The small Version: Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant has served Spanish and Cuban-inspired meals and drinks that portray a long-standing genealogy and family history. Created by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia continues to be an area favorite simply because of its traditional meals and friendly solution. Through the years, people from worldwide have come into glamorous cafe to celebrate involvements, anniversaries, birthdays, and other monumental times. Nowadays, the fourth and 5th years in the household possesses and runs 13 various restaurants throughout Fl. If you’re searching for great eating with a good traditional family members experience, you can reserve a table when you look at the spectacular and passionate dining areas associated with the Columbia Restaurant.


For the past thirty years, my children’s preferred holiday destination has become an oceanfront hotel in Sand Key, Florida. We have eliminated here over twelve occasions to build mud castles, place whales, and consume tasty dishes on patios ignoring the Gulf of Mexico.

We now have thoroughly investigated the town’s bistro choice, searching from the finest local bones about, but it merely so occurs that one cafe we-all enjoy the majority of is within walking distance of one’s hotel. The Columbia eatery’s white linen tablecloths, attentive solution, and mouth-watering food allow it to be all of our go-to area for supper.

As soon as we had been young ones, my parents would purchase us a cheese pizza pie as they went to this intimate Spanish cafe by yourself; but we now enjoy tapas and drink as much as they would, so we’ve started crashing their own night out — occasionally providing along dates of your very own.

Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant features wowed patrons with Spanish and Cuban meals and an old-world atmosphere. Even though it’s the earliest restaurant in Fl, the business remains operated by descendants from the original founder. Every product throughout the eating plan provides a story behind it, and several for the dishes have now been handed over from one generation on the Hernandez Gonzmart family members to a higher. Family members tradition is a huge area of the Columbia’s diet plan, record, and approach to solution.

“the employees can a little like household,” stated Michael Kilgore, the Chief advertising Officer when it comes down to Columbia. “quite a few staff members remain for 20 or 30 years. One of several circumstances we like about our very own team is actually how much time they stay with united states. They show up here and find a house.”

You can enjoy this comfortable and welcoming environment on your own after that date night when you go to any one of the Columbia’s seven various restaurants. The Columbia Restaurant presently acts guests in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater seashore, and Celebration. Whether you’re drinking drink on a picturesque balcony or enjoying flamenco performers light up the level as you take in tapas, you are sure to have an unforgettable evening at the Columbia.

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

The Columbia Restaurant can trace its record back to Dec. 17, 1903 — equivalent time the Wright brothers effectively tried worldwide’s basic airplane. That was whenever a Cuban immigrant called Casimiro Hernandez Sr. began working a saloon for a nearby preparing business in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious business person switched the saloon into a well known 60-seat cafe known for their authentic Cuban coffee-and sandwiches. After his success, Casimiro purchased a restaurant nearby and converted it into a gorgeous kitchen. In 1930, their child took over ownership and procedure associated with flourishing bistro.

During the Great Depression, their daughter Casimiro Jr. created the most important air-conditioned dining room in Tampa. He hoped its upscale look and elevated dancing flooring would draw individuals to the cafe which help them forget about their own concerns for per night. The Don Quixote place was actually a winner, plus the Columbia surely could keep their doors open although additional organizations collapsed.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia onto their only youngster, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an experienced musician who had fulfilled the woman partner, Cesar Gonzmart, in the Tampa restaurant. This theatrical pair delivered entertainment and artistry on the Columbia, establishing a showroom that managed numerous skilled Latin performers and musicians. Under Adela and Cesar’s leadership, the Columbia expanded to Sarasota also locations in Fl.

Today, among Adela and Cesar’s two sons has had the reins and held their family members’ business going. Richard Gonzmart was working at their family members’ restaurants since he had been 12 years of age, thus he could be closely knowledgeable about the environment and background. Richard can actually point out the dining table at the Columbia eatery where he and his partner had their unique basic date a lot more than 43 years ago.

“there’s lots of romance here, and we have actually the story,” said Michael. “not as much as 15 restaurants in the us are family-owned and more than a century outdated, therefore we’re in pretty elite business.”

Fl’s oldest restaurant has actually a satisfied and enduring background grounded on meals, family, and fun. Michael informed us the 5th generation from the founding household is now getting groomed to take-over eventually. Richard’s daughters and nephew have taken on active management roles from the restaurants and are usually prepared keep carefully the family heritage opting for many more years into the future.

The Columbia has-been acknowledged with some of this highest honors when you look at the restaurant business, such as induction into Nation’s Restaurant Information’ “great Dining Hall of Fame,” obtained the “notable Restaurants of North America (SiRoNA) honor of quality,” Fl Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of Fame,” and Wine Spectator’s “good honor of quality.”

