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Our Story

The Columbia Restaurant began as a dream.

For Spanish-Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez, Sr. , arriving in Tampa, FL, with his four young sons meant searching for opportunity and a better life. 

On Dec. 17, 1903, he helped to open the Columbia Saloon, which became the Columbia Restaurant in 1905.

Over nearly 120 years, the original restaurant has expanded to an entire city block and is now the largest Spanish restaurant in the world. 

Casimiro's descendants diligently care for the Columbia Restaurant and help preserve his American dream. As Florida’s oldest restaurant, the Columbia has seven locations in Florida and is still owned and operated by family members. 

1920s Columbia Restaurant Don Quixote dining room
1940s Columbia Restaurant Don Quixote dining room
Color sketch of the Columbia Restaurant exterior - links to Columbia Ybor page

Read More About The History At Columbia Ybor City

Fourth and Fifth Generations:

Columbia Restaurant brick wall.jpg

Casey Gonzmart is the great-grandson of Casimiro Hernandez, Sr., the founder of the  Columbia Restaurant.

Portrait of Richard Gonzmart

The fourth-generation “caretaker” of the Columbia Restaurant Group and 1905 Family Of Restaurants.  

Portrait of Andrea Gonzmart Williams

As a fifth-generation member of the Hernandez/Gonzmart family, Andrea began working at the Columbia when she was 10 years old.

Portrait of Casey Gonzmart, Jr.

Growing up within his family’s restaurant, Casey Jr., was introduced to the hospitality industry at an early age. His passion for hospitality has continued throughout his life.

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