The Quick Version: Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant features supported Spanish and Cuban-inspired meals and drinks that portray a long-standing genealogy and family history. Based by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia stays a nearby preferred simply because of its conventional foods and friendly service. Over the years, individuals from all over the globe came with the attractive cafe to celebrate involvements, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, also monumental moments. Today, the last and fifth generations of household owns and runs 13 various restaurants throughout Fl. If you’re looking for great eating with a decent conventional household feel, you’ll reserve a table within the spectacular and enchanting eating spaces associated with Columbia Restaurant.


Over the past 30 years, my family’s favorite vacation destination might an oceanfront resort in Sand Key, Florida. We have now eliminated indeed there over a dozen times to construct sand castles, area dolphins, and eat delicious dishes on patios overlooking the gulf coast of florida.

We carefully discovered the city’s restaurant option, looking around the actual best neighborhood bones around, it simply very happens that one bistro everyone enjoy most is actually within strolling distance of our own hotel. The Columbia Restaurant’s white-linen tablecloths, conscious service, and mouth-watering meals succeed the go-to spot for dinner.

Whenever we happened to be young ones, my personal moms and dads would purchase all of us a cheddar pizza pie as they visited this romantic Spanish cafe by yourself; but we now enjoy tapas and drink equally as much as they carry out, therefore we’ve begun crashing their unique night out — sometimes taking along times your own.

Since 1905, the Columbia eatery provides wowed patrons with Spanish and Cuban meals and an old-world ambiance. Even though itis the earliest restaurant in Fl, the organization continues to be operate of the descendants of initial creator. Every object on the eating plan provides a tale behind it, and lots of of the quality recipes have been transmitted from one generation of Hernandez Gonzmart household to another. Family members custom is an enormous an element of the Columbia’s selection, record, and approach to solution.

« the employees is also some like family, » mentioned Michael Kilgore, the Chief advertising Officer when it comes to Columbia. « Many of our staff members remain for 20 or 30 years. The circumstances we like about the class is just how long they stay with us. They show up here and find a home. »

You can enjoy this comfortable and welcoming environment on your own next night out by going to any of the Columbia’s seven various restaurants. The Columbia eatery presently serves visitors in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater Beach, and Celebration. Whether you are sipping wine on a picturesque balcony or watching flamenco performers illuminate the level whilst you consume tapas, you’re certain to have a remarkable night at Columbia.

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

The Columbia Restaurant can locate its record back again to Dec. 17, 1903 — the exact same time the Wright brothers successfully tried the whole world’s basic plane. Which was whenever a Cuban immigrant called Casimiro Hernandez Sr. started operating a saloon for a local fuckbuddy preparing organization in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious entrepreneur turned the saloon into a popular 60-seat cafe recognized for the authentic Cuban coffee-and snacks. Following their achievements, Casimiro purchased a restaurant next door and converted it into a gorgeous dining area. In 1930, his boy took more than control and operation with the thriving restaurant.

Throughout Great Depression, their daughter Casimiro Jr. created the most important air-conditioned living area in Tampa. The guy hoped its upscale look and raised dancing floor would draw men and women to the restaurant which help them forget their worries for every night. The Don Quixote Room was actually a winner, additionally the Columbia surely could keep the doors open although different businesses folded.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia on to his sole child, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an established artist who’d fulfilled her spouse, Cesar Gonzmart, within Tampa cafe. This theatrical pair brought activity and artistry towards the Columbia, developing a showroom that managed many skilled Latin performers and artists. Under Adela and Cesar’s management, the Columbia extended to Sarasota as well as other locations in Florida.

Nowadays, certainly one of Adela and Cesar’s two sons has taken the reins and kept their family’s business going. Richard Gonzmart has-been operating at their family members’ restaurants since he was 12 yrs old, very he or she is closely knowledgeable about their environment and background. Richard can in fact indicate the dining table at the Columbia Restaurant where the guy along with his girlfriend had their own very first go out over 43 in years past.

« there are many romance right here, and now we have actually a fantastic tale, » said Michael. « lower than 15 restaurants in the usa tend to be family-owned and more than 100 years old, so we’re in pretty elite business. »

Fl’s earliest cafe features a happy and enduring history rooted in food, family members, and fun. Michael informed united states the fifth generation from the founding family is currently getting groomed to take control one-day. Richard’s daughters and nephew have taken in effective management parts at restaurants and tend to be prepared keep consitently the household practice opting for additional years into the future.

The Columbia has been known with a few of this greatest prizes in restaurant sector, such as induction into country’s Restaurant Information’ « good food Hall of popularity, » received the « notable Restaurants of America (SiRoNA) honor of quality, » Florida Trend’s « Golden Spoon Hall of Fame, » and Wine Spectator’s « better of honor of Excellence. »

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

The Columbia eatery sets a lavish table and gives a wonderful escape from everyday life. It seduces your own sensory faculties from the moment you walk-in the doors. You are surrounded by greenery, liquid fountains, and artwork given that sounds of laughter therefore the odors of new fish dishes waft through atmosphere. Before my order even reaches me, my personal mouth is often watering with anticipation. Fortunately, each visitor becomes their own freshly made loaf of Cuban breads, therefore I have actually something to fulfill my tastebuds while I wait.

