Don Quixote Dining Room
The Hernandez/Gonzmart family opened the landmark Columbia Restaurant in Tampa's historic Ybor City in 1905. Today, it’s Florida’s Oldest Restaurant℠ and the world's largest Spanish restaurant.
When the Don Quixote Room opened in 1935 it featured not only Tampa’s first air-conditioned dining room, but also colorful tiles depicting the windmill-tilting character of Cervantes’ classic novel. Second generation owner Casimiro Hernandez, Jr. began his collection of Quixote-themed art in the 1930s. Spain’s ambassador to the U.S. visited the restaurant and gave him a tile once displayed at the 1936 Chicago World’s Fair. Other tiles Casimiro Jr. collected near Havana. In the late 1940s, he added $3,000 – a tidy sum back then -- of new tiles from Cuba, Spain and Mexico.