The Family-Owned Columbia Restaurant: Florida’s Oldest Restaurant Produces an attractive Backdrop For The Intimate Minutes

The Quick type: Since 1905, the Columbia eatery has actually offered Spanish and Cuban-inspired dishes and drinks that signify a long-standing genealogy and family history. Started by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia remains a local favorite due to its old-fashioned meals and personable service. Through the years, people from all around the globe have come into glamorous cafe to celebrate involvements, anniversaries, birthdays, and other monumental minutes. Today, the next and fifth years associated with the family owns and runs 13 various restaurants throughout Florida. If you’re milfs looking to hook up for great eating with a good conventional family sense, possible reserve a table within the stunning and enchanting eating areas of the Columbia Restaurant.


For the past thirty years, my children’s favorite holiday destination has been an oceanfront resort in Sand Key, Florida. We have gone indeed there over 12 instances to build sand castles, area dolphins, and eat delicious dishes on patios ignoring the gulf.

We carefully investigated the city’s restaurant choice, looking from best local bones around, nonetheless it merely therefore happens your one bistro most of us enjoy many is within taking walks length of our own resort. The Columbia Restaurant’s white linen tablecloths, attentive solution, and mouth-watering meals ensure it is our go-to place for supper.

Once we happened to be young ones, my moms and dads would get united states a parmesan cheese pizza even though they checked out this romantic Spanish restaurant alone; however, we currently enjoy tapas and drink as much because they would, so we’ve started crashing their own date night — occasionally bringing along dates in our own.

Since 1905, the Columbia eatery has wowed patrons with Spanish and Cuban dishes and an old-world atmosphere. Though itis the oldest restaurant in Florida, the company continues to be operate of the descendants for the original founder. Every object from the diet plan has actually a tale behind it, and many from the meals have been handed over from one generation regarding the Hernandez Gonzmart family to a higher. Household tradition is an enormous a portion of the Columbia’s eating plan, record, and approach to solution.

“the employees can be some like family,” stated Michael Kilgore, the Chief advertising Officer for any Columbia. “a number of our workers remain for 20 or 30 years. One of several circumstances we like about the team is actually how much time they stay with you. They come right here and locate a property.”

You can enjoy this comfy and inviting atmosphere on your subsequent date night by visiting any one of the Columbia’s seven various restaurants. The Columbia eatery presently serves guests in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater Beach, and Celebration. Whether you’re drinking drink on a picturesque balcony or enjoying flamenco dancers light the stage whilst you take in tapas, you’re sure to have an unforgettable night from the Columbia.

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

The Columbia Restaurant can track its history back into Dec. 17, 1903 — the same time the Wright brothers successfully tested the world’s first aircraft. That has been when a Cuban immigrant known as Casimiro Hernandez Sr. started working a saloon for an area making business in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious business owner switched the saloon into a popular 60-seat cafe recognized for its authentic Cuban coffee and snacks. Following their achievements, Casimiro bought a cafe or restaurant next-door and switched it into a striking living area. In 1930, his daughter got over control and operation of this flourishing bistro.

Throughout the Great anxiety, his child Casimiro Jr. created the initial air-conditioned kitchen in Tampa. He hoped their upscale look and raised dance flooring would draw people to the bistro which help them forget about their concerns for every night. The Don Quixote place was a winner, additionally the Columbia surely could keep its doors open even though many various other companies folded.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia to their sole kid, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an experienced musician who had satisfied the woman husband, Cesar Gonzmart, at Tampa bistro. This theatrical pair delivered enjoyment and art to the Columbia, creating a showroom that hosted numerous skilled Latin performers and performers. Under Adela and Cesar’s authority, the Columbia expanded to Sarasota and other places in Florida.

Nowadays, certainly Adela and Cesar’s two sons has taken the reins and kept their family’s business heading. Richard Gonzmart has-been working at his family members’ restaurants since he had been 12 years old, so he could be closely familiar with its environment and record. Richard can actually indicate the dining table on Columbia Restaurant in which he and his awesome partner had their particular basic date above 43 years ago.

“There’s a lot of relationship here, and in addition we have outstanding tale,” mentioned Michael. “under 15 restaurants in the usa are family-owned and most a century outdated, therefore we’re in pretty elite organization.”

Fl’s oldest cafe provides a satisfied and enduring history rooted in food, household, and enjoyable. Michael informed us the fifth generation associated with founding family members is now being groomed to take control of eventually. Richard’s daughters and nephew took on effective administration functions on restaurants and are generally ready to keep carefully the household custom opting for additional years to come.

The Columbia might acknowledged with a few of this greatest honours inside restaurant market, including induction into country’s Restaurant News’ “good dinner Hall of Fame,” received the “notable Restaurants of North America (SiRoNA) honor of Excellence,” Florida Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of popularity,” and Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence.”

