The Family-Owned Columbia Eatery: Fl’s Oldest Eatery Produces a Beautiful Background For The Passionate Moments

The Short type: Since 1905, the Columbia eatery features offered Spanish and Cuban-inspired dishes and beverages that portray a long-standing genealogy. Based by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia continues to be a local favored because of its old-fashioned foods and personable service. Throughout the years, individuals from all around the globe attended with the glamorous bistro to commemorate engagements, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, alongside monumental moments. Today, the next and fifth years of household is the owner of and functions 13 various restaurants throughout Florida. If you’re searching for good food with a good traditional household feel, you can reserve a table in stunning and romantic dining spaces of this Columbia eatery.


Over the past three decades, my loved ones’s preferred vacation destination is an oceanfront lodge in Sand Key, Florida. We’ve gone there over 12 times to create sand castles, place whales, and eat tasty meals on patios ignoring the gulf coast of florida.

We thoroughly investigated the city’s restaurant variety, looking around from the most readily useful regional bones about, nevertheless just thus happens the one restaurant everyone enjoy a lot of is actually within strolling length of your resort. The Columbia Restaurant’s white-linen tablecloths, conscious service, and mouth-watering food create our go-to place for lunch.

Once we happened to be young ones, my parents would get us a cheese pizza even though they went to this intimate Spanish bistro by yourself; however, we currently enjoy tapas and drink as much while they do, therefore we’ve begun crashing their particular date night — often delivering along times your very own.

Since 1905, the Columbia eatery provides wowed patrons with Spanish and Cuban meals and an old-world ambiance. Although it’s the oldest cafe in Fl, business continues to be run because of the descendants in the original creator. Every object from the diet plan provides a story behind it, and many for the dishes have now been handed over from one generation on the Hernandez Gonzmart family to another location. Household custom is a large a portion of the Columbia’s eating plan, history, and approach to service.

“the employees can be a little like family members,” stated Michael Kilgore, the main advertising Officer for Columbia. “Many of our staff stay for 20 or 3 decades. Among circumstances we like about the group is actually how much time they stick to united states. They arrive right here in order to find a home.”

You may enjoy this comfortable and pleasant environment in your after that date night by going to any one of the Columbia’s seven various restaurants. The Columbia Restaurant currently acts friends 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 when you eat tapas, you are guaranteed to have a memorable night from the Columbia.

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

The Columbia Restaurant can track their history back again to Dec. 17, 1903 — the exact same day the Wright brothers effectively tried the planet’s first plane. That has been when a Cuban immigrant named Casimiro Hernandez Sr. started running a saloon for an area making company in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious entrepreneur turned the saloon into a popular 60-seat cafe recognized for the real Cuban coffee and snacks. Following his achievements, Casimiro ordered a cafe or restaurant nearby and switched it into a gorgeous kitchen. In 1930, his daughter took over ownership and process with the flourishing cafe.

During Great anxiety, his child Casimiro Jr. created 1st air-conditioned dining area in Tampa. The guy hoped its upscale appearance and elevated party floor would draw people to the restaurant which help them forget their unique concerns for every night. The Don Quixote Room was actually a winner, and Columbia could keep its doors open while many various other organizations folded.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia to their only child, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an established musician who had met her spouse, Cesar Gonzmart, at the Tampa bistro. This theatrical pair introduced enjoyment and art toward Columbia, developing a showroom that managed many talented Latin performers and artists. Under Adela and Cesar’s authority, the Columbia extended to Sarasota also places in Florida.

These days, certainly one of Adela and Cesar’s two sons has brought the reins and held his family members’ business heading. Richard Gonzmart has-been operating at his family’s restaurants since he was 12 years of age, so he could be thoroughly acquainted with their environment and history. Richard may actually suggest the dining table at Columbia Restaurant where he and his spouse had their first go out above 43 in years past.

“There’s a lot of love here, so we have actually an excellent tale,” mentioned Michael. “around 15 restaurants in the usa are family-owned and more than 100 years outdated, so we’re in pretty elite organization.”

Florida’s oldest restaurant provides a proud and enduring history grounded on meals, family, and enjoyable. Michael informed you the fifth generation associated with founding family is becoming groomed to take control someday. Richard’s daughters and nephew have chosen to take on energetic control functions within restaurants and are also prepared keep consitently the family members heritage going for additional years into the future.

The Columbia has been acknowledged with for the highest awards in restaurant industry, such as induction into Nation’s Restaurant News’ “great Dining Hall of popularity,” attained the “notable Restaurants of North America (SiRoNA) Award of quality,” Fl Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of popularity,” and Wine Spectator’s “good Award of quality.”

