Spanish restaurant in Tampa still dances with tradition

 Ybor City’s Spanish and Cuban restaurant, the Columbia, was founded by Casimiro Hernandez Sr. in 1905. The Spanish traditions of the restaurant have been carried through family generations for over 100 years.

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“I enjoy the food here,” said Columbia customer Mark Anthony Puglio. “The food here is excellent. It always has been, since I was young.”

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Old Tampa cigar factory repurposes property, emerges as community cornerstone

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A historic three-story brick building has become a hot spot for artists in Tampa.

Santaella Studio for the ArtsBuilt in 1904 by wealthy cigar maker Antonio Santaella, the building was the home of the Santaella Cigar Factory.

The Santaella Cigar Factory was not only known for being one of the largest and most Babe Ruth at Santaella Cigar Factoryefficiently equipped factories in the city, but also for being Babe Ruth’s favorite place to stock up on cigars.

 

After being vacant for four years, Gray Ellis never thought he’d come to be the owner of such a factory.

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KES The Band brings Caribbean flair to USF

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Kees Dieffenthaller and DJ Robbie perform at the Caribbean Culture Exchange’s general body meeting. (Photo by Jasmin Lankford)

The energy in the room was electrifying. Toes were tapping and hands were clapping to the rhythm of Caribbean drums, guitars and a single soulful voice. Instantly, a woman felt as if she was standing on a beach in Trinidad, surrounded by clear water. Instead, she was inside the Marshall Student Center at the University of South Florida.

The music of KES The Band transported its listeners to the island it originated from, combining calypso music with R&B and reggae to create soca. USF’s Caribbean Cultural Exchange hosted this temporary island escape. The student organization treated its members on Oct. 15 to a meet and greet with KES.

“I have to say blessings to my management,” said Kees Dieffenthaller, the lead singer of KES. “They listen to what I want to do, and I really want to meet young people, vibe and just talk.”

Dieffenthaller visited the CCE’s general body meeting to answer questions from USF students and to sing several songs.

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Goody Goody, a slice of Tampa’s history to reopen

TAMPA, Fla.– Tampa’s longtime residents will once again take a bite of a burger, or a slice of pie, from the iconic Goody Goody restaurant. Former co-owner, Mike Wheeler, recently sold the restaurant and hopes its history continues.

“One of the motivating reasons of my selling it was that I wanted to see the Goody Goody remain a Tampa tradition,” Wheeler said.

The restaurant is now owned by businessman Richard Gonzmart.

“To sell it to somebody that we felt had high integrity and knew the restaurant business,” Wheeler said. “I think we found just the right person.”

Richard Gonzmart, the co-owner of Columbia Restaurant, used to visit Goody Goody, bringing food home to his family every Sunday. Michael Kilgore, chief marketing officer at Columbia Restaurant, says preserving the business was Gonzmart’s rescue mission.

“He wanted to try to preserve it and so as soon as it happened he started talking to Michael Wheeler about trying to buy the rights to it,” Kilgore said.

Goody Goody was first a drive-in restaurant, giving curb-side service from 1930 until 1984. The curb-side service was removed in late 1984.

A design has not been drafted yet, but it will continue as a family dine-in restaurant. As per the menu, the famous burger “POX”, pickles, onions, and secret sauce, is impossible to replicate, making it unique.

“They’re so unique and different and it’s just not like the hamburger with lettuce and tomato that you find in so many places,” Wheeler said. “They always go with a special…it’s called a ‘POX’, which stands for pickles, onions, and X, that sauce.”

Yvonne Freeman, also known as “the hamburger queen”, worked the last 46 years until 2005 as the manager and the official baker of those delicious pies.

The new location will open in South Tampa sometime in 2015.

The Art of Hairdressing: Shear Talent and Personality

Rosalia Becerra Barragan is not a typical licensed hairdresser. Six years ago, her interests changed from fashion to hair, allowing her to better apply her creativity.

