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

The Short variation: Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant has actually served Spanish and Cuban-inspired meals and products that signify a long-standing genealogy. Founded by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia continues to be an area favored because of its standard ingredients and personable service. Over time, people from worldwide have come into the attractive restaurant to celebrate involvements, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, along with other monumental moments. Nowadays, the 4th and fifth generations in the family members has and functions 13 various restaurants throughout Florida. If you’re searching for fine dining with a good conventional family members feel, you are able to reserve a table from inside the stunning and enchanting dinner rooms from the Columbia eatery.


Over the past 30 years, my loved ones’s preferred holiday destination happens to be an oceanfront hotel in Sand Key, Fl. We have eliminated here over 12 occasions to create mud castles, place whales, and consume tasty dinners on patios overlooking the gulf coast of florida.

We’ve carefully explored town’s restaurant choice, looking from greatest local joints around, nonetheless it merely thus occurs your one cafe each of us enjoy a lot of is within taking walks distance your lodge. The Columbia Restaurant’s white linen tablecloths, mindful solution, and mouth-watering food enable it to be all of our go-to area for dinner.

When we were young ones, my moms and dads would get us a cheddar pizza pie as they checked out this enchanting Spanish cafe by yourself; however, we now enjoy tapas and drink just as much as they do, so we’ve begun crashing their own night out — sometimes bringing along times of our very own.

Since 1905, the Columbia eatery has actually wowed patrons with Spanish and Cuban dishes and an old-world atmosphere. Though it’s the oldest bistro in Florida, business still is operated by descendants with the original founder. Every product throughout the selection features a story behind it, and several associated with recipes have-been transmitted from one generation on the Hernandez Gonzmart household to the next. Family members practice is an enormous the main Columbia’s menu, record, and way of service.

“The staff is also slightly like family,” mentioned Michael Kilgore, the principle advertising Officer when it comes to Columbia. “a number of our workers stay for 20 or 30 years. One of many things we love about our group is actually how much time they stay with us. They come here and discover a home.”

You may enjoy this comfy and welcoming environment on your own after that night out when you go to any of the Columbia’s seven various restaurants. The Columbia eatery presently acts visitors in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater Beach, and Celebration. Whether you are sipping wine on a picturesque balcony or watching flamenco performers light up the level when you take in tapas, you are certain to have a remarkable night at the Columbia.

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

The Columbia Restaurant can locate its record back again to Dec. 17, 1903 — alike time the Wright brothers successfully tested the planet’s first airplane. Which was whenever a Cuban immigrant named Casimiro Hernandez Sr. began running a saloon for a nearby preparing organization in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious entrepreneur turned the saloon into a popular 60-seat cafe known for their genuine Cuban coffee-and snacks. Soon after their success, Casimiro purchased a cafe or restaurant across the street and changed it into a gorgeous dining room. In 1930, their son took more than ownership and procedure of thriving restaurant.

Throughout Great Depression, their daughter Casimiro Jr. built the very first air-conditioned living area in Tampa. He hoped the upscale look and raised dancing flooring would draw individuals to the restaurant which help all of them forget about their concerns for every night. The Don Quixote area was popular, plus the Columbia could keep the doors open even though many some other companies collapsed.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia to his only kid, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an experienced artist who had came across the woman husband, Cesar Gonzmart, during the Tampa restaurant. This theatrical pair delivered entertainment and artistry to your Columbia, creating a showroom that hosted lots of talented Latin dancers and artists. Under Adela and Cesar’s leadership, the Columbia expanded to Sarasota alongside areas in Fl.

Today, one of Adela and Cesar’s two sons has brought the reins and held their family’s business going. Richard Gonzmart was working at their family members’ restaurants since he had been 12 years old, very he’s closely familiar with their atmosphere and background. Richard can suggest the table during the Columbia Restaurant in which the guy and his awesome partner had their own first date over 43 in years past.

“there are many romance here, therefore have actually a good tale,” said Michael. “not as much as 15 restaurants in america tend to be family-owned and most a century old, so we’re in pretty elite company.”

Fl’s earliest cafe has actually a satisfied and enduring history grounded on food, family, and fun. Michael told united states the 5th generation of founding family members happens to be being groomed to take over eventually. Richard’s daughters and nephew took in productive administration roles in the restaurants and are also prepared to maintain family tradition choosing many more many years to come.

The Columbia was acknowledged with from the greatest prizes inside the bistro industry, including induction into Nation’s Restaurant Information’ “good eating Hall of popularity,” gained the “Distinguished Restaurants of America (SiRoNA) honor of quality,” Fl Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of Fame,” and Wine Spectator’s “good Award of Excellence.”

