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Join us for an unforgettable evening at The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art with Richard Gonzmart. This exclusive event is a great opportunity to hear a talk from one of the world's premiere Catholic Executives. We look forward to networking with you!


Richard Gonzmart

CEO - OWNER of 1905 Family of Restaurants

Richard Gonzmart is the second great-grandson of Casimiro Hernandez, Sr., the founder of the world-famous Columbia Restaurant in Tampa's historic Ybor City. His parents also are Cesar and Adela Gonzmart.

Richard's education in the hospitality industry began almost as soon as when he was born. His earliest recollection was from 3 ½ -years-old when his grandfather, Casimiro Hernandez Jr., taught him how to identify fresh fish. Richard is the great-grandson of Casimiro Hernandez, Sr., the founder of the world-famous Columbia Restaurant in Tampa's historic Ybor City. Founded in 1905, the Columbia is the oldest restaurant in Florida and the oldest Hispanic restaurant in the United States.

Richard's practical experience in the food industry began at the early age of 12, when he started spending summers as an apprentice cook in the Columbia kitchen. He graduated high school from Tampa's Jesuit High School in 1971 and continued at the University of Denver School of Hotel and Restaurant Management and attended the Escuela de Turismo y Hosteleria in Madrid Spain.

Under Richard's direction, the Columbia family of restaurants has expanded from two locations to seven: From the flagship Columbia in Ybor City and in Sarasota to St. Augustine, Sand Key on Clearwater Beach, 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 the Columbia Restaurant Cafe at Tampa International Airport which is operated in partnership with HMSHost. Gonzmart also is responsible for the creation and development of Cha Cha Coconuts, with a location in Sarasota.

In August 2014 Richard opened a restaurant called Ulele, named for the daughter of a legendary Native American chief. The menu features items indigenous to this area's waters and farms. Ulele is on the Hillsborough River, just north of downtown Tampa in Tampa Heights. It's the site of a former City of Tampa Water Works building. A second location opened at Tampa International Airport in 2017.

The Gonzmart family always has been dedicated to the community. Richard learned the importance of giving back from his parents, Cesar and Adela Gonzmart. They provided financial and mentoring support to the University of South Florida in Tampa since the University's opening in 1960. They initiated the Latino Scholarship program in 1991 to assist deserving college-bound minority students at USF.

Richard is invited to Babson College annually, rated the #1 entrepreneurial school in the United States, as a speaker in Babson's Ultimate Entrepreneurial Challenge Class. Over the last nine years he has consistently been named the #1 Guest Speaker. He also speaks annually at a University of Tampa's Family Business Course.

In November 2020, Richard opened Casa Santo Stefano in Ybor City in the former Ferlita Macaroni Factory built in 1925. The restaurant and rooftop Santo's Drinkeria are an homage to the Sicilian immigrants who emigrated to Ybor City in the late 1890s and early 1900s to make a new life. The dining experience is intended to remind guests of dining at Nana's, much the way Richard did as a boy when he enjoyed Sunday suppers at his Sicilian best friend Vince Palori's house.


The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art
Central Avenue 150
St. Petersburg

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