The Short Version: Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant has supported Spanish and Cuban-inspired meals and beverages that portray a long-standing family history. Created by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia continues to be an area favorite due to its old-fashioned ingredients and friendly service. Through the years, individuals from all around the globe came into glamorous cafe to commemorate involvements, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, also monumental times. Nowadays, the 4th and 5th generations from the household possesses and works 13 various restaurants throughout Florida. If you’re looking for good dining with a good conventional family members feel, it is possible to reserve a table inside the spectacular and passionate dining rooms from the Columbia Restaurant.


For the past three decades, my family’s favorite destination has become an oceanfront lodge in Sand Key, Florida. We’ve gone there over several occasions to construct sand castles, place dolphins, and eat tasty dinners on patios ignoring the gulf coast of florida.

We’ve got carefully investigated town’s bistro variety, looking around from finest regional bones around, but it just so takes place your one restaurant we all enjoy the majority of is within walking distance your resort. The Columbia eatery’s white linen tablecloths, attentive service, and mouth-watering food make it our very own go-to area for lunch.

Whenever we had been young ones, my personal parents would purchase all of us a cheese pizza pie while they checked out this enchanting Spanish cafe alone; however, we have now enjoy tapas and wine equally as much because they do, so we’ve started crashing their unique date night — sometimes getting along dates of your very own.

Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant has actually wowed patrons with Spanish and Cuban meals and an old-world ambiance. Though it’s the oldest cafe in Fl, the company is still operated of the descendants associated with original creator. Every item on diet plan has actually a story behind it, and many in the recipes have been transmitted from one generation of this Hernandez Gonzmart household to a higher. Family members tradition is a huge part of the Columbia’s diet plan, background, and method to solution.

„The staff can also be quite like family,“ mentioned Michael Kilgore, the main advertising Officer for all the Columbia. „a number of our employees stay for 20 or 30 years. Among situations we like about all of our class is actually just how long they stick with us. They arrive right here and locate property.“

You can enjoy this comfy and welcoming environment on your after that date night by visiting any one of the Columbia’s seven different restaurants. The Columbia eatery currently serves friends in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater Beach, and party. Whether you are sipping wine on a picturesque balcony or viewing flamenco performers light the phase while you eat tapas, you’re certain to have a remarkable evening in the Columbia.

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

The Columbia eatery can locate their record to Dec. 17, 1903 — alike time the Wright brothers successfully tested the whole world’s first aircraft. That has been whenever a Cuban immigrant named Casimiro Hernandez Sr. began running a saloon for a regional making organization in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious business owner switched the saloon into a popular 60-seat cafe known for their genuine Cuban coffee-and snacks. After his achievements, Casimiro purchased a restaurant nearby and switched it into a gorgeous dining room. In 1930, his daughter took over possession and process of flourishing cafe.

While in the Great anxiety, their son Casimiro Jr. created initial air-conditioned kitchen in Tampa. The guy hoped their upscale appearance and elevated party floor would draw individuals to the cafe and help all of them forget about their worries for every night. The Don Quixote Room had been a winner, together with Columbia could hold its doors available even though many some other businesses collapsed.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia onto his sole child, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an accomplished musician who’d came across the woman husband, Cesar Gonzmart, at Tampa restaurant. This theatrical set delivered entertainment and artistry into Columbia, setting up a showroom that hosted a lot of skilled Latin performers and musicians. Under Adela and Cesar’s management, the Columbia expanded to Sarasota also areas in Florida.

These days, one of Adela and Cesar’s two sons has brought the reins and held his family members‘ business heading. Richard Gonzmart was working at their family members‘ restaurants since he had been 12 years of age, thus they are thoroughly familiar with their environment and background. Richard can point out the table in the Columbia Restaurant in which he with his spouse had their basic big date above 43 in years past.

„there are plenty of relationship right here, so we have an excellent story,“ mentioned Michael. „lower than 15 restaurants in the us tend to be family-owned and most 100 years old, therefore we’re in pretty elite company.“

Florida’s oldest restaurant has a happy and enduring history rooted in meals, household, and fun. Michael informed all of us the 5th generation for the founding family members is currently becoming groomed to take over eventually. Richard’s daughters and nephew took on active administration parts during the restaurants and therefore are ready to keep your family tradition choosing a lot more a long time.

The Columbia has been known with on the highest awards within the restaurant sector, including induction into Nation’s eatery Information‘ „okay dinner Hall of Fame,“ gained the „notable Restaurants of the united states (SiRoNA) Award of Excellence,“ Fl Trend’s „Golden Spoon Hall of Fame,“ and Wine Spectator’s „better of honor of quality.“

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

The Columbia Restaurant sets a luxurious table and provides an enjoyable escape from every day life. It seduces the senses as soon as you walk-in the doors. You are enclosed by greenery, drinking water fountains, and artwork as sounds of laughter and the odors of fresh fish meals waft through environment. Before my personal purchase also gets to me, my personal lips is always watering with anticipation. Luckily, each guest gets his / her very own newly produced loaf of Cuban breads, thus I have something to meet my personal preferences while I wait.