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

The Columbia eatery sets a lavish dining table and gives a delightful getting away from daily life. It seduces your own senses from the moment you walk-in the doors. You are surrounded by greenery, h2o fountains, and artwork as the noise of laughter therefore the odors of fresh fish meals waft through environment. Before my purchase also extends to myself, my personal mouth is watering with expectation. Luckily for us, each visitor will get his / her very own freshly produced loaf of Cuban loaves of bread, so I have actually something you should satisfy my personal tastebuds while I wait.

The 14-page eating plan is filled with good food but also provides easy conversation beginners for daters only observing each other. Each entrée, appetizer, and dessert has an enticing description and fascinating history details. For-instance, the bistro’s coconut frozen dessert ended up being a favorite of ice cream business person Gustavo Hernandez, the 3rd boy on the original Columbia president, now this sweet meal is actually offered within his respect.

From the veggie paella (Spanish rice combined with hearty vegetables) with the shrimp great (shrimp wrapped in wafer-thin bacon), the meals at Columbia are bursting with taste. The shareable dishes, also known as tapas, make this restaurant suitable for partners on a night out together since you will come closer collectively by revealing little dishes of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or stuffed peppers. To make a budget-friendly meal by purchasing several of those appetizers with each other — remember to save room for dessert!

The Très Amigos churros could well be a great option for lovers because they’re tactile, sweet, and simply slightly messy. You can drop the piping-hot churros in chocolate, caramel, or guava sauce so there’s a little something for everyone. Positive, Columbia’s signature light Chocolate Bread Pudding is actually an indulgent dessert perfect for splitting with a night out together who has got a taste for white chocolate and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler web log named the Columbia eatery among St. Augustine’s top date-night spots, motivating lovers to “focus on Columbia’s well-known 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with a lot panache, then share an enormous plate regarding the Paella a la Valenciana, full of shellfish, fragrant grain, and chorizo.”

Your own intimate night will be all the greater satisfying in the event that you pair with your meal one cup of the Melanie Chardonnay, a rich drink called after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school lover and spouse.

Plus, from the Columbia eatery, the sangria is die for. Honestly, it comes by the cup but you can also divide a pitcher of white or red sangria with a night out together to boost your food experience. Generously big cuts of good fresh fruit drift inside the wine and infuse it with wealthy flavors. Whether you’re ordering this traditional sangria or the cafe’s household wines, the high-caliber drinks never let you down.

Michael told you the group makes an effort to provide affordable however quality wines to whet friends’ appetites. “Our wine selection must be completely fitted to the food we serve as well as your cost,” the guy mentioned.

Countless Couples & Families Have Shared specialized times Here

When I think of the Columbia, i do believe associated with the evening we made a decision to have treat for supper, and my personal moms and dads purchased churros, essential lime pie, mango mousse dessert, white chocolate bread pudding, and five spoons. I do believe of my twin brother trying grouper the very first time on all of our twentieth birthday and saying excitedly, “Take my personal photo” because the guy wished to show his girl (who is now their wife) that he liked taking fish up to she performed.

In so many techniques, the Columbia is like our destination, but my family is not the sole household for generated recollections during this bistro and its six sister locations across Fl. People reach the restaurant after all phases of life since it provides a unique atmosphere that pairs well with any special event.

Notoriously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio happened to be repeated guests of this Columbia in the early 1950s. The Columbia team paid tribute to your pair together with loving memories they shared on restaurant by naming a dish after all of them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed combination of tenderloin tips, boneless chicken, shrimp, and chicken — is actually a tasty indication regarding the long history of relationship in the Columbia’s dining spaces.

Whether you are taking place an initial date or celebrating a marriage anniversary, you will discover intimacy and passion achieve the soft candlelight on the Columbia Restaurant.

“It really is a targets,” Michael stated, “to possess people feel as if the Columbia is the place to come quickly to commemorate life’s milestones.”

The Columbia eatery has household standards with the Table

The Columbia Restaurant charms daters with genuine meals, divine atmospheres, and friendly service. The machines, no less than at all of our Columbia in Sand Key, focus on their unique friends and so are rapid to say “Welcome back” to dedicated customers who, like my children, find themselves going back to the classy eating areas over and over repeatedly.

This long-standing dinner business has cultivated and altered for the many years, it hasn’t ever forgotten their century-long household origins. Richard has ambitious plans to provide diners and daters throughout Fl when you look at the years to come. “Our holder does not rest,” Michael said with a laugh. “he is usually thinking up something totally new.”

The Columbia team intentions to open up at least two brand-new restaurants when you look at the impending years. One will be easily found correct down the street from the original Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set to start in fall 2018, are going to pay homage to a little village in Sicily in which a lot of Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants arrived from — the authentic selection aims to deliver these families a tasty indication of home.

Enduring leadership and high quality tastes result in the Columbia eatery and all of the cousin restaurants truly remarkable places in which singles and lovers can spend a night together with those they like finest.

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