“Ever since I was very young I’ve always been creative and I’ve always been interested in doing hair,” she said. “First it was fashion and then hair really interested me a lot and it allows me to be very creative in my work.”

Everyone is unique, and hairdressers often create clients’ style based on their personality.

“It’s not only just color in a box that you’re going to mix together. You have to determine what their underlining pigment is to get to that result,” Barragan said.

Barragan’s client Laura Rodriguez comes every few months, and today she retouched her “peek-a-boos”.

“I would not trust anybody else with my hair but her,” Rodriguez said. “You feel beautiful… and like a million bucks when you walk out of here.”

Barragan studied at Woody’s Hair Styling School in Orlando and continues to attend advanced education to grow as a professional.

“Hair is always evolving. Fashion is evolving. So you have to keep up with what clients are requesting,” Barragan said.

She currently averages 120 clients per month. But Barragan said her greatest achievement is her clients’ happiness.

“When they’re happy, I’m happy.”

Located at 1128 SE Carlstrom Field Rd., Shear Talent Hair Design specializes in more than just hair. It provides manicure, pedicure and massage services as well.

Bradenton man turns photography from hobby to career

Billy Dzwonkowski is a self-taught photographer. He picked up his first camera when he was 12 years old and began his career at 19. Dzwonkowski currently resides in Bradenton, but frequently makes the trip to Tampa for photo shoots. He photographs everything from high school pictures, to Tampa Bay Rays games and Campus Lodge pool parties.

USF Graduate Opens Violin Shop in Tampa

Ethan Morency was another unsure college graduate until he decided to open the Violin Shop Tampa in 2013 combining his business degree with his passion.

“I graduated in spring of 2013,” Morency said. “I was out there applying for a lot of jobs, got a lot of interviews, but nothing that really piqued my interest and I wanted to fix that.”

The shop specializes in the sale and repair of violins, cellos and bass instruments. Since its opening, the business has doubled in size.

This venture came in partnership with Dereck Coons, who worked as Morency’s manager at a music shop in Melbourne, Florida.

“[Ethan’s] created a really warm, inviting atmosphere here for people to come in and hangout and purchase violins and get repairs done,” Coons said.

Music has been a part of Morency’s life for almost 15 years now. When he’s not working with violins, he’s the lead singer of his band, Anew.

“I always think music has to be a part of my life,” Morency said. “It’s who I am.”

Morency’s advice for recent graduates: absolutely follow your dreams.

“Focus on what you enjoy doing and something will fall into place,” Morency said. “You have to pursue it, you have to work hard, but it will happen.”

Violin Shop Tampa is located at 4009 Henderson Blvd., Tampa, Florida.

Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Supports Tampa Bay Artists With Inaugural Event

Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea held their inaugural event “Art of the Roast” for the arts on Sept. 9.

CEO and president of Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea, Ted Abrams, has been with the company since 2001 and had one major thing in mind: brewing success.

“What we are trying to do with this event is to create,” Abrams said. “We do a quarterly coffee so at the beginning of every quarter on a calendar basis we come out with a new origin of coffee that has a great story behind it. What we are looking to do is to commandeer local artists in Tampa Bay to create our first quarter 2015 coffee.”

Ivaldo Robles, a local artist present at “Art of the Roast,” showcased his work on abstract expressionism.

“I believe that art is very important for the community in Tampa and all over the world,” Robles said. “It represents an important subject for all communities for children and adults to have an open view of the culture of that community and to have a venue to be creative and to open up new opportunities in the future and this is a great part of it.”

The company was established in Tampa Bay in 1984. Joffrey’s continues to draw inspiration from the arts, originally from the great American dance troupe, the Joffrey Ballet, which coincides with their company name.

Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea offers more than 100 varieties of coffees and teas and in 2012 become the official specialty coffee of Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort and Disney Vacation Club.

Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea is located in Ybor where locals are fortunate enough to experience world-class coffee.