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The small variation: Since 1905, the Columbia eatery provides supported Spanish and Cuban-inspired meals and beverages that portray a long-standing family history. Founded by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia stays a nearby preferred due to the traditional foods and personable service. Over time, individuals from all over the world attended on the glamorous cafe to commemorate engagements, anniversaries, birthdays, alongside monumental moments. Nowadays, the last and fifth generations in the household is the owner of and runs 13 different restaurants throughout Florida. If you’re searching for good dining with a good old-fashioned household experience, you can reserve a table from inside the spectacular and romantic food areas of Columbia eatery.


For the past 30 years, my family’s preferred holiday destination might an oceanfront hotel in Sand Key, Fl. We have now gone truth be told there over several occasions to construct mud castles, area dolphins, and eat delicious dinners on patios overlooking the gulf.

There is carefully discovered town’s cafe variety, searching out of the most useful local joints about, nonetheless it merely therefore takes place your one cafe most of us enjoy the majority of is within walking distance of your hotel. The Columbia Restaurant’s white linen tablecloths, mindful service, and mouth-watering meals create the go-to area for lunch.

When we had been young ones, my moms and dads would order us a cheddar pizza while they visited this passionate Spanish restaurant alone; but we now enjoy tapas and wine as much because they would, so we’ve started crashing their own night out — often providing along times of our own very own.

Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant has actually wowed patrons with Spanish and Cuban meals and an old-world atmosphere. Although itis the earliest bistro in Fl, the business enterprise continues to be run from the descendants in the original founder. Every object throughout the diet plan provides a story behind it, and lots of in the meals have been passed from one generation regarding the Hernandez Gonzmart family to another location. Family custom is a huge a portion of the Columbia’s selection, record, and approach to service.

“The staff can be some like household,” mentioned Michael Kilgore, the Chief Marketing Officer for your Columbia. “a number of our employees stay for 20 or 3 decades. One of the circumstances we like about our very own team is actually just how long they stick to united states. They are available here in order to find a house.”

You may enjoy this comfy and welcoming environment on your own subsequent date night by going to any of the Columbia’s seven different restaurants. The Columbia eatery currently serves guests in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater seashore, and party. Whether you’re drinking wine on a picturesque balcony or watching flamenco performers light the stage while you consume tapas, you are guaranteed to have a remarkable night during the Columbia.

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

The Columbia Restaurant can locate their background to Dec. 17, 1903 — similar time the Wright brothers effectively tried worldwide’s very first aircraft. That has been whenever a Cuban immigrant named Casimiro Hernandez Sr. started working a saloon for a regional preparing organization in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious business owner turned the saloon into popular 60-seat cafe known for its real Cuban coffee-and sandwiches. Soon after their achievements, Casimiro bought a restaurant next-door and changed it into a striking kitchen. In 1930, his child took over control and operation of the flourishing cafe.

While in the Great anxiety, his child Casimiro Jr. built one air-conditioned dining room in Tampa. The guy hoped its upscale appearance and elevated party flooring would draw men and women to the cafe which help all of them forget their particular concerns for every night. The Don Quixote Room had been a winner, therefore the Columbia was able to hold the doorways available although some other companies collapsed.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia onto his only child, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an experienced musician who’d satisfied her husband, Cesar Gonzmart, at Tampa cafe. This theatrical pair brought activity and art for the Columbia, creating a showroom that managed numerous talented Latin performers and performers. Under Adela and Cesar’s authority, the Columbia expanded to Sarasota also areas in Fl.

Now, certainly one of Adela and Cesar’s two sons has brought the reins and kept his family members’ company going. Richard Gonzmart has been operating at his family members’ restaurants since he had been 12 years old, very he’s thoroughly familiar with the atmosphere and background. Richard can point out the dining table during the Columbia Restaurant where he with his wife had their basic big date more than 43 in years past.

“there are many relationship here, and then we have outstanding story,” mentioned Michael. “lower than 15 restaurants in america tend to be family-owned and most 100 years outdated, so we’re in pretty elite organization.”

Florida’s earliest restaurant has a satisfied and enduring record grounded on meals, family, and fun. Michael told us the fifth generation of founding family is becoming groomed to dominate someday. Richard’s daughters and nephew have taken in energetic management functions at restaurants and are also prepared maintain the household practice opting for more years to come.

The Columbia has-been known with some for the highest honors inside the bistro business, such as induction into country’s Restaurant News’ “Fine food Hall of popularity,” earned the “notable Restaurants of America (SiRoNA) Award of quality,” Florida Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of popularity,” and Wine Spectator’s “good honor of quality.”

