The Family-Owned Columbia Restaurant: Fl’s Oldest Restaurant Creates a lovely Background To Suit Your Romantic Times

The Family-Owned Columbia Restaurant: Fl’s Oldest Restaurant Creates a lovely Background To Suit Your Romantic Times

The brief Version: Since 1905, the Columbia eatery has actually offered Spanish and Cuban-inspired meals and drinks that express a long-standing genealogy and family history. Created by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia stays a local favorite simply because of its standard meals and personable solution. Over the years, individuals from all over the world came on glamorous cafe to celebrate engagements, anniversaries, birthdays, as well as other monumental times. Now, the 4th and 5th years on the family owns and operates 13 different restaurants throughout Fl. If you’re looking for good eating with a good traditional family members sense, you are able to reserve a table within the spectacular and intimate dining spaces regarding the Columbia eatery.


For the past 3 decades, my family’s preferred holiday destination has-been an oceanfront resort in Sand Key, Fl. We’ve gone here over a dozen times to create sand castles, area dolphins, and eat tasty dinners on patios overlooking the gulf coast of florida.

We’ve got carefully explored the city’s cafe variety, looking around from the most useful neighborhood bones around, however it simply therefore takes place the one bistro everyone enjoy most is actually within strolling range your lodge. The Columbia eatery’s white-linen tablecloths, mindful service, and mouth-watering food ensure it is our go-to spot for supper.

As soon as we were kids, my moms and dads would purchase all of us a parmesan cheese pizza pie as they checked out this romantic Spanish bistro alone; however, we have now enjoy tapas and wine just as much because they perform, so we’ve begun crashing their night out — often bringing along times of one’s very own.

Since 1905, the Columbia eatery has actually wowed patrons with Spanish and Cuban dishes and an old-world atmosphere. Even though itis the earliest cafe in Fl, the company is still operated because of the descendants of this initial creator. Every product regarding menu has actually a tale behind it, and several on the recipes are handed over from one generation of the Hernandez Gonzmart household to the next. Family members heritage is a large area of the Columbia’s diet plan, record, and approach to solution.

“The staff is quite like family members,” said Michael Kilgore, the Chief Marketing Officer when it comes down to Columbia. “Many of our staff remain for 20 or three decades. One of the circumstances we love about our very own team is actually how much time they stay with us. They are available right here in order to find property.”

You can enjoy this comfortable and inviting environment on your next night out by going to any of the Columbia’s seven different restaurants. The Columbia Restaurant currently acts guests in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater Beach, and Celebration. Whether you are drinking drink on a picturesque balcony or watching flamenco performers light the stage while you eat tapas, you are certain to have a remarkable night during the Columbia.

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

The Columbia eatery can locate its background back into Dec. 17, 1903 — equivalent day the Wright brothers effectively tried society’s basic airplane. Which was whenever a Cuban immigrant known as Casimiro Hernandez Sr. began working a saloon for a regional brewing company 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 sandwiches. Soon after their success, Casimiro bought a restaurant across the street and converted it into an attractive kitchen. In 1930, his boy took more than possession and process in the thriving cafe.

Throughout the Great Depression, their son Casimiro Jr. built the first air-conditioned dining area in Tampa. He hoped the upscale appearance and elevated party flooring would draw people to the cafe and help all of them forget their own concerns for a night. The Don Quixote Room ended up being popular, additionally the Columbia could keep the doorways available although different companies collapsed.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia to their sole son or daughter, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an experienced musician that has satisfied her husband, Cesar Gonzmart, in the Tampa bistro. This theatrical pair brought activity and artistry with the Columbia, developing a showmilf chat room that managed lots of skilled Latin performers and performers. Under Adela and Cesar’s leadership, the Columbia expanded to Sarasota also areas in Florida.

Now, one of Adela and Cesar’s two sons has had the reins and held his family’s business going. Richard Gonzmart has-been operating at their family’s restaurants since he had been 12 yrs old, very they are closely acquainted their atmosphere and history. Richard can actually point to the dining table at Columbia Restaurant where he and his awesome partner had their unique first time over 43 years back.

“There’s a lot of romance here, so we have actually outstanding tale,” said Michael. “around 15 restaurants in the us are family-owned and most 100 years old, therefore we’re in pretty elite business.”

Florida’s oldest bistro has actually a satisfied and enduring background grounded on meals, family members, and fun. Michael informed us the 5th generation of the founding family members is now being groomed to dominate 1 day. Richard’s daughters and nephew took on productive control roles from the restaurants and are prepared to keep carefully the family custom choosing additional a long time.

The Columbia has been recognized with many with the greatest honors in the bistro market, such as induction into Nation’s Restaurant Information’ “great Dining Hall of popularity,” attained the “notable Restaurants of America (SiRoNA) Award of Excellence,” Florida Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of Fame,” and Wine Spectator’s “Best of honor of quality.”

