USF librarian to discuss piece of Tampa’s history

Students will get an in-depth look at a “real staple” in Tampa’s culture today: Ybor City’s Columbia Restaurant.

USF assistant librarian Andy Huse will discuss his book “The Columbia Restaurant: Celebrating a Century of History, Cultures, and Cuisine” in the Grace Allen Room on the fourth floor of the Library at 2:30 p.m.

Huse will talk about the history of the restaurant, which spans more than 100 years, said Program Assistant for the USF Humanities Institute Melanie Formentin.

“Tampa has such a rich history,” Formentin said. “(The Columbia Restaurant) is just one of the pieces of that history.”

Formentin said the owners of the restaurant, the Gonzmart family, approached Huse a few years ago as the centennial anniversary of the restaurant’s opening approached. The restaurant, which originally opened in Ybor City in 1905, now has seven locations throughout Florida.

The Gonzmart family asked Huse to write the book, which archives the restaurant’s history through interviews, photographs, recipes and more, Formentin said.

With two master’s degrees from USF – one in history and one in library and information sciences – Formentin said Huse is “homegrown.”

“He is local; he is from USF,” she said. “At the Humanities Institute we think it’s important to highlight staff members.”

Huse, who has a specific interest in culinary and Florida history, works in the Library’s Special Collections Department and conducts interviews for the Library’s Oral History program.

Formentin said she expects 40 to 50 attendees at the event, which is sponsored by the USF Humanities Institute.