The brief Version: Since 1905, the Columbia eatery has actually served Spanish and Cuban-inspired dishes and drinks that express a long-standing genealogy. Created by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia remains an area preferred due to the conventional meals and friendly service. Over time, people from all over the globe have come with the glamorous cafe to commemorate involvements, anniversaries, birthdays, also monumental moments. Nowadays, the fourth and 5th years on the family members has and operates 13 various restaurants throughout Fl. If you’re looking for fine dining with a good old-fashioned family experience, it is possible to reserve a table during the stunning and intimate dining spaces of this Columbia Restaurant.


For the past three decades, my loved ones’s preferred destination might an oceanfront resort in Sand Key, Florida. We have now eliminated indeed there over 12 times to build sand castles, spot dolphins, and consume delicious dinners on patios overlooking the gulf.

We’ve thoroughly discovered the town’s cafe selection, searching the actual most useful local bones around, nonetheless it only thus happens that the one cafe we all enjoy the majority of is actually within taking walks range of our resort. The Columbia eatery’s white-linen tablecloths, conscious service, and mouth-watering food ensure it is our very own go-to area for dinner.

When we happened to be kids, my personal parents would get all of us a parmesan cheese pizza pie even though they checked out this intimate Spanish restaurant alone; however, we currently enjoy tapas and wine equally as much as they perform, so we’ve started crashing their particular night out — often delivering along dates in our very own.

Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant has actually wowed patrons with Spanish and Cuban dishes and an old-world ambiance. Even though itis the earliest cafe in Florida, the business enterprise still is run by the descendants in the initial founder. Every product from the selection has actually a tale behind it, and many of this recipes have-been passed from one generation in the Hernandez Gonzmart family to the next. Family tradition is a huge an element of the Columbia’s diet plan, record, and approach to service.

« The staff can be some like family members, » stated Michael Kilgore, the Chief advertising Officer when it comes down to Columbia. « Many of our workers stay for 20 or 30 years. One of several circumstances we love about all of our group is how much time they stay with us. They are available right here in order to find sugar mommas near me free a property. »

You may enjoy this comfy and welcoming atmosphere on the subsequent night out by going to any of the Columbia’s seven various restaurants. The Columbia Restaurant currently serves guests in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater Beach, and party. Whether you’re sipping wine on a picturesque balcony or enjoying flamenco performers illuminate the period as you consume tapas, you’re certain to have a memorable evening at the Columbia.

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

The Columbia Restaurant can trace their history back again to Dec. 17, 1903 — similar day the Wright brothers effectively tried the whole world’s first airplane. That was whenever a Cuban immigrant called Casimiro Hernandez Sr. started running a saloon for a local preparing business in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious business owner turned the saloon into popular 60-seat cafe recognized for their authentic Cuban coffee and snacks. After his achievements, Casimiro bought a cafe or restaurant nearby and converted it into a gorgeous dining room. In 1930, his son got more than ownership and operation associated with thriving cafe.

Throughout the Great anxiety, his daughter Casimiro Jr. created one air-conditioned kitchen in Tampa. The guy hoped their upscale appearance and raised party flooring would draw people to the bistro and help all of them forget their own concerns for a night. The Don Quixote place ended up being a success, in addition to Columbia managed to hold their doorways open although some other businesses collapsed.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia to his sole son or daughter, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an accomplished musician who’d satisfied her partner, Cesar Gonzmart, within Tampa cafe. This theatrical pair brought entertainment and artistry on the Columbia, developing a showroom that hosted lots of talented Latin dancers and performers. Under Adela and Cesar’s authority, the Columbia expanded to Sarasota as well as other locations in Fl.

These days, among Adela and Cesar’s two sons has taken the reins and kept their family members’ business heading. Richard Gonzmart has-been functioning at their family’s restaurants since he was 12 yrs old, so he’s thoroughly knowledgeable about its environment and record. Richard can suggest the dining table during the Columbia Restaurant in which the guy and his wife had their particular basic date more than 43 years back.

« there are many love here, and now we have outstanding story, » said Michael. « below 15 restaurants in america are family-owned and most 100 years old, therefore we’re in pretty elite organization. »

Fl’s earliest cafe has actually a satisfied and enduring record grounded on meals, family, and enjoyable. Michael told united states the 5th generation associated with the founding household is currently getting groomed to take control eventually. Richard’s daughters and nephew have taken in productive management functions from the restaurants as they are willing to maintain household tradition opting for numerous years into the future.

The Columbia is acknowledged with regarding the highest honours for the bistro sector, including induction into Nation’s Restaurant News’ « Fine food Hall of popularity, » gained the « notable Restaurants of united states (SiRoNA) Award of quality, » Florida Trend’s « Golden Spoon Hall of popularity, » and Wine Spectator’s « better of honor of Excellence. »

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

The Columbia eatery establishes a luxurious table and gives an enjoyable getting away from everyday activity. It seduces the senses from the moment you walk in the doors. You are in the middle of greenery, h2o fountains, and artwork given that sounds of fun as well as the smells of fresh seafood dishes waft through the atmosphere. Before my order actually gets to me, my personal lips is definitely watering with expectation. Fortunately, each visitor becomes his/her very own recently produced loaf of Cuban breads, thus I have actually something to meet my preferences while I wait.