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

The Columbia Restaurant sets a magnificent table and gives a wonderful getting away from every day life. It seduces your sensory faculties as soon as you walk in the doors. You’re surrounded by greenery, drinking water fountains, and artwork once the noise of laughter additionally the odors of new seafood meals waft through the environment. Before my order actually reaches myself, my personal mouth area is often watering with expectation. Luckily, each guest will get their very own recently generated loaf of Cuban bread, so I have something to fulfill my preferences while I wait.

The 14-page diet plan is filled with great meals additionally provides simple dialogue beginners for daters simply getting to know one another. Each entrée, appetizer, and treat comes with an enticing information including fascinating history information. As an example, the restaurant’s coconut ice-cream was actually a popular of frozen dessert business owner Gustavo Hernandez, the 3rd child in the original Columbia president, and after this this sweet dish is actually served in his respect.

Through the vegetarian paella (Spanish rice blended with satisfying vegetables) to the shrimp supreme (shrimp covered with wafer-thin bacon), the foodstuffs from the Columbia tend to be bursting with taste. The shareable plates, known as tapas, get this to restaurant perfect for couples on a date since you may come better collectively by sharing little plates of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or packed peppers. It’s easy to make a budget-friendly meal by ordering certain among these appetizers collectively — just remember to truly save room for treat!

The Très Amigos churros is a fantastic selection for lovers because they’re tactile, nice, and merely only a little messy. You can drop the piping-hot churros in chocolate, caramel, or guava sauce so there’s a little something for everybody. In addition, Columbia’s trademark light Chocolate Bread Pudding is actually an indulgent dessert excellent for splitting with a romantic date who may have a taste for white candy and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler blog site named the Columbia eatery among St. Augustine’s leading date-night spots, encouraging lovers to “focus on Columbia’s well-known 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with much panache, and then discuss a huge plate associated with Paella a la Valenciana, overflowing with shellfish, aromatic rice, and chorizo.”

Your intimate evening will be-all the greater amount of satisfying any time you combine along with your food one cup of the Melanie Chardonnay, a refreshing drink named after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school lover and spouse.

Plus, on Columbia eatery, the sangria is to die for. Honestly, it comes down from the cup but you can in addition separate a pitcher of white or purple sangria with a night out together to increase your eating knowledge. Amply big cuts of good fresh fruit drift inside the drink and infuse it with wealthy styles. Whether you’re purchasing this classic sangria or one of several bistro’s family wines, the high-caliber products do not let you down.

Michael told us the team makes an effort to provide affordable however quality wines to whet friends’ appetites. “our very own wine selection must certanly be completely suited to the food we provide along with your price point,” the guy mentioned.

Countless partners & groups have actually Shared Special Moments Here

When In my opinion from the Columbia, In my opinion associated with the night we chose to have dessert for supper, and my moms and dads bought churros, essential lime pie, mango mousse meal, white chocolate bread dessert, and five spoons. In my opinion of my personal twin-brother attempting grouper the very first time on all of our 20th birthday and claiming excitedly, “just take my personal photo” because the guy planned to reveal his sweetheart (who’s now their spouse) that he liked eating fish up to she performed.

In plenty steps, the Columbia feels as though the spot, but my children isn’t the only family to have generated recollections at the cafe and its own six sister areas across Florida. Folks reach the restaurant after all phases of life as it provides a special environment that pairs really with any party.

Famously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio happened to be frequent guests on the Columbia during the early 1950s. The Columbia employees settled tribute into couple and warm memories they provided at the restaurant by naming a dish after them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed blend of tenderloin tips, boneless chicken breast, shrimp, and pork — is a delicious note on the lengthy history of love from inside the Columbia’s dining areas.

Whether you are taking place a first big date or celebrating a wedding anniversary, you’ll find closeness and love flourish in the gentle candlelight in the Columbia Restaurant.

“It really is one of the targets,” Michael stated, “getting men and women feel as if the Columbia is the place to get to commemorate life’s milestones.”

The Columbia Restaurant offers group standards to your Table

The Columbia eatery charms daters with genuine meals, divine atmospheres, and friendly service. The hosts, at the least at our very own Columbia in Sand Key, look closely at their particular visitors consequently they are fast to say “Welcome straight back” to faithful customers just who, like my children, find themselves going back to the stylish eating areas repeatedly.

This long-standing dinner organization provides cultivated and altered through the entire many years, it never disregarded the century-long family origins. Richard features challenging plans to offer diners and daters throughout Florida for the years to come. “the owner doesn’t rest,” Michael mentioned with a laugh. “he is constantly thinking up something totally new.”

The Columbia team intends to open up at the least two brand new restaurants in following many years. One will end up being conveniently positioned right down the street from initial Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set-to open in autumn 2018, will pay respect to limited community in Sicily in which a majority of Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants arrived from — the genuine selection will bring these family members a delicious reminder of house.

Enduring authority and quality flavors make Columbia eatery and all its brother restaurants truly impressive locations where singles and partners can spend a night together with those they love greatest.