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Area restaurant company to reopen some locations

The Columbia Restaurant Group aims to have all of its properties back up and running by June 1.

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  • | 3:52 p.m. May 13, 2020
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File. Richard Gonzmart is the president and fourth-generation caretaker of the Columbia Restaurant Group.
File. Richard Gonzmart is the president and fourth-generation caretaker of the Columbia Restaurant Group.
  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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TAMPA — The Columbia Restaurant Group, which dates back to 1905 and is headquartered in Ybor City, will open two of its Sarasota eateries, Cha Cha Coconuts and the Columbia Restaurant, on May 15 and 18, respectively. 

The establishments, both located on St. Armands Circle, will reopen with streamlined menus and social-distancing practices in place for the health and safety of guests and employees, according to a press release. The restaurants temporarily closed on March 20 after Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered all indoor dining restaurants to close because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We’re very happy to reopen our doors in Sarasota,” states Richard Gonzmart, fourth-generation caretaker and president of the Columbia Restaurant Group, in the release. “It’s part of a gradual reopening of all of our restaurants throughout Florida. We made a conscious decision to wait until we were confident we could offer a safe and healthy environment for our staff members and our guests.”

Gonzmart, in the release, says the company has closely monitored COVID-19 test data issued by Florida’s State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC). He and his team “have been encouraged both by the increase in testing and also the lower percentage of positive results for the virus,” he states. 

The Sarasota Columbia and Cha Cha Coconuts will both be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. 

“We are very much looking forward to reopening in Sarasota and setting the new standard for our restaurant group,” Gonzmart states in the release. “It’s been a long two months, and we’ve missed everyone. Welcome back.”

Columbia Restaurant Group’s other properties — including Ulele in Tampa, Goody Goody in Tampa, the Columbia in Clearwater Beach, the Columbia in Ybor City and the Columbia Café at the Tampa Bay History Center — will open in phases beginning on May 20, the release states, and concluding on June 1.



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