The Oldest Restaurant In Florida Has A Truly Incredible History

The restaurant business is tough, with so many places closing just as quickly as they open. That just makes it even more incredible that a restaurant could continue to run for more than 110 years.

The Columbia Restaurant in the historic Ybor City neighborhood of Tampa is not only the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Florida, it’s the oldest Spanish restaurant in the country. It’s equally amazing that this restaurant has remained in the same family for mroe than a century.

Though it began in 1905 as a little cafe serving Cuban fare for Ybor City’s cigar workers, over the years, it gradually expanded (even during the Great Depression). Eventually, it reached its massive city-block size of 1,700 seats in 15 dining rooms. Its 52,000 square feet make it one of the largest Spanish restaurants in the world.

Ybor City struggled in the 1950s and ’60s, but Columbia Restaurant stayed strong by building the Siboney Room, which hosted some of the top Latin entertainers of the time. Today, visitors still flock to Columbia to watch the Flamenco dancers almost every night of the week.

Columbia Restaurant has not only expanded in Ybor City, there are several other locations throughout Florida serving some of the best authentic Cuban and Spanish dishes in the state. Visiting Columbia Restaurant should be on every Floridian’s bucket list.

We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:

Want to check out some of the best restaurants in Florida? Here are The 14 Dishes You Have To Eat In Florida Before You Die.