a rich wine named after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school lover and girlfriend.

Plus, at the Columbia eatery, the sangria will be perish for. Really, it comes down from the cup you could also separate a pitcher of white or red sangria with a night out together to improve your eating experience. Generously big pieces of good fresh fruit drift from inside the drink and infuse it with wealthy flavors. Whether you’re purchasing this traditional sangria or one of several bistro’s household wines, the high-caliber drinks cannot disappoint.

Michael informed united states the group can make an effort to supply affordable but quality wines to whet friends’ appetites. « our very own wine choice should really be completely suited to the meals we serve along with your price point, » he said.

Countless Couples & groups Have Shared specialized Moments Here

When In my opinion of Columbia, i believe for the evening we made a decision to have treat for supper, and my parents ordered churros, key lime pie, mango mousse meal, white candy loaves of bread pudding, and five spoons. In my opinion of my personal twin brother attempting grouper for the first time on our very own twentieth birthday celebration and claiming excitedly, « simply take my image » because the guy desired to program their sweetheart (that’s now his partner) he loved taking in fish approximately she performed.

In plenty steps, the Columbia is like all of our place, but my family isn’t really the only real family members to own generated memories during that cafe and its own six sister places across Florida. Men and women visited the cafe anyway stages of life as it provides a unique atmosphere that sets well with any occasion.

Notoriously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were constant friends regarding the Columbia in the early 1950s. The Columbia staff settled tribute with the few as well as the warm thoughts they shared in the cafe by naming a dish after all of them. The Marilyn & Joe « Salteado » — a sautéed blend of tenderloin tips, boneless chicken breast, shrimp, and pork — is actually a tasty note on the long reputation for relationship within the Columbia’s eating rooms.

Whether you’re going on a primary time or remembering a marriage anniversary, you will find intimacy and love flourish in the soft candlelight of this Columbia Restaurant.

« It really is our goals, » Michael mentioned, « having men and women feel as if the Columbia is the perfect place to come calmly to celebrate life’s milestones. »

The Columbia Restaurant has group Values toward Table

The Columbia Restaurant charms daters with real meals, divine atmospheres, and personable solution. The hosts, no less than at the Columbia in Sand Key, look closely at their unique guests consequently they are quick to express « Welcome back » to faithful customers whom, like my loved ones, end up time for the classy dining areas over and over again.

This long-standing food institution has cultivated and altered in the decades, it has not disregarded its century-long household sources. Richard has bold intentions to provide diners and daters throughout Fl for the years to come. « the proprietor does not sleep, » Michael stated with a laugh. « He’s always fantasizing right up new things. »

The Columbia team intentions to open at the least two new restaurants within the upcoming decades. One will end up being easily situated appropriate next door through the original Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set-to start in autumn 2018, pay respect to limited village in Sicily in which most Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants emerged from — the real menu is designed to bring these families a delicious reminder of house.

Suffering management and high quality flavors make the Columbia eatery and all its cousin restaurants undoubtedly remarkable places in which singles and lovers can invest a night with those they like best.