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Columbia Restaurant: Celebrating a Century of History, Culture, and Cuisine - Our Book

TAMPA, Fla., - - Florida's Oldest RestaurantSM, The legendary Columbia Restaurant, shares over a century of stories and recipes in a book to tantalize the taste buds and imagination called The Columbia Restaurant: Celebrating a Century of History, Culture, and Cuisine.

Over 100 years of The Columbia’s history comes to life in 300+ colorful pages, illustrated with many new color and black and white photos along with stories from the Hernandez Gonzmart family members, employees, business partners and long-time customers.

This book will delight home cooks, offering 77 new, authentic recipes and theme menus for the holidays, Sunday brunch, wine tastings, and cocktail parties. Learn simple and elaborate dishes made famous by the Columbia.

History buffs will enjoy the newly-researched origins of The Columbia and stories of its early struggles through Prohibition and Depression.

Watch The Columbia’s glamorous rise during the 1950s, when it throbbed with romantic music supplied by Third Generation Family Member Cesar Gonzmart and his magic violin. Federal bulldozers lurked in the 1960s, as urban renewal demolished much of the old Latin Quarter. In the 80s, new locations meant new opportunities and risks. Somehow, the Gonzmart family made the struggle look easy.

A death in the family prompted a business crisis in the 1990s that threatened the Columbia as it neared its centennial. Quick thinking and hard work salvaged the sinking ship and charted her into the 21st Century. The voices of employees, family members, and friends help tell the Columbia’s colorful and fascinating story.

Published in October 2009, The Columbia Restaurant: Celebrating a Century of History, Culture, and Cuisine is available for 29.95 at any Columbia Restaurant, or visit our online store.

The Columbia Restaurant in Tampa’s Historic Ybor City was founded in 1905 and is Florida’s oldest restaurant. Additional locations include St. Armands Circle in Sarasota, the Historic District in St. Augustine, Sand Key on Clearwater Beach, Central Florida's town of Celebration, the Columbia Café on the Riverwalk in Tampa and the Columbia Restaurant Café at Tampa International Airport. All Columbia locations are owned and operated by fourth and fifth generation members of the founding family except for Columbia Restaurant Cafe at Tampa International Airport, which is operated in partnership with HMSHost. Follow on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Please see for more information.

Contact: Angela Geml at 813-248-3000 ext. 17 or [email protected]