The Columbia Restaurant
Celebrating a Century of History, Culture, and Cuisine
Andrew T. Husewith Recipes and Memories from Richard Gonzmart and the Columbia Family
Behind the scenes at one of Florida's most beloved restaurants
"I recommend this book be read with a side order of Spanish bean soup, Cuban bread, and a cup of café con leche."--Rodney Kite-Powell II, Tampa Bay History Center
"Much like the Columbia Restaurant's delicious and iconic 1905 Salad, this book offers an incredible buffet of savory, tangy, and flavorful anecdotes which authoritatively detail the landmark's rich culinary and cultural impact on Tampa, its employees, and its customers."--Jeff Houck, food writer, Tampa Tribune
"What better way to learn about the history of Tampa and Ybor City--its changing nature and its constancy--than by reading about the Columbia Restaurant? Huse has you tasting and smelling the kitchen through his descriptive prose. This book has it all."--Elizabeth M. Williams, president, Southern Food & Beverage Museum
The Columbia is Florida's oldest and most honored restaurant. Founded in 1905 as a cafe catering to immigrant cigar workers in Ybor City, it has grown into one of the culinary touchstones of the state. Handed down from generation to generation, the Columbia remains family owned and operated, with seven locations from St. Augustine to Sarasota.
In The Columbia Restaurant, Andrew Huse provides an in-depth look at the people who made the restaurant great. With a historian's eye for accuracy and a storyteller's ear for delicious anecdotes, Huse traces the fortunes of the Columbia from the founder, Casimiro Hernandez Sr., to his great-grandson, fourth-generation restaurateur Richard Gonzmart.
The Columbia's history is rich with stories of secret stashes of liquor, backroom deals with gangsters, waiters who never forgot an order, business challenges from the Great Depression to urban renewal and beyond.
Keeping in mind why people fall in love with a restaurant, the book includes favorite recipes from across the years, along with hundreds of color and black and white photographs that trace the Columbia's evolution across the century.
Andrew T. Huse is a librarian with the University of South Florida's Special Collections department who lectures across the state about Florida food and foodways.
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The poignant story of an American family shaped by their Cuban and Spanish heritage and their love for the worlds and people of Florida, whom they so deeply touched through a magical creation of food and entertainment.
--Tampa Bay History
As timeless as the 107-year-old restaurant that first opened its doors in Tampa in 1905. … A mix of recipes and fun stories about gangsters, waiters and running restaurants make this one delicious read.