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

The Columbia eatery sets a luxurious dining table and offers an enjoyable getting away from everyday activity. It seduces your sensory faculties from the moment you walk in the doors. You are enclosed by greenery, water fountains, and artwork since the noise of laughter together with odors of new fish meals waft through air. Before my personal order actually gets to me personally, my mouth is obviously watering with expectation. Luckily for us, each visitor gets his/her very own newly generated loaf of Cuban loaves of bread, and so I have something to fulfill my personal taste buds while I wait.

The 14-page eating plan is full of great meals but in addition supplies easy talk starters for daters simply getting to know one another. Each entrée, appetizer, and treat includes an enticing description plus interesting history information. For instance, the bistro’s coconut frozen dessert was actually a preferred of ice cream entrepreneur Gustavo Hernandez, the next son on the initial Columbia creator, and today this nice plate is served inside the respect.

From the vegetarian paella (Spanish grain combined with hearty greens) toward shrimp supreme (shrimp wrapped in wafer-thin bacon), the foods at Columbia are bursting with taste. The shareable plates, also known as tapas, get this bistro perfect for couples on a night out together because you can come better collectively by revealing tiny dishes of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or stuffed peppers. You can easily generate a budget-friendly meal by buying various among these appetizers with each other — just remember to save lots of area for dessert!

The Très Amigos churros is a fantastic choice for partners since they are tactile, sweet, and merely somewhat dirty. You are able to drop the piping-hot churros in candy, caramel, or guava sauce generally there’s a little something for everybody. Additionally, Columbia’s signature light Chocolate Bread Pudding is an indulgent treat perfect for splitting with a romantic date that has a taste for white chocolate and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler weblog known as the Columbia Restaurant among St. Augustine’s top date-night spots, encouraging lovers to “focus on Columbia’s well-known 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with much panache, and share a massive plate for the Paella a la Valenciana, overflowing with shellfish, fragrant grain, and chorizo.”

Your romantic evening will be-all more pleasurable any time you combine along with your dinner a glass of the Melanie Chardonnay, an abundant drink named after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school sweetheart and partner.

Plus, on Columbia Restaurant, the sangria should perish for. Honestly, it comes by the cup you could also split a pitcher of white or yellow sangria with a night out together to enhance your eating knowledge. Nicely huge pieces of fruit float inside the drink and infuse it with wealthy tastes. Whether you’re buying this classic sangria or one of the cafe’s family wines, the high-caliber beverages dont let you down.

Michael informed you the team can make an endeavor to provide affordable yet top quality wines to whet visitors’ appetites. “All of our wine choice is completely designed for the meals we serve and your cost,” he stated.

Many Couples & Families have actually Shared particular times Here

When I think of the Columbia, i believe on the night we made a decision to have dessert for lunch, and my moms and dads purchased churros, essential lime pie, mango mousse meal, white chocolate breads pudding, and five spoons. In my opinion of my twin-brother trying grouper the very first time on our 20th birthday celebration and claiming excitedly, “just take my photo” because the guy wanted to program his girlfriend (who is now his wife) he liked taking fish just as much as she performed.

In countless steps, the Columbia feels like our very own destination, but my family actually the sole family for made thoughts at the bistro and its own six sister areas across Florida. People arrived at the cafe at all stages of existence since it supplies a particular environment that sets really with any celebration.

Notoriously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio had been repeated visitors of the Columbia in the early 1950s. The Columbia personnel settled tribute on the pair and also the warm recollections they contributed in the bistro by naming a dish after all of them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed blend of tenderloin guidelines, boneless chicken, shrimp, and pork — is actually a delicious indication regarding the long history of romance during the Columbia’s dining rooms.

Whether you’re happening a primary time or honoring a marriage anniversary, you’ll find intimacy and love flourish in the smooth candlelight of Columbia eatery.

“It is a objectives,” Michael mentioned, “to have men and maried women for sex feel like the Columbia is the perfect place to come calmly to commemorate life’s goals.”

The Columbia eatery has household standards towards the Table

The Columbia eatery charms daters with authentic meals, divine atmospheres, and personable solution. The computers, at the very least at the Columbia in Sand Key, pay attention to their visitors as they are fast to state “Welcome straight back” to loyal consumers whom, like my family, are returning to the classy eating rooms over repeatedly.

This long-standing eating institution features expanded and changed throughout the many years, but it hasn’t ever forgotten about their century-long family roots. Richard has actually bold intends to provide diners and daters throughout Fl when you look at the years into the future. “All of our owner doesn’t sleep,” Michael stated with fun. “he is usually dreaming upwards new things.”

The Columbia team intentions to start at the very least two new restaurants in the coming years. One will be conveniently positioned right across the street from the initial Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set-to open up in fall 2018, will probably pay respect to limited town in Sicily in which a majority of Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants emerged from — the genuine menu is designed to deliver these people a tasty reminder of home.

Enduring authority and high quality styles improve Columbia eatery and all its brother restaurants truly great locations in which singles and partners can spend a night with those they like most readily useful.