November 15, 2012

A Meal at The Columbia Restaurant in Tampa's Ybor City

This week, I traveled to St. Petersburg, Florida to appear on the Home Shopping Network to sell our amazing line of Martha Stewart Crafts.  Once again, it was a very successful visit.  After the morning session, a small group of us took a drive in the area and ended up in the historic Tampa neighborhood of Ybor City.  Founded in the 1880s by cigar manufacturers, Ybor City became known as the cigar capital of the world for all of the millions of cigars that Cuban, Spanish, and Italian immigrants would roll each year in its factories.  The city grew and prospered until the Depression, when worldwide demand for cigars plummeted and hand-rolled manufacturing was replaced by cheaper mechanized methods.  Many of those factories were closed down.  Even though Ybor City has changed drastically over the years, one place still remains, the Columbia Restaurant, which opened in 1905.