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

The Columbia eatery sets a lavish dining table and gives an enjoyable getting away from every day life. It seduces the senses as soon as you walk-in the doors. You are enclosed by greenery, h2o fountains, and artwork because noises of laughter and also the smells of new seafood dishes waft through the air. Before my order even reaches me personally, my personal lips is always watering with anticipation. Luckily, each visitor becomes their own recently generated loaf of Cuban loaves of bread, therefore I have one thing to satisfy my taste buds while I wait.

The 14-page eating plan is filled with great meals but in addition supplies easy discussion beginners for daters only learning the other person. Each entrée, appetizer, and treat includes an enticing description as well as interesting history details. As an example, the cafe’s coconut frozen dessert was a favorite of ice cream business person Gustavo Hernandez, the next son in the original Columbia creator, and today this sweet plate is actually supported within his respect.

From the veggie paella (Spanish grain blended with satisfying greens) to your shrimp supreme (shrimp wrapped in wafer-thin bacon), the meals during the Columbia tend to be bursting with taste. The shareable dishes, called tapas, get this to bistro ideal for lovers on a romantic date because you can come better with each other by sharing tiny plates of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or stuffed peppers. It’s easy to create a budget-friendly dinner by ordering a couple of of the appetizers with each other — just remember to truly save area for dessert!

The Très Amigos churros would-be an excellent selection for couples because they’re tactile, sweet, and just only a little messy. It is possible to drop the piping-hot churros in candy, caramel, or guava sauce generally there’s a little something for all. Additionally, Columbia’s signature White Chocolate Bread Pudding is an indulgent treat perfect for splitting with a date who may have a taste for white candy and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler weblog called the Columbia eatery among St. Augustine’s leading date-night spots, encouraging couples to “begin with Columbia’s popular 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with a lot panache, then discuss a massive platter associated with the Paella a la Valenciana, filled with shellfish, aromatic rice, and chorizo.”

The enchanting evening will be all the greater amount of satisfying should you set along with your dinner one cup of the Melanie Chardonnay, a refreshing wine called after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school lover and spouse.

Plus, at Columbia eatery, the sangria is always to perish for. Really, it comes of the glass but you can additionally separate a pitcher of white or yellow sangria with a night out together to enhance the food experience. Nicely huge pieces of fruit drift within the drink and infuse it with rich types. Whether you’re purchasing this classic sangria or one of several restaurant’s family members wines, the high-caliber beverages don’t let you down.

Michael informed us the team can make an attempt available inexpensive but quality wines to whet visitors’ appetites. “All of our wine variety must be completely fitted to the food we provide as well as your cost,” the guy mentioned.

Countless Couples & Families Have Shared particular times Here

When i believe associated with the Columbia, i believe regarding the night we decided to have treat for supper, and my personal parents purchased churros, crucial lime pie, mango mousse dessert, white chocolate loaves of bread dessert, and five spoons. I do believe of my twin-brother attempting grouper the very first time on all of our twentieth birthday celebration and stating excitedly, “Take my personal picture” because he wished to program their gf (who’s now their partner) he enjoyed eating fish just as much as she performed.

In many ways, the Columbia feels like our very own spot, but my loved ones isn’t really the sole family having produced memories at the bistro and its six sister places across Fl. Men and women reach the cafe at all stages of existence given that it supplies a special atmosphere that sets really with any event.

Notoriously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio had been repeated visitors associated with the Columbia in the early 1950s. The Columbia personnel paid tribute on few additionally the warm thoughts they shared at the bistro by naming a dish after all of them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed mixture of tenderloin ideas, boneless chicken, shrimp, and chicken — is actually a delicious indication for the very long reputation of love from inside the Columbia’s dining rooms.

Whether you are going on a primary date or remembering a marriage anniversary, you will find intimacy and passion achieve the gentle candlelight of this Columbia Restaurant.

“It’s our objectives,” Michael mentioned, “for people feel as if the Columbia is the place to come to commemorate existence’s milestones.”

The Columbia Restaurant has household standards towards Table

The Columbia Restaurant charms daters with genuine dishes, divine atmospheres, and personable service. The machines, at the least at our very own Columbia in Sand Key, focus on their guests and tend to be fast to state “Welcome straight back” to loyal consumers which, like my children, find themselves returning to the stylish eating rooms time and again.

This long-standing food institution has actually cultivated and changed through the decades, however it hasn’t disregarded their century-long family sources. Richard provides bold intends to offer diners and daters throughout Fl inside the many years to come. “our very own manager doesn’t rest,” Michael said with fun. “He’s usually dreaming upwards something new.”

The Columbia team intends to open up at the very least two brand new restaurants for the following decades. One will be conveniently positioned correct next door through the original Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set-to start in fall 2018, will pay homage to a small village in Sicily in which most Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants came from — the authentic selection aims to deliver these households a tasty note of home.

Suffering leadership and top quality flavors result in the Columbia eatery and all sorts of their brother restaurants undoubtedly remarkable spots in which singles and couples can spend an evening in the company of those they like best.

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