The Short variation: Since 1905, the Columbia eatery has served Spanish and Cuban-inspired meals and products that signify a long-standing genealogy. Created by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia continues to be an area favorite simply because of its conventional ingredients and personable service. Over time, individuals from world-wide attended towards glamorous restaurant to celebrate engagements, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, and other monumental moments. Now, the last and 5th years of this household has and works 13 different restaurants throughout Fl. If you’re looking for good dining with a decent antique family feel, you can reserve a table from inside the stunning and intimate eating rooms with the Columbia eatery.


Over the past 3 decades, my loved ones’s favorite holiday destination has become an oceanfront resort in Sand Key, Florida. We have now gone there over 12 times to create sand castles, spot whales, and consume delicious dinners on patios overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

There is completely discovered the town’s bistro choice, looking around out of the greatest local joints around, nevertheless simply so occurs your one bistro all of us enjoy a lot of is actually within strolling distance your lodge. The Columbia eatery’s white linen tablecloths, mindful service, and mouth-watering meals create all of our go-to spot for supper.

As soon as we were kids, my moms and dads would get you a cheese pizza pie as they checked out this romantic Spanish restaurant by yourself; however, we now enjoy tapas and wine equally as much as they perform, therefore we’ve begun crashing their own date night — occasionally getting along dates in our very own.

Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant features wowed patrons with Spanish and Cuban meals and an old-world ambiance. Though itis the oldest cafe in Florida, the company still is run because of the descendants for the original creator. Every product regarding the eating plan features an account behind it, and lots of from the meals are handed over from one generation of this Hernandez Gonzmart family members to a higher. Family custom is a large an element of the Columbia’s diet plan, record, and method to service.

“the employees is somewhat like family members,” said Michael Kilgore, the principle promotional Officer when it comes to Columbia. “quite a few employees stay for 20 or three decades. One of the circumstances we like about our very own team is actually just how long they stick with you. They come right here in order to find a property.”

You can enjoy this comfy and inviting atmosphere on your next date night by visiting any one of the Columbia’s seven various restaurants. The Columbia eatery presently serves visitors in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater seashore, and Celebration. Whether you’re sipping drink on a picturesque balcony or watching flamenco performers light the phase when you take in tapas, you’re sure to have a remarkable evening during the Columbia.

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

The Columbia Restaurant can locate their background back once again to Dec. 17, 1903 — the same day the Wright brothers successfully tried the entire world’s basic airplane. That has been whenever a Cuban immigrant known as Casimiro Hernandez Sr. began running a saloon for a nearby making business in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious business person turned the saloon into a popular 60-seat cafe known for their genuine Cuban coffee and sandwiches. Soon after their achievements, Casimiro bought a restaurant across the street and changed it into a striking dining room. In 1930, his child took over control and operation in the flourishing bistro.

While in the Great Depression, their child Casimiro Jr. built 1st air-conditioned kitchen in Tampa. He hoped their upscale appearance and elevated dance flooring would draw men and women to the restaurant and help all of them forget about their own fears for a night. The Don Quixote place had been a winner, plus the Columbia could hold the doorways open even though many different companies folded.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia on to his only child, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an experienced musician who had met her husband, Cesar Gonzmart, in the Tampa restaurant. This theatrical set delivered entertainment and artistry on the Columbia, establishing a showroom that managed a lot of skilled Latin performers and artists. Under Adela and Cesar’s leadership, the Columbia expanded to Sarasota as well as other places in Florida.

Now, certainly Adela and Cesar’s two sons has taken the reins and held his family members’ company going. Richard Gonzmart was working at his family’s restaurants since he had been 12 years of age, very they are thoroughly knowledgeable about the atmosphere and history. Richard may actually point to the dining table from the Columbia eatery in which the guy with his girlfriend had their particular first big date more than 43 years ago.

“there’s lots of romance here, therefore we have a great story,” stated Michael. “around 15 restaurants in the United States are family-owned and most 100 years outdated, therefore we’re in pretty elite business.”

Fl’s oldest cafe features a satisfied and enduring background rooted in food, family, and enjoyable. Michael told all of us the fifth generation of founding family members is now getting groomed to dominate one day. Richard’s daughters and nephew took on active administration roles from the restaurants and they are prepared to keep carefully the household practice going for additional a long time.

The Columbia might known with a few in the greatest honours within the restaurant industry, such as induction into Nation’s Restaurant Information’ “good eating Hall of Fame,” attained the “notable Restaurants of North America (SiRoNA) Award of quality,” Florida Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of popularity,” and Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence.”