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

The Columbia eatery sets a lavish table and offers an enjoyable escape from every day life. It seduces your senses as soon as you walk-in the doorways. You’re in the middle of greenery, liquid fountains, and artwork just like the noises of laughter while the smells of new fish and shellfish meals waft through atmosphere. Before my personal order even gets to me, my personal throat is always watering with anticipation. Luckily for us, each visitor will get his/her own recently generated loaf of Cuban breads, therefore I have actually something to satisfy my personal preferences while we wait.

The 14-page eating plan is filled with good food additionally provides effortless conversation starters for daters only getting to know one another. Each entrée, appetizer, and treat includes an enticing information as well as interesting history details. For-instance, the cafe’s coconut frozen dessert was a well liked of frozen dessert entrepreneur Gustavo Hernandez, the 3rd boy of initial Columbia president, and today this nice recipe is supported in his honor.

From the veggie paella (Spanish rice mixed with hearty veggies) to your shrimp great (shrimp wrapped in wafer-thin bacon), the foodstuffs from the Columbia tend to be bursting with flavor. The shareable plates, also known as tapas, make this cafe ideal for lovers on a romantic date as you will come better collectively by revealing small plates of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or stuffed peppers. It is possible to make a budget-friendly meal by ordering certain of the appetizers collectively — remember to truly save space for treat!

The Très Amigos churros could well be an excellent selection for partners because they’re tactile, nice, and simply just a little dirty. You’ll dip the piping-hot churros in chocolate, caramel, or guava sauce so there’s a little something for everybody. Plus, Columbia’s signature light Chocolate Bread Pudding is actually an indulgent dessert perfect for splitting with a night out together who has a taste for white candy and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler blog called the Columbia eatery among St. Augustine’s leading date-night places, promoting partners to “start with Columbia’s famous 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with much panache, after which discuss an enormous plate of this Paella a la Valenciana, overflowing with shellfish, fragrant grain, and chorizo.”

Your own intimate night will be all more satisfying should you combine along with your dinner one glass of the Melanie Chardonnay, an abundant wine known as after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school sweetheart and wife.

Plus, in the Columbia Restaurant, the sangria would be to die for. Really, it comes down by glass you could in addition split a pitcher of white or yellow sangria with a date to boost your own dinner knowledge. Nicely huge cuts of fresh fruit drift for the drink and infuse it with rich styles. Whether you’re buying this classic sangria or among the many cafe’s household wines, the high-caliber products don’t disappoint.

Michael informed you the team makes an attempt to provide inexpensive but high quality wines to whet friends’ appetites. “the drink option need perfectly designed for the food we provide along with your selling price,” he mentioned.

Countless Couples & Families have actually Shared specialized times Here

When i do believe from the Columbia, i do believe on the night we made a decision to have dessert for lunch, and my moms and dads bought churros, crucial lime pie, mango mousse dessert, white candy bread dessert, and five spoons. I think of my personal twin-brother attempting grouper for the first time on the twentieth birthday and saying excitedly, “simply take my image” because he wanted to program his gf (who’s now their spouse) that he enjoyed eating fish around she performed.

In a lot of techniques, the Columbia feels like the spot, but my loved ones isn’t really the sole family members getting made memories at this cafe as well as its six sister places across Florida. Men and women reach the cafe after all stages of life given that it provides an unique environment that sets well with any occasion.

Notoriously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio had been repeated friends associated with Columbia in early 1950s. The Columbia staff paid tribute with the couple plus the loving thoughts they provided at cafe by naming a dish after all of them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed blend of tenderloin recommendations, boneless chicken, shrimp, and pork — is a delicious note associated with long reputation for relationship within the Columbia’s dining spaces.

Whether you’re taking place a primary day or honoring a wedding anniversary, you’ll find intimacy and enthusiasm achieve the smooth candlelight for the Columbia Restaurant.

“It’s one of our goals,” Michael stated, “getting individuals feel like the Columbia is the place to come quickly to celebrate life’s goals.”

The Columbia Restaurant has household standards on Table

The Columbia Restaurant charms daters with real dishes, divine atmospheres, and personable solution. The hosts, about at our very own Columbia in Sand Key, focus on their unique visitors and so are rapid to say “Welcome back” to loyal customers just who, like my children, find themselves going back to the classy dining areas over and over again.

This long-standing eating place has grown and changed in the many years, nevertheless never disregarded its century-long family members sources. Richard features challenging intends to offer diners and daters throughout Florida into the a long time. “the manager does not sleep,” Michael mentioned with fun. “he is usually fantasizing up something totally new.”

The Columbia team intends to open up at the least two new restaurants for the following years. One will be conveniently situated correct next door from original Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set to start in autumn 2018, can pay respect to limited village in Sicily where most Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants arrived from — the genuine diet plan aims to bring these households a delicious indication of residence.

Enduring leadership and high quality flavors improve Columbia eatery and all of the sis restaurants truly great places where singles and couples can spend an evening in the company of those they love best dating sites for over 40.

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