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The Quick variation: Since 1905, the Columbia eatery has actually served Spanish and Cuban-inspired meals and drinks that portray a long-standing family history. Created by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia stays a nearby favorite due to the conventional ingredients and personable solution. Over time, folks from all over the world have come towards the attractive bistro to celebrate involvements, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, as well as other monumental minutes. Today, the last and 5th generations associated with family members owns and works 13 various restaurants throughout Florida. If you’re searching for good eating with a good old-fashioned family members feel, you can easily reserve a table within the stunning and enchanting dinner areas with the Columbia Restaurant.


Over the past three decades, my loved ones’s preferred holiday destination has been an oceanfront hotel in Sand Key, Florida. We’ve gone truth be told there over several times to build mud castles, place dolphins, and eat delicious dishes on patios ignoring the gulf.

We’ve carefully investigated the city’s cafe selection, searching from best regional joints around, but it only therefore happens the one cafe we-all enjoy many is actually within walking distance your lodge. The Columbia Restaurant’s white-linen tablecloths, conscious solution, and mouth-watering food succeed the go-to area for lunch.

Whenever we were young ones, my parents would get united states a cheddar pizza pie as they viadult dating sited this romantic Spanish cafe by yourself; but we now enjoy tapas and drink just as much as they perform, therefore we’ve begun crashing their particular night out — often taking along times in our own.

Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant provides wowed clients with Spanish and Cuban meals and an old-world atmosphere. Though itis the earliest cafe in Florida, the organization still is operated because of the descendants in the original creator. Every item about selection has actually a tale behind it, and many of the quality recipes have already been transmitted from one generation for the Hernandez Gonzmart family members to another. Household heritage is a large an element of the Columbia’s diet plan, history, and method to solution.

“The staff can be a bit like family members,” said Michael Kilgore, the principle promotional Officer when it comes down to Columbia. “Many of our staff remain for 20 or 3 decades. Among the many things we like about our party is actually just how long they stick with you. They arrive right here and find property.”

You may enjoy this comfortable and welcoming environment on your own then date night by going to any of the Columbia’s seven various restaurants. The Columbia Restaurant currently acts visitors in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater Beach, and Celebration. Whether you’re sipping drink on a picturesque balcony or watching flamenco dancers illuminate the level although you consume tapas, you’re guaranteed to have a memorable evening from the Columbia.

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

The Columbia eatery can trace its background back once again to Dec. 17, 1903 — equivalent time the Wright brothers successfully tried the planet’s basic airplane. Which was whenever a Cuban immigrant named Casimiro Hernandez Sr. began running a saloon for a regional preparing organization in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious entrepreneur turned the saloon into a well known 60-seat cafe noted for the genuine Cuban coffee-and sandwiches. Soon after their achievements, Casimiro bought a cafe or restaurant nearby and changed it into an attractive kitchen. In 1930, his boy got more than control and operation of this flourishing bistro.

Throughout Great Depression, their son Casimiro Jr. created one air-conditioned dining room in Tampa. The guy hoped its trendy appearance and elevated dancing floor would draw visitors to the bistro that assist them forget their particular fears for per night. The Don Quixote Room was actually popular, plus the Columbia was able to keep its doorways open even though many other organizations collapsed.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia to their sole son or daughter, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an established artist that has fulfilled the woman husband, Cesar Gonzmart, within Tampa cafe. This theatrical set brought entertainment and art towards the Columbia, developing a showroom that managed a lot of talented Latin performers and artists. Under Adela and Cesar’s authority, the Columbia expanded to Sarasota also places in Florida.

Now, certainly Adela and Cesar’s two sons has brought the reins and kept his family’s business going. Richard Gonzmart happens to be functioning at their family’s restaurants since he had been 12 years old, so he could be intimately acquainted their atmosphere and record. Richard can actually suggest the dining table at the Columbia eatery where he and his awesome wife had their particular very first go out more than 43 in years past.

“There’s a lot of love right here, and we also have actually outstanding story,” said Michael. “lower than 15 restaurants in the us are family-owned and most a century old, therefore we’re in pretty elite organization.”

Fl’s oldest bistro provides a pleased and enduring record grounded on meals, household, and enjoyable. Michael told united states the fifth generation for the founding household is now getting groomed to dominate eventually. Richard’s daughters and nephew have chosen to take in active management roles at the restaurants and are also willing to keep the household custom choosing many more a long time.

The Columbia has been known with a few regarding the highest honours when you look at the restaurant industry, such as induction into country’s Restaurant Information’ “okay food Hall of Fame,” earned the “Distinguished Restaurants of the united states (SiRoNA) honor of Excellence,” Fl Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of popularity,” and Wine Spectator’s “good honor of Excellence.”

