Richard and Melanie
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 César and Adela Gonzmart.
The fourth-generation “caretaker” of the Columbia Restaurant Group, Richard Gonzmart has been named – as part of more than 100 awards – Community Hero by the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Boys and Girls Clubs, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. He also has been officially named a Luminary, a Visionary and a Philanthropist of the Year as well as Father of the Year, Hispanic Man of the Year, Businessman of the Year, Alumni of the Year at Jesuit and Academy of the Holy Names, Outstanding Citizen of the Year and Tampa Police Citizen of the Year.
He has been inducted into five Hall of Fames, among them, the Distinguished Restaurants of North America (DiRoNA) Hall of Fame. He is a three-time James Beard semi-finalist for Outstanding Restaurateur.
Gonzmart serves or has served on dozens of non-profit boards and organizations, including Tampa General Hospital’s governing board. He is passionate about the education of our youth and young adults, and about finding a cure for cancer. His mother Adela co-founded the USF Latino Scholarship Fund.
Pope Francis recognized Richard with the highest recognition of the Catholic Church, the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.
Casey and Heidi
Casey learned food preparation at an early age in the Columbia kitchen. Casey graduated high school from Tampa’s Jesuit High School and his formal education in hotel and restaurant administration continued at the Ecole Hoteliere in Lausanne, Switzerland, and at La Escuela Sindical de Hosteleria in Madrid, Spain. He apprenticed at the Ledoyen Restaurant in Paris, France, and the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva, Switzerland. He is chairman of the board of the Columbia Restaurant Group.
Through the years, Gonzmart has participated in a number of community organizations. He serves on the Board of Directors of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. He is a member of the Industry Liaison Council for the International Hospitality & Tourism Management program at Saint Leo University. He is the past chairman of the Ybor City Development Corporation and past chairman of the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce in Tampa, Florida.
Gonzmart resided in Sarasota, Florida, operating the Columbia Restaurant on St. Armands Circle for over 20 years before returning to Tampa. While in Sarasota, he served as president of the St. Armands Circle Association, and as president of the Suncoast Foundation for Handicapped Children. He served on the board of the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Mote Marine Laboratory.