- December 27, 2013
YBOR CITY — The Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam has recognized Ybor City's Columbia Restaurant with the “Fresh From Florida Century of Excellence” Award. The Columbia Restaurant received the award from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for more than 100 years of stewardship and promotion of Florida's agricultural and seafood products.
Putnam presented the award to Richard Gonzmart, the fourth-generation family member operating the restaurant. Former Gov. Bob Martinez joined Putnam in recognizing the Columbia Restaurant and the Hernandez-Gonzmart family.
“The Columbia Restaurant receiving the 'Fresh From Florida Century of Excellence' Award reflects their place as the cultural and culinary heart of Ybor City for the last century,” Martinez says in a press release. “My father worked as a server at Columbia Restaurant for nearly 40 years, so I couldn't be happier to see them receive recognition for their more than 100 years of hard work promoting Florida products.”
Founded in 1905 by Cuban immigrants, the Columbia Restaurant is the oldest continually operated restaurant in Florida, one of the oldest Spanish restaurants in the United States and one of the largest Spanish restaurants in the world, taking up an entire city block.
The Columbia Restaurant is the second recipient of this “Fresh From Florida Century of Excellence” Award. The award has also been presented to Joe's Stone Crabs of Miami Beach.