• Columbia Restaurant Café at Tampa International Airport Wins Accolades as One of the Best Airport Restaurants Around the World

    Also Honored with the Richard A. Griesbach Award of Excellence
    for Best New Food and Beverage Concession

    TAMPA, Fla., December 11, 2012 – – The Columbia Restaurant Café at Tampa International Airport was named #25 in a list of 31 Best Airport Restaurants Around the World by The Daily Meal in November 2012.

    The Daily Meal’s list of the 31 Best Airport Restaurants Around the World was carefully curated through a six-month-long nomination process. The Daily Meal staff packed its bags, hit the road, canvassed concourses around the world, and compiled a preliminary list of more than 100 restaurants.

    Restaurants were judged in two categories: cuisine and style/décor/service. From innovative menu options to plating and presentation to freshness, quality, and taste, The Daily Meal evaluated each restaurant’s cuisine and only included the restaurants that were deemed to be extraordinary. For the second category, panelists evaluated the dining experience, from the restaurant’s interior and dining room ambiance to the service, voting for the restaurants that offer an unrivaled experience.

    The complete list can be seen here: http://www.thedailymeal.com/31-best-airport-restaurants-around-world-slideshow

    The Columbia Restaurant Café at Tampa International Airport earned an additional accolade for
    first place in the “Best New Food and Beverage” category of the Richard A. Griesbach Awards of Excellence. This honor was received in November from The Airports Council International-North America. The ACI-NA is in its fifteenth year of holding the Richard A. Griesbach contest, which promotes innovation within the airport concessions industry.

    The Columbia Restaurant Café at Tampa International Airport opened Sunday, May 27th, 2012 in partnership with HMSHost, offering over 107 years of a taste of Tampa. The original Columbia Restaurant was founded in Tampa’s Historic Ybor City in 1905 by Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez, Sr. The Columbia is Florida’s oldest restaurant.

    “As Florida’s oldest restaurant, we feel that our location at Tampa International Airport gives us a wonderful opportunity to serve both locals and visitors a taste of Tampa,” said Columbia Restaurant scion Richard Gonzmart, president and fourth generation family member.

    Casey Gonzmart Jr., fifth generation family member, is the general manager of the Columbia Restaurant Café, and continues the legacy of his family’s business.

    The Columbia Restaurant Café is located in Concourse E with Delta and Air Canada. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily, offering family recipes that have made the Columbia famous for over a century, like the Original Tampa Cuban Sandwich (recently proclaimed by Tampa’s City Council as the City’s “Signature Sandwich”), steaming hot bowls of Spanish Bean Soup and Black Bean Soup, and the too good to miss, Columbia’s Original “1905” Salad® named “One of the 10 Best Salads to Make a Meal Out Of” by USA Today. Other menu favorites include Miranda’s Ybor City Devil Crab Croquettes, Chicken and Yellow Rice “Ybor” and Picadillo “Criollo.” Breakfast choices include Eggs Malagueña, Tortilla Española, Torreja’s and the Ybor City standard breakfast of Café con Leche and Cuban toast.

    Customers can dine at a scaled version of the original Brunswick bar, built over a century ago at Columbia Ybor City. A full bar is available, along with selections from the Columbia’s private label wines from Spain, California & Argentina and Columbia’s private label spirits including Don Casimiro Classic Silver Rum, Screaming Richard Tequila and Chacho Bourbon.

    For those looking for the perfect souvenir, they can choose a taste of The Columbia with signature packaged food items including “1905” dressing, Sangria mix, Columbia all-purpose seasoning, salsa picante hot sauce, and Columbia Cuban and American coffees.

    The original Columbia Restaurant was founded in Tampa’s Historic Ybor City in 1905 by Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez, Sr. It began as a 60-seat corner café known for its Cuban coffee and authentic Cuban sandwiches, frequented by the local cigar workers, and is now Florida’s Oldest Restaurant. Additional locations include St. Armands Circle in Sarasota, the Historic District in St. Augustine, The Pier in Downtown St. Petersburg, 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 4th and 5th generation members of the founding family; except for Columbia Restaurant Cafe at Tampa International Airport which is operated in partnership with HMSHost. Please see www.columbiarestaurant.com for more information.

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    Columbia Restaurant: Angela Geml 813-248-3000, ext. 17, or a.geml@columbiarestaurant.com