The Family-Owned Columbia Restaurant: Florida’s Oldest Restaurant Creates a lovely Background To Suit Your Passionate Moments

The Quick variation: Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant has offered Spanish and Cuban-inspired dishes and beverages that portray a long-standing family history. Created by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia remains a nearby favored due to its conventional meals and friendly service. Over the years, folks from all over the world attended to your attractive bistro to celebrate engagements, anniversaries, birthdays, and various other monumental minutes. Today, the last and 5th generations with the family owns and runs 13 different restaurants throughout Florida. If you’re searching for good dinner with a good antique family feel, you’ll be able to reserve a table inside the spectacular and romantic dining rooms regarding the Columbia eatery.


For the past thirty years, my children’s preferred vacation destination was an oceanfront hotel in Sand Key, Fl. We’ve eliminated here over 12 times to construct sand castles, area dolphins, and eat delicious dishes on patios ignoring the gulf coast of florida.

We thoroughly investigated town’s cafe selection, looking around from the most useful regional joints about, nonetheless it simply thus takes place your one cafe all of us enjoy most is actually within walking distance of one’s lodge. The Columbia Restaurant’s white linen tablecloths, conscious service, and mouth-watering food allow it to be our go-to area for dinner.

Whenever we were children, my parents would order united states a cheddar pizza while they checked out this passionate Spanish restaurant alone; however, we have now enjoy tapas and drink as much because they do, therefore we’ve begun crashing their own date night — sometimes taking along dates your very own.

Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant features wowed patrons with Spanish and Cuban meals and an old-world atmosphere. Though it’s the oldest restaurant in Fl, business still is operated because of the descendants of original founder. Every item in the eating plan features a tale behind it, and several of the meals happen transmitted from one generation of Hernandez Gonzmart household to another location. Household practice is an enormous a portion of the Columbia’s selection, record, and method of service.

“the employees can also be slightly like family members,” stated Michael Kilgore, the principle promotional Officer the Columbia. “a number of our employees remain for 20 or 3 decades. One of many circumstances we like about our group is actually how much time they stick with all of us. They are available here and discover a house.”

You may enjoy this comfortable and welcoming atmosphere on your own next date night when you go to any of the Columbia’s seven various restaurants. The Columbia eatery currently serves visitors in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater seashore, and party. Whether you are drinking wine on a picturesque balcony or viewing flamenco dancers illuminate the phase when you take in tapas, you’re guaranteed to have a remarkable evening in the Columbia.

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

The Columbia Restaurant can locate their background back again to Dec. 17, 1903 — the same time the Wright brothers successfully tried the entire world’s basic airplane. That has been whenever a Cuban immigrant called Casimiro Hernandez Sr. started running a saloon for an area making company in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious entrepreneur switched the saloon into a favorite 60-seat cafe noted for their authentic Cuban coffee-and sandwiches. Soon after his success, Casimiro bought a cafe or restaurant next door and changed it into a striking dining room. In 1930, their daughter got more than ownership and process with the flourishing bistro.

During the Great Depression, their child Casimiro Jr. created 1st air-conditioned kitchen in Tampa. The guy hoped its upscale appearance and raised dance flooring would draw visitors to the restaurant which help them forget about their concerns for per night. The Don Quixote place was popular, and the Columbia managed to keep the doorways available while many various other businesses collapsed.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia on to his sole son or daughter, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an established artist that has met the woman partner, Cesar Gonzmart, within Tampa cafe. This theatrical set brought entertainment and artistry toward Columbia, setting up a showroom that hosted a lot of talented Latin dancers and performers. Under Adela and Cesar’s leadership, the Columbia expanded to Sarasota and other locations in Fl.

These days, one of Adela and Cesar’s two sons has taken the reins and kept his family’s business heading. Richard Gonzmart happens to be functioning at his family’s restaurants since he was 12 yrs old, very they are closely acquainted their environment and history. Richard can in fact suggest the dining table within Columbia eatery in which the guy with his partner had their unique basic go out a lot more than 43 years ago.

“There’s a lot of romance right here, and we have actually a great tale,” mentioned Michael. “under 15 restaurants in the United States are family-owned and more than a century old, so we’re in pretty elite company.”

Fl’s earliest restaurant features a pleased and enduring history grounded on food, family members, and enjoyable. Michael informed you the 5th generation associated with founding family is getting groomed to take over one-day. Richard’s daughters and nephew have taken in productive management functions at the restaurants and tend to be prepared to maintain the household tradition opting for additional a long time.

The Columbia might known which includes of the highest prizes when you look at the restaurant industry, such as induction into country’s eatery Information’ “good eating Hall of popularity,” won the “notable Restaurants of united states (SiRoNA) Award of Excellence,” Florida Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of popularity,” and Wine Spectator’s “good honor of quality.”

