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Published on Jun 19, 2015
Praised by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn for a "heart as big as Florida,” Richard Gonzmart became one of the first three Luminaries in a new program in May 2015 from The Junior League of Tampa and WEDU Public Media.
"I'm just carrying a torch and letting it burn brightly before I pass it on to the next generation," Gonzmart said of his role as the fourth generation president of the 110-year-old Columbia Restaurant Group. The other two honorees are Sister Claire LeBoeuf and former Florida Gov. Bob Martinez.
Enjoy this documentary clip from WEDU featuring Richard Gonzmart.
The Columbia Restaurant Group consists of four concepts including Columbia, Ulele, Cha Cha Coconuts and Goody Goody. The Columbia was founded in 1905 and is Florida’s Oldest RestaurantSM. Locations include the flagship restaurant in Tampa’s Historic Ybor City, additional locations include St. Armands Circle in Sarasota, the Historic District in St. Augustine, Sand Key on Clearwater Beach, Central Florida''s town of Celebration, the Columbia Cafe on the Riverwalk in Tampa and the Columbia Restaurant Cafe 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. Cha Cha Coconuts is a tropical bar and grill that opened in 1989 on St. Armands Circle in Sarasota. Ulele opened to rave reviews in 2014 on the Hillsborough River in Tampa Heights.
In Oct. 2014, Richard Gonzmart announced that he had purchased the rights to the Goody Goody brand. A Tampa landmark since 1925 and closed for 10 years, the iconic Goody Goody restaurant will be reborn in 2015 under Gonzmart’s direction in Tampa’s Hyde Park Village. A date for the opening will be announced in the coming months.