The 14-page menu is full of good meals but additionally supplies easy dialogue beginners for daters merely observing one another. Each entrée, appetizer, and treat boasts an enticing description in addition to interesting background info. Such as, the restaurant’s coconut frozen dessert ended up being a preferred of ice cream business owner Gustavo Hernandez, the third boy associated with original Columbia founder, now this sweet plate is supported inside the respect.

From the vegetarian paella (Spanish grain combined with satisfying vegetables) on the shrimp great (shrimp covered with wafer-thin bacon), the foods in the Columbia tend to be bursting with flavor. The shareable plates, also known as tapas, make this cafe well suited for lovers on a date as you will come better collectively by discussing small dishes of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or packed peppers. It is simple to make a budget-friendly dinner by buying several of those appetizers with each other — just remember to save lots of room for dessert!

The Très Amigos churros could be a great selection for lovers since they are tactile, sweet, and merely just a little messy. You’ll drop the piping-hot churros in candy, caramel, or guava sauce generally there’s a little something for everybody. Additionally, Columbia’s trademark light Chocolate Bread Pudding is actually an indulgent treat perfect for splitting with a romantic date who may have a taste for white candy and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler web log named the Columbia Restaurant among St. Augustine’s top date-night places, motivating lovers to « start off with Columbia’s famous 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with a lot panache, right after which share a huge platter associated with Paella a la Valenciana, overflowing with shellfish, fragrant grain, and chorizo. »

Your own passionate evening will be-all the greater amount of pleasurable any time you set with your food a glass of the Melanie Chardonnay, a wealthy drink known as after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school sweetheart and girlfriend.

Plus, at the Columbia Restaurant, the sangria is to die for. Severely, referring by the glass you could also separate a pitcher of white or yellow sangria with a date to boost your eating knowledge. Nicely big cuts of fresh fruit drift into the wine and infuse it with rich styles. Whether you’re buying this classic sangria or one of many cafe’s household wines, the high-caliber beverages cannot disappoint.

Michael informed all of us the team helps make an effort to supply affordable but high quality wines to whet friends’ appetites. « the drink choice must be perfectly suited to the foodstuff we offer and your price, » he said.

Countless Couples & households have actually Shared particular times Here

When I think of the Columbia, i believe regarding the evening we made a decision to have treat for supper, and my personal moms and dads purchased churros, key lime pie, mango mousse dessert, white chocolate breads dessert, and five spoons. In my opinion of my personal twin brother trying grouper for the first time on our 20th birthday and saying excitedly, « simply take my personal picture » because the guy desired to reveal his gf (who’s today his partner) he liked taking fish approximately she performed.

In a lot of methods, the Columbia is like our very own place, but my family isn’t truly the only family for produced thoughts during this bistro and its six sister areas across Florida. Men and women come to the restaurant anyway stages of life because it provides an unique environment that pairs really with any event.

Notoriously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio had been frequent guests in the Columbia in the early 1950s. The Columbia personnel paid tribute into the few in addition to warm recollections they shared within cafe by naming a dish after all of them. The Marilyn & Joe « Salteado » — a sautéed mixture of tenderloin ideas, boneless chicken white meat, shrimp, and chicken — is actually a delicious indication with the long reputation of relationship for the Columbia’s eating rooms.

Whether you are taking place an initial date or honoring a wedding anniversary, you will discover closeness and love achieve the gentle candlelight associated with the Columbia Restaurant.

« It really is one of the objectives, » Michael mentioned, « having individuals feel like the Columbia is where to come quickly to commemorate existence’s milestones. »

The Columbia Restaurant Brings household standards with the Table

The Columbia Restaurant charms daters with authentic dishes, divine atmospheres, and personable service. The machines, about at all of our Columbia in Sand Key, watch their particular friends and are also fast to express « Welcome right back » to loyal clients just who, like my loved ones, are returning to the stylish dining spaces regularly.

This long-standing food business has grown and altered in the decades, but it hasn’t disregarded their century-long household roots. Richard has committed plans to serve diners and daters throughout Florida during the years to come. « the holder doesn’t sleep, » Michael stated with fun. « he is constantly fantasizing right up something new. »

The Columbia team intentions to open about two new restaurants for the following decades. One will be easily found appropriate next door from initial Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set to open in autumn 2018, are going to pay homage to a tiny town in Sicily in which a lot of Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants arrived from — the authentic selection is designed to deliver these individuals a delicious indication of house.

Suffering leadership and quality tastes result in the Columbia Restaurant as well as its aunt restaurants really amazing spots where singles and couples can invest a night in the company of those they love most useful.