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

The Columbia Restaurant establishes a magnificent table and gives a delightful escape from everyday activity. It seduces the senses from the moment you walk in the doors. You are in the middle of greenery, h2o fountains, and artwork while the noises of fun additionally the odors of new seafood meals waft through air. Before my order actually gets to myself, my mouth is often watering with anticipation. The good news is, each visitor becomes his / her very own recently produced loaf of Cuban loaves of bread, and so I have actually something to please my personal preferences while we wait.

The 14-page diet plan is filled with good food but provides easy conversation beginners for daters just getting to know the other person. Each entrée, appetizer, and treat has an enticing description plus interesting background details. As an instance, the restaurant’s coconut ice cream was actually a popular of ice cream business person Gustavo Hernandez, the third child associated with the initial Columbia creator, now this nice dish is actually offered within his honor.

Through the veggie paella (Spanish grain combined with hearty vegetables) towards shrimp great (shrimp wrapped in wafer-thin bacon), the foodstuffs in the Columbia are bursting with flavor. The shareable plates, labeled as tapas, get this to bistro ideal for lovers on a romantic date as you will come better together by sharing small plates of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or packed peppers. It is simple to make a budget-friendly food by purchasing a couple of among these appetizers together — remember to truly save area for treat!

The Très Amigos churros was a fantastic option for lovers since they are tactile, nice, and simply slightly messy. Possible drop the piping-hot churros in chocolate, caramel, or guava sauce so there’s something for everybody. Additionally, Columbia’s trademark light Chocolate Bread Pudding is actually an indulgent treat excellent for splitting with a romantic date who’s a taste for white candy and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler blog site known as the Columbia Restaurant among St. Augustine’s leading date-night places, motivating couples to “start off with Columbia’s famous 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with much panache, after which share an enormous plate associated with the Paella a la Valenciana, filled with shellfish, fragrant grain, and chorizo.”

The intimate evening will be all the more satisfying should you set along with your dinner one cup of the Melanie Chardonnay, an abundant wine known as after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school sweetheart and partner.

Plus, on Columbia Restaurant, the sangria would be to die for. Really, it comes down by glass but you can in addition separate a pitcher of white or yellow sangria with a date to improve your eating experience. Amply large slices of fruit float inside the wine and infuse it with wealthy flavors. Whether you are purchasing this classic sangria or among restaurant’s family members wines, the high-caliber drinks dont let you down.

Michael informed united states the group helps make an attempt available inexpensive however high quality wines to whet visitors’ appetites. “the drink selection should really be completely suited to the meal we provide and your cost,” he said.

Many Couples & groups Have Shared Special Moments Here

When In my opinion for the Columbia, In my opinion associated with evening we made a decision to have treat for supper, and my personal parents ordered churros, crucial lime pie, mango mousse cake, white candy loaves of bread dessert, and five spoons. In my opinion of my personal twin brother trying grouper the very first time on the twentieth birthday celebration and saying excitedly, “simply take my personal picture” because he wished to program their sweetheart (who is today their spouse) which he liked taking in fish approximately she performed.

In many means, the Columbia feels as though all of our destination, but my family is not the actual only real household for generated memories at the restaurant and its particular six sister places across Florida. Individuals arrived at the restaurant after all stages of existence as it supplies a special environment that pairs really with any occasion.

Famously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio had been repeated visitors of the Columbia during the early 1950s. The Columbia staff settled tribute into the pair as well as the loving memories they provided in the restaurant by naming a dish after all of them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed combination of tenderloin tips, boneless chicken white meat, shrimp, and pork — is actually a delicious indication of very long history of romance for the Columbia’s dining areas.

Whether you are happening a primary big date or celebrating a marriage anniversary, you will discover closeness and love achieve the comfortable candlelight associated with Columbia eatery.

“It is our goals,” Michael said, “getting individuals feel as if the Columbia is where to come to celebrate existence’s milestones.”

The Columbia eatery has Family standards into Table

The Columbia Restaurant charms daters with real dishes, divine atmospheres, and personable solution. The computers, at the very least at our Columbia in Sand Key, pay attention to their guests and are usually quick to state “Welcome straight back” to devoted customers which, like my children, are going back to the stylish dining areas over and over again.

This long-standing dinner establishment has actually expanded and changed in the decades, it has not disregarded the century-long household roots. Richard features challenging plans to provide diners and daters throughout Fl in the many years to come. “Our proprietor doesn’t rest,” Michael stated with fun. “he is constantly dreaming right up new things.”

The Columbia group intentions to open about two brand-new restaurants in upcoming years. One will be conveniently situated right next door from the initial Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set-to start in autumn 2018, will pay honor to limited town in Sicily where most Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants came from — the real diet plan will bring these people a delicious note of house.

Suffering authority and quality types make the Columbia eatery and all the sis restaurants certainly remarkable spots where singles and lovers can invest a night with those they love most readily useful.