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

The Columbia Restaurant sets a lavish table and a wonderful getting away from every day life. It seduces your own sensory faculties from the moment you walk-in the doors. You’re in the middle of greenery, drinking water fountains, and artwork because noises of fun therefore the smells of fresh seafood meals waft through the air. Before my personal order even gets to me, my personal mouth area is often watering with expectation. The good news is, each visitor will get his/her very own newly generated loaf of Cuban breads, thus I have actually something you should meet my personal preferences while I wait.

The 14-page diet plan is filled with good meals and supplies easy discussion starters for daters only getting to know each other. Each entrée, appetizer, and treat includes an enticing information and interesting history info. Including, the cafe’s coconut ice-cream ended up being a well liked of frozen dessert entrepreneur Gustavo Hernandez, the third boy of original Columbia president, now this sweet dish is actually supported inside the respect.

Through the vegetarian paella (Spanish grain mixed with hearty greens) to the shrimp great (shrimp covered with wafer-thin bacon), the foods within Columbia are bursting with taste. The shareable dishes, labeled as tapas, get this to restaurant ideal for couples on a date because you can come better together by sharing small dishes of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or packed peppers. You can make a budget-friendly dinner by purchasing some among these appetizers collectively — keep in mind to truly save place for dessert!

The Très Amigos churros will be an outstanding selection for partners because they’re tactile, sweet, and simply somewhat messy. You’ll be able to drop the piping-hot churros in candy, caramel, or guava sauce so there’s a little something for everybody. In addition, Columbia’s trademark light Chocolate Bread Pudding is actually an indulgent dessert excellent for splitting with a romantic date having a taste for white candy and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler web log named the Columbia Restaurant among St. Augustine’s leading date-night places, motivating couples to “start out with Columbia’s famous 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with much panache, immediately after which discuss a massive platter in the Paella a la Valenciana, full of shellfish, aromatic rice, and chorizo.”

Your intimate night will be-all the more pleasurable if you combine with your dinner a glass of the Melanie Chardonnay, a refreshing drink called after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school lover and spouse.

Plus, within Columbia eatery, the sangria will be die for. Severely, it comes of the cup you could also separate a pitcher of white or red sangria with a romantic date to boost your own dinner experience. Generously big cuts of fresh fruit drift from inside the drink and infuse it with rich types. Whether you’re buying this traditional sangria or one of several bistro’s family members wines, the high-caliber beverages try not to let you down.

Michael told all of us the group helps make an endeavor to offer inexpensive yet high quality wines to whet guests’ appetites. “the wine selection should be completely suited for the meal we offer and your price,” he said.

Countless partners & groups have actually Shared Special times Here

When i believe with the Columbia, In my opinion on the night we made a decision to have treat for dinner, and my personal parents ordered churros, crucial lime pie, mango mousse cake, white chocolate loaves of bread pudding, and five spoons. I do believe of my twin-brother attempting grouper the very first time on all of our 20th birthday and claiming excitedly, “just take my personal picture” because the guy wanted to program their girl (who is now his spouse) which he liked taking in fish as much as she performed.

In countless methods, the Columbia feels like the place, but my family actually really the only household to own made recollections during that cafe and its particular six sister locations across Fl. Individuals arrived at the cafe whatsoever phases of existence because it provides a particular environment that sets really with any function.

Notoriously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio happened to be regular friends with the Columbia in the early 1950s. The Columbia team settled tribute into pair therefore the loving thoughts they provided within cafe by naming a dish after them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed combination of tenderloin guidelines, boneless chicken white meat, shrimp, and chicken — is actually a tasty note for the very long reputation of love inside the Columbia’s dining rooms.

Whether you’re going on a first day or remembering a marriage anniversary, you will find intimacy and enthusiasm flourish in the gentle candlelight of the Columbia eatery.

“It is one of our objectives,” Michael said, “to have people feel as if the Columbia is the place to get to celebrate existence’s goals.”

The Columbia Restaurant has Family standards toward Table

The Columbia eatery charms daters with genuine dishes, divine atmospheres, and personable service. The computers, about at the Columbia in Sand Key, focus on their unique visitors and therefore are rapid to say “Welcome straight back” to loyal clients whom, like my children, end up returning to the classy eating spaces repeatedly.

This long-standing eating establishment has actually expanded and changed in the decades, it hasn’t forgotten about its century-long household roots. Richard has bold plans to serve diners and daters throughout Florida inside years to come. “Our owner does not sleep,” Michael mentioned with a laugh. “he is always dreaming upwards something totally new.”

The Columbia staff intends to open at the very least two brand new restaurants into the following decades. One will end up being easily situated right down the street from initial Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set to open up in fall 2018, pay honor to a little community in Sicily in which a majority of Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants came from — the genuine diet plan is designed to bring these individuals a delicious reminder of house.

Suffering management and top quality types improve Columbia Restaurant and all the aunt restaurants really impressive places where singles and lovers can spend an evening in the company of those they like finest.


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