The 14-page eating plan is filled with good meals but provides effortless discussion starters for daters just learning the other person. Each entrée, appetizer, and dessert includes an enticing information and interesting background information. For-instance, the cafe’s coconut ice cream was a popular of ice-cream business owner Gustavo Hernandez, the next daughter associated with original Columbia creator, and today this nice recipe is actually served within his respect.

From veggie paella (Spanish rice blended with satisfying greens) towards the shrimp great (shrimp wrapped in wafer-thin bacon), the foodstuffs during the Columbia tend to be bursting with taste. The shareable plates, labeled as tapas, make this bistro perfect for partners on a date as you can come closer together by discussing little plates of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or stuffed peppers. To generate a budget-friendly meal by ordering a few among these appetizers with each other — remember to save room for treat!

The Très Amigos churros might be a fantastic choice for partners since they are tactile, nice, and merely slightly messy. You’ll drop the piping-hot churros in candy, caramel, or guava sauce generally there’s a little for everybody. Positive, Columbia’s signature light Chocolate Bread Pudding is actually an indulgent treat excellent for splitting with a date who has got a taste for white chocolate and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler weblog known as the Columbia Restaurant among St. Augustine’s leading date-night places, promoting partners to „start off with Columbia’s popular 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with much panache, right after which discuss a huge plate of the Paella a la Valenciana, full of shellfish, aromatic grain, and chorizo.“

The enchanting evening will be-all the greater pleasurable in the event that you set along with your food a glass of the Melanie Chardonnay, a refreshing wine known as after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school sweetheart and partner.

Plus, on Columbia eatery, the sangria will be die for. Really, it comes down from the glass but you can also separate a pitcher of white or purple sangria with a night out together to improve your own dining knowledge. Generously large slices of fruit drift inside the wine and infuse it with rich styles. Whether you’re ordering this traditional sangria or among the restaurant’s family wines, the high-caliber products never let you down.

Michael told united states the group makes an effort to supply inexpensive however high quality wines to whet friends‘ appetites. „our very own wine variety should be perfectly suited to the meal we serve plus price point,“ the guy said.

Countless Couples & groups Have Shared particular Moments Here

When i believe regarding the Columbia, i do believe associated with the night we decided to have treat for lunch, and my personal parents ordered churros, essential lime pie, mango mousse cake, white chocolate bread dessert, and five spoons. I do believe of my personal twin-brother attempting grouper for the first time on the 20th birthday celebration and stating excitedly, „Take my photo“ because he planned to reveal their girl (who is now his spouse) that he liked eating fish everything she performed.

In so many means, the Columbia feels like our spot, but my children actually truly the only family members to own made memories during that restaurant and its own six sister locations across Fl. Folks reach the bistro after all stages of existence since it supplies a unique environment that pairs well with any party.

Famously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio happened to be repeated visitors of this Columbia in early 1950s. The Columbia team settled tribute to the pair additionally the warm memories they contributed within cafe by naming a dish after all of them. The Marilyn & Joe „Salteado“ — a sautéed blend of tenderloin guidelines, boneless chicken white meat, shrimp, and pork — is a tasty note in the lengthy reputation of romance inside the Columbia’s dining spaces.

Whether you’re going on a first go out or honoring a marriage anniversary, you’ll find closeness and enthusiasm flourish in the soft candlelight regarding the Columbia eatery.

„It is a targets,“ Michael mentioned, „to have people feel like the Columbia is the perfect place to come quickly to commemorate life’s goals.“

The Columbia eatery has household standards on Table

The Columbia eatery charms daters with real meals, divine atmospheres, and personable solution. The hosts, at the very least at our very own Columbia in Sand Key, watch their guests and so are quick to say „Welcome straight back“ to devoted consumers exactly who, like my family, find themselves going back to the stylish eating areas regularly.

This long-standing dining place features grown and changed for the many years, nonetheless it hasn’t ever disregarded their century-long household sources. Richard has ambitious plans to provide diners and daters throughout Florida into the years to come. „Our manager doesn’t sleep,“ Michael stated with a laugh. „he is constantly thinking upwards new things.“

The Columbia staff intentions to open up no less than two brand new restaurants inside upcoming many years. One will end up being easily found correct across the street from the original Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set-to open up in fall 2018, are going to pay respect to a tiny community in Sicily in which a lot of Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants arrived from — the genuine menu is designed to bring these households a tasty reminder of house.

Suffering leadership and high quality flavors result in the Columbia eatery and all their brother restaurants genuinely amazing locations in which singles and lovers can spend a night with those they like most readily useful.