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    Home / Uncategorized / The Family-Owned Columbia Restaurant: Florida’s Oldest Eatery Creates a lovely Background For Your Intimate Moments

    The Family-Owned Columbia Restaurant: Florida’s Oldest Eatery Creates a lovely Background For Your Intimate Moments

    The Quick Version: Since 1905, the Columbia eatery features supported Spanish and Cuban-inspired meals and beverages that represent a long-standing family history. Based by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia continues to be a nearby favorite due to the standard ingredients and friendly solution. Throughout the years, individuals from all over the globe came for the glamorous cafe to celebrate involvements, anniversaries, birthdays, also monumental times. These days, the fourth and fifth years of the family is the owner of and operates 13 different restaurants throughout Florida. If you’re searching for good eating with a decent traditional household sense, you can reserve a table in the stunning and romantic eating areas on the Columbia eatery.


    For the past thirty years, my children’s preferred vacation destination is an oceanfront resort in Sand Key, Florida. We have now eliminated truth be told there over a dozen instances to construct mud castles, area dolphins, and consume delicious meals on patios ignoring the gulf.

    We carefully discovered the town’s cafe selection, looking around the actual best local joints about, however it simply therefore happens the one bistro each of us enjoy the majority of is within taking walks range of our own lodge. The Columbia eatery’s white-linen tablecloths, conscious solution, and mouth-watering meals enable it to be our go-to place for lunch.

    When we happened to be children, my personal parents would get united states a mozzarella cheese pizza pie while they went to this intimate Spanish cafe by yourself; however, we now enjoy tapas and wine as much because they do, therefore we’ve started crashing their date night — often providing along times of our own own.

    Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant features wowed clients with Spanish and Cuban meals and an old-world atmosphere. Although itis the oldest cafe in Fl, the organization still is operate by descendants regarding the original creator. Every item on diet plan has a story behind it, and several of this meals are transmitted from one generation in the Hernandez Gonzmart household to a higher. Household custom is an enormous a portion of the Columbia’s eating plan, history, and method of solution.

    “the employees is also some like family members,” mentioned Michael Kilgore, the Chief promotional Officer your Columbia. “Many of our staff stay for 20 or three decades. One of the circumstances we love about all of our class is actually how much time they stick to you. They come right here in order to find a property.”

    You may enjoy this comfortable and pleasant atmosphere on your own then date night by visiting any one of the Columbia’s seven different restaurants. The Columbia Restaurant presently serves visitors in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater seashore, and Celebration. Whether you’re sipping wine on a picturesque balcony or watching flamenco performers light up the phase even though you consume tapas, you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable night in the Columbia.

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

    The Columbia eatery can trace the record back again to Dec. 17, 1903 — the same time the Wright brothers effectively tried the entire world’s very first airplane. That was when a Cuban immigrant called Casimiro Hernandez Sr. began running a saloon for a nearby brewing business in Tampa’s Ybor City.

    In 1905, the industrious entrepreneur switched the saloon into a favorite 60-seat cafe recognized for the authentic Cuban coffee-and sandwiches. Soon after their success, Casimiro bought a cafe or restaurant next-door and changed it into an attractive dining area. In 1930, his son took over ownership and operation for the flourishing cafe.

    While in the Great anxiety, their son Casimiro Jr. created the initial air-conditioned dining room in Tampa. The guy hoped its upscale appearance and raised dance floor would draw people to the bistro which help all of them forget their particular fears for every night. The Don Quixote Room had been a winner, plus the Columbia was able to hold its doors open even though many some other businesses collapsed.

    In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia on to his just child, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an established musician who’d met her husband, Cesar Gonzmart, in the Tampa bistro. This theatrical pair delivered activity and artistry towards the Columbia, developing a showroom that managed lots of skilled Latin performers and performers. Under Adela and Cesar’s authority, the Columbia expanded to Sarasota along with other areas in Fl.

    Today, certainly one of Adela and Cesar’s two sons has brought the reins and held his family members’ business going. Richard Gonzmart has-been functioning at their family members’ restaurants since he had been 12 yrs . old, therefore he is closely familiar with the environment and background. Richard can suggest the dining table in the Columbia Restaurant where he along with his wife had their unique first time significantly more than 43 in years past.

    “There’s a lot of romance right here, so we have outstanding tale,” stated Michael. “around 15 restaurants in the us tend to be family-owned and more than a century old, so we’re in pretty elite business.”

    Fl’s earliest restaurant has a pleased and enduring record rooted in food, family, and fun. Michael informed united states the fifth generation with the founding household is currently getting groomed to take-over someday. Richard’s daughters and nephew have chosen to take in active administration functions in the restaurants as they are prepared maintain the family custom opting for many others a long time.

    The Columbia has-been acknowledged with of this greatest prizes inside cafe industry, such as induction into Nation’s eatery News’ “Fine eating Hall of Fame,” received the “Distinguished Restaurants of the united states (SiRoNA) honor of quality,” Florida Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of Fame,” and Wine Spectator’s “Best of honor of Excellence.”