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

The Columbia eatery establishes a lavish table and provides a delightful getting away from daily life. It seduces the sensory faculties from the moment you walk-in the doorways. You’re enclosed by greenery, h2o fountains, and artwork just like the noise of fun in addition to scents of new seafood dishes waft through environment. Before my purchase actually reaches myself, my personal throat is always watering with anticipation. Fortunately, each visitor will get his or her very own newly made loaf of Cuban breads, thus I have actually one thing to please my personal taste buds while I wait.

The 14-page menu is full of good meals but also provides easy conversation starters for daters just learning one another. Each entrée, appetizer, and dessert includes an enticing description together with fascinating back ground info. Such as, the cafe’s coconut frozen dessert was a popular of ice cream business person Gustavo Hernandez, the next son of initial Columbia creator, and today this sweet meal is actually served in his respect.

From the vegetarian paella (Spanish grain blended with hearty vegetables) to the shrimp great (shrimp wrapped in wafer-thin bacon), the foodstuffs during the Columbia tend to be bursting with taste. The shareable plates, called tapas, get this to restaurant well suited for lovers on a date as you can come closer collectively by discussing small dishes of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or stuffed peppers. It’s easy to make a budget-friendly dinner by buying several of the appetizers collectively — just remember to truly save place for dessert!

The Très Amigos churros would be a great selection for partners since they are tactile, nice, and just somewhat dirty. It is possible to dip the piping-hot churros in candy, caramel, or guava sauce so there’s a little something for everyone. Positive, Columbia’s signature White Chocolate Bread Pudding is actually an indulgent dessert excellent for splitting with a date who’s got a taste for white chocolate and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler blog site known as the Columbia Restaurant among St. Augustine’s leading date-night places, encouraging couples to “start off with Columbia’s well-known 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with much panache, right after which share an enormous platter regarding the Paella a la Valenciana, full of shellfish, aromatic rice, and chorizo.”

The romantic night will be all the greater pleasurable should you decide combine with your food a glass of the Melanie Chardonnay, a rich drink known as after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school lover and spouse.

Plus, from the Columbia Restaurant, the sangria should die for. Really, it comes down of the cup you could also split a pitcher of white or yellow sangria with a night out together to enhance your own food experience. Amply huge pieces of good fresh fruit drift in the drink and infuse it with rich styles. Whether you’re purchasing this classic sangria or one of the restaurant’s family members wines, the high-caliber beverages try not to let you down.

Michael told you the team can make an attempt to offer inexpensive but top quality wines to whet friends’ appetites. “Our wine variety should-be completely suited to the food we provide plus cost,” the guy stated.

Countless partners & households Have Shared Special Moments Here

When i do believe of Columbia, i believe with the evening we made a decision to have dessert for dinner, and my personal moms and dads bought churros, essential lime pie, mango mousse cake, white chocolate bread dessert, and five spoons. I do believe of my personal twin-brother attempting grouper the very first time on our very own 20th birthday celebration and claiming excitedly, “just take my image” because the guy desired to show their girlfriend (that is now his wife) which he liked eating fish approximately she performed.

In many steps, the Columbia feels as though all of our spot, but my family isn’t really truly the only family members to have generated thoughts at this bistro and its particular six sister areas across Florida. Folks arrived at the cafe at all stages of existence since it supplies a particular environment that pairs really with any occasion.

Famously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were constant friends associated with the Columbia during the early 1950s. The Columbia staff members paid tribute on the pair therefore the enjoying memories they provided during the restaurant by naming a dish after all of them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed combination of tenderloin ideas, boneless chicken, shrimp, and pork — is actually a tasty indication regarding the extended history of romance in Columbia’s dining spaces.

Whether you’re taking place an initial time or honoring a wedding anniversary, you’ll find intimacy and passion achieve the smooth candlelight for the Columbia eatery.

“It is a goals,” Michael said, “to have people feel like the Columbia is the perfect place to get to celebrate life’s milestones.”

The Columbia eatery Brings household Values to your Table

The Columbia eatery charms daters with real meals, divine atmospheres, and friendly service. The servers, at the least at our Columbia in Sand Key, focus on their unique visitors and are usually rapid to express “Welcome back” to loyal consumers who, like my children, find themselves time for the classy eating spaces time and time again.

This long-standing dinner establishment provides expanded and changed for the decades, nevertheless has not forgotten about its century-long family members origins. Richard has challenging intentions to serve diners and daters throughout Florida within the years into the future. “the manager does not sleep,” Michael mentioned with a laugh. “he is always fantasizing right up something new.”

The Columbia group intentions to start at the least two brand-new restaurants when you look at the impending many years. One will be conveniently positioned right across the street from original Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set to start in fall 2018, are going to pay respect to a little town in Sicily where a majority of Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants emerged from — the authentic diet plan is designed to bring these households a delicious reminder of home.

Suffering management and top quality tastes make the Columbia Restaurant as well as their sibling restaurants certainly great locations where singles and partners can invest a night in the company of those they like finest.