The 14-page eating plan is filled with great meals and supplies effortless conversation starters for daters simply observing each other. Each entrée, appetizer, and treat boasts an enticing information and interesting background information. By way of example, the restaurant’s coconut ice cream was a favorite of frozen dessert business person Gustavo Hernandez, the next boy associated with the initial Columbia president, now this sweet dish is actually served in his honor.

From the vegetarian paella (Spanish rice combined with hearty greens) to the shrimp great (shrimp covered with wafer-thin bacon), the foodstuffs at Columbia tend to be bursting with flavor. The shareable dishes, labeled as tapas, get this to bistro well suited for partners on a romantic date because you may come closer with each other by sharing small plates of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or packed peppers. To generate a budget-friendly dinner by purchasing multiple of those appetizers collectively — keep in mind to save lots of room for treat!

The Très Amigos churros might be an excellent selection for partners since they are tactile, sweet, and simply slightly dirty. You’ll dip the piping-hot churros in candy, caramel, or guava sauce generally there’s a little for everyone. Additionally, Columbia’s trademark White Chocolate Bread Pudding is an indulgent treat perfect for splitting with a romantic date who has a taste for white candy and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler web log named the Columbia eatery among St. Augustine’s top date-night areas, motivating partners to « focus on Columbia’s famous 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with a lot panache, and then discuss a massive plate in the Paella a la Valenciana, full of shellfish, fragrant rice, and chorizo. »

Your own romantic evening will be all the greater amount of pleasurable should you combine together with your meal a glass of the Melanie Chardonnay, a wealthy drink named after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school lover and partner.

Plus, at the Columbia Restaurant, the sangria is to perish for. Severely, it comes down by the glass but you can additionally divide a pitcher of white or purple sangria with a date to boost your own dining knowledge. Generously huge cuts of fresh fruit drift for the drink and infuse it with rich types. Whether you’re buying this classic sangria or the restaurant’s family wines, the high-caliber products you should never disappoint.

Michael informed united states the team helps make an attempt available inexpensive but high quality wines to whet visitors’ appetites. « Our wine choice needs to be completely suited for the foodstuff we offer and your cost, » he stated.

Countless Couples & groups Have Shared Special Moments Here

When i do believe of Columbia, i do believe regarding the night we chose to have treat for supper, and my personal moms and dads bought churros, essential lime pie, mango mousse cake, white chocolate bread pudding, and five spoons. I believe of my twin-brother attempting grouper for the first time on our twentieth birthday and saying excitedly, « get my personal picture » because the guy wanted to show his gf (that’s now his spouse) he enjoyed eating fish up to she did.

In a lot of means, the Columbia feels like the spot, but my loved ones isn’t truly the only family members to own made recollections at the restaurant and its six sister locations across Fl. People visited the cafe at all phases of existence since it supplies a special atmosphere that sets well with any event.

Notoriously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio had been frequent guests of the Columbia in the early 1950s. The Columbia employees paid tribute into the couple together with warm recollections they shared in the bistro by naming a dish after them. The Marilyn & Joe « Salteado » — a sautéed combination of tenderloin ideas, boneless chicken white meat, shrimp, and pork — is a delicious note from the extended reputation of love from inside the Columbia’s eating areas.

Whether you’re going on an initial date or remembering a marriage anniversary, you will discover intimacy and enthusiasm flourish in the smooth candlelight on the Columbia Restaurant.

« It’s one of the objectives, » Michael said, « to own folks feel as if the Columbia is the place to come to commemorate existence’s goals. »

The Columbia Restaurant offers group standards to your Table

The Columbia Restaurant charms daters with genuine meals, divine atmospheres, and friendly service. The servers, at least at all of our Columbia in Sand Key, watch their visitors and tend to be rapid to state « Welcome back » to dedicated customers exactly who, like my children, are returning to the classy eating spaces over and over repeatedly.

This long-standing eating institution has actually grown and changed through the many years, but it hasn’t forgotten about the century-long household roots. Richard has committed intends to serve diners and daters throughout Fl into the years into the future. « All of our proprietor doesn’t sleep, » Michael mentioned with a laugh. « He’s always fantasizing right up something new. »

The Columbia team intentions to start at the least two brand new restaurants in the coming many years. One will end up being conveniently positioned correct down the street from original Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set to open in autumn 2018, pay homage to a little community in Sicily where a lot of Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants came from — the real menu aims to deliver these people a delicious note of residence.

Suffering authority and quality styles make Columbia eatery and all sorts of the sister restaurants truly remarkable spots in which singles and lovers can invest a night together with those they love finest.

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