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

    The Columbia eatery sets a lavish dining table and offers an enjoyable escape from daily life. It seduces your senses as soon as you walk in the doorways. You’re enclosed by greenery, h2o fountains, and artwork just like the noise of laughter as well as the smells of new fish and shellfish dishes waft through air. Before my personal purchase actually gets to me personally, my personal mouth is always watering with expectation. Thankfully, each visitor gets their own recently generated loaf of Cuban bread, therefore I have actually one thing to satisfy my personal tastebuds while we wait.

    The 14-page diet plan is full of great meals but additionally provides easy dialogue beginners for daters only learning the other person. Each entrée, appetizer, and dessert is sold with an enticing information as well as fascinating history information. For-instance, the bistro’s coconut frozen dessert was actually a preferred of ice cream business person Gustavo Hernandez, the next child associated with original Columbia founder, and after this this sweet meal is actually served in his honor.

    Through the vegetarian paella (Spanish grain combined with satisfying greens) towards the shrimp supreme (shrimp covered with wafer-thin bacon), the foods within Columbia tend to be bursting with flavor. The shareable dishes, also known as tapas, get this bistro suitable for couples on a romantic date because you can come closer collectively by discussing small plates of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or packed peppers. You can create a budget-friendly food by ordering some among these appetizers with each other — just remember to truly save place for treat!

    The Très Amigos churros is an excellent option for lovers because they’re tactile, sweet, and simply a little dirty. You are able to drop the piping-hot churros in candy, caramel, or guava sauce generally there’s something for everyone. In addition, Columbia’s trademark light Chocolate Bread Pudding is actually an indulgent dessert perfect for splitting with a romantic date having a taste for white chocolate and rum sauce.

    In 2017, the Marriott Traveler web log known as the Columbia Restaurant among St. Augustine’s top date-night places, promoting couples to “start with Columbia’s well-known 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with a lot panache, after which discuss a huge plate of Paella a la Valenciana, filled with shellfish, fragrant rice, and chorizo.”

    The enchanting evening will be-all the greater satisfying any time you set along with your food one cup of the Melanie Chardonnay, a rich drink named after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school sweetheart and partner.

    Plus, in the Columbia eatery, the sangria is die for. Seriously, it comes from the glass but you can also divide a pitcher of white or red sangria with a romantic date to enhance your dining knowledge. Generously huge pieces of fruit float in wine and infuse it with wealthy tastes. Whether you’re buying this traditional sangria or one of the bistro’s household wines, the high-caliber beverages usually do not disappoint.

    Michael told all of us the group helps make an attempt available affordable but top quality wines to whet guests’ appetites. “Our wine variety should always be completely suited to the meal we offer as well as your price,” the guy said.

    Many partners & groups Have Shared particular times Here

    When i do believe regarding the Columbia, I think associated with evening we made a decision to have dessert for supper, and my personal parents ordered churros, crucial lime pie, mango mousse cake, white chocolate breads dessert, and five spoons. I do believe of my twin brother attempting grouper for the first time on our very own twentieth birthday celebration and saying excitedly, “get my personal image” because he planned to reveal their girlfriend (who’s now their girlfriend) which he loved taking fish up to she performed.

    In countless steps, the Columbia feels like our spot, but my children is not the actual only real family to own generated recollections at this bistro and its own six sister areas across Fl. Men and women started to the bistro whatsoever stages of life because it supplies an unique environment that pairs really with any event.

    Notoriously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were regular guests with the Columbia in early 1950s. The Columbia employees paid tribute towards the few and also the enjoying thoughts they contributed in the restaurant by naming a dish after them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed mixture of tenderloin ideas, boneless chicken white meat, shrimp, and chicken — is a delicious reminder from the extended reputation for romance inside the Columbia’s dining spaces.

    Whether you are going on a first time or honoring a marriage anniversary, you’ll find closeness and love flourish in the soft candlelight associated with Columbia eatery.

    “its one of the goals,” Michael mentioned, “for folks feel like the Columbia is the perfect place to come to celebrate existence’s goals.”

    The Columbia eatery has household standards into Table

    The Columbia eatery charms daters with real dishes, divine atmospheres, and personable solution. The servers, at the very least at all of our Columbia in Sand Key, pay attention to their guests and are fast to state “Welcome right back” to faithful customers just who, like my loved ones, find themselves time for the stylish eating areas time and time again.

    This long-standing food institution features grown and changed in the many years, but it has never forgotten their century-long family sources. Richard has bold plans to serve diners and daters throughout Florida within the years into the future. “our very own holder doesn’t rest,” Michael stated with a laugh. “He’s constantly fantasizing right up something new.”

    The Columbia team intends to start about two new restaurants in upcoming many years. One will be easily found appropriate next door through the original Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set to open up in autumn 2018, can pay honor to a small community in Sicily where a majority of Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants emerged from — the real selection will deliver these households a tasty indication of residence.

    Enduring management and high quality tastes make the Columbia Restaurant and all the cousin restaurants genuinely amazing places in which singles and lovers can invest an evening with those they love most readily useful.