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

The Columbia eatery establishes a lavish dining table and an enjoyable getting away from every day life. It seduces your own sensory faculties from the moment you walk-in the doors. You’re enclosed by greenery, h2o fountains, and artwork while the noises of laughter while the smells of new seafood dishes waft through the air. Before my personal purchase also gets to me, my personal throat is watering with expectation. Fortunately, each guest will get his/her very own newly made loaf of Cuban bread, and so I have actually something to please my personal preferences while we wait.

The 14-page eating plan is filled with great meals but supplies simple discussion beginners for daters just getting to know each other. Each entrée, appetizer, and dessert comes with an enticing explanation including interesting history information. Such as, the restaurant’s coconut frozen dessert had been a favorite of ice-cream business owner Gustavo Hernandez, the next boy with the original Columbia creator, now this sweet dish is actually offered within his respect.

From the vegetarian paella (Spanish grain combined with hearty veggies) with the shrimp great (shrimp wrapped in wafer-thin bacon), the foodstuffs during the Columbia tend to be bursting with taste. The shareable dishes, known as tapas, get this cafe perfect for couples on a night out together because you can come better together by revealing little plates of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or stuffed peppers. It is possible to create a budget-friendly dinner by purchasing certain of the appetizers together — keep in mind to save place for treat!

The Très Amigos churros would be a great option for couples because they’re tactile, sweet, and merely only a little messy. Possible drop the piping-hot churros in candy, caramel, or guava sauce generally there’s something for everyone. Additionally, Columbia’s trademark White Chocolate Bread Pudding is actually an indulgent treat excellent for splitting with a date having a taste for white chocolate and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler blog site named the Columbia Restaurant among St. Augustine’s top date-night spots, promoting couples to “start off with Columbia’s popular 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with a lot panache, following discuss a huge platter of Paella a la Valenciana, full of shellfish, fragrant rice, and chorizo.”

Your own romantic evening will be-all the greater amount of pleasurable any time you set with your meal one glass of the Melanie Chardonnay, a wealthy drink called after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school lover and spouse.

Plus, at the Columbia eatery, the sangria is to perish for. Honestly, it comes because of the glass you could additionally split a pitcher of white or yellow sangria with a night out together to boost your food knowledge. Generously huge pieces of good fresh fruit drift in the wine and infuse it with wealthy tastes. Whether you are buying this traditional sangria or among the restaurant’s family wines, the high-caliber products usually do not disappoint.

Michael informed us the team tends to make an endeavor to provide inexpensive however high quality wines to whet visitors’ appetites. “Our wine variety need completely fitted to the foodstuff we serve along with your price point,” he said.

Many partners & households Have Shared particular times Here

When I think on the Columbia, i do believe associated with evening we made a decision to have treat for dinner, and my moms and dads purchased churros, essential lime pie, mango mousse meal, white chocolate loaves of bread dessert, and five spoons. I think of my twin brother attempting grouper the very first time on our twentieth birthday and stating excitedly, “get my photo” because he planned to show his girlfriend (who is now his partner) he loved taking fish as much as she did.

In so many steps, the Columbia feels as though our very own spot, but my loved ones actually the sole household to have generated thoughts at the bistro as well as its six sister places across Florida. Individuals started to the bistro whatsoever phases of life since it supplies a special atmosphere that pairs really with any occasion.

Notoriously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio had been constant visitors in the Columbia in early 1950s. The Columbia employees paid tribute on few plus the warm thoughts they contributed at bistro by naming a dish after them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed combination of tenderloin ideas, boneless chicken, shrimp, and pork — is a delicious indication associated with the extended history of relationship inside Columbia’s dining spaces.

Whether you’re going on an initial time or remembering a marriage anniversary, you’ll find intimacy and love flourish in the comfortable candlelight in the Columbia Restaurant.

“its one of our targets,” Michael stated, “for individuals feel like the Columbia is the place to come calmly to commemorate existence’s goals.”

The Columbia Restaurant Brings group standards into Table

The Columbia eatery charms daters with genuine meals, divine atmospheres, and personable solution. The machines, about at all of our Columbia in Sand Key, pay attention to their guests and they are fast to state “Welcome right back” to loyal clients whom, like my loved ones, find themselves going back to the stylish dining spaces over and over repeatedly.

This long-standing eating business has actually cultivated and changed in the years, however it hasn’t ever forgotten about the century-long family sources. Richard features bold plans to offer diners and daters throughout Florida when you look at the a long time. “the owner does not sleep,” Michael stated with fun. “he is usually thinking right up new things.”

The Columbia staff intentions to open up about two brand-new restaurants in the upcoming many years. One will be conveniently situated right next door through the initial Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set-to open in fall 2018, are going to pay honor to limited village in Sicily where most Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants emerged from — the real selection is designed to deliver these households a tasty reminder of house.

Suffering authority and quality flavors make the Columbia Restaurant and all sorts of the sister restaurants truly great places where singles and couples can invest a night with those they love most readily useful. site

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