Columbia Restaurant Group to bid on Convention Center food, drink contract

"When you see it, everybody's gonna think, 'Wow, what a difference," Richard Gonzmart said.

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click to enlarge Richard Gonzmart discussing the new partnership, with Casey Gonzmart to his left, Casey Gonzmart Jr. to his right, and pups Rex and Rusty. - Meaghan Habuda
Meaghan Habuda
Richard Gonzmart discussing the new partnership, with Casey Gonzmart to his left, Casey Gonzmart Jr. to his right, and pups Rex and Rusty.

On Wednesday afternoon, Columbia Restaurant Group co-owner Richard Gonzmart announced his plans to pursue a food and beverage contract at the Tampa Convention Center. A national food service company, Spectra by Comcast Spectator, will partner with the restaurant group on its request for proposal.

According to Gonzmart, who held a press conference for the news along the Tampa Riverwalk, his Convention Center bid will offer out-of-towners the grub they expect while visiting Florida as well as appeal to residents. He also said he guarantees that he could increase revenues.

"And I can't share with you what the vision is 'cause that'll be in the [proposal]," Gonzmart said, "but I can promise you that when you see it, everybody's gonna think, 'Wow, what a difference."

The Lutz-based Spectra operates at local venues like Tampa's MOSI, Lowry Park Zoo and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. The new partnership is set to develop "a true Fresh from Florida concept" through its relationship with local farmers, ranchers and suppliers.

"Spectra really can assist us in doing something that would be unique to anywhere in the United States," Gonzmart said.

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