In Tampa and beyond, Columbia Restaurant has helped diners support local nonprofit organizations with their appetites for two decades. The 21st edition of the Ybor City landmark's Community Harvest program won't change its M.O. this year, either.
The annual tradition encourages residents and visitors to eat lunch or dinner at any of the Columbia's seven Florida locations in September, as the restaurant will donate 5 percent of each check to select charities throughout the month.
What's more, guests get to choose where the portion of their bill ends up, putting a check mark next to one of the nonprofits featured on a form that the Columbia provides. Servers then collect the form and a donation in that amount is made to the charity groups.
"We started this program in 1998 as a way to help many of the worthy non-profit groups that are so important to our communities," said Richard Gonzmart, fourth-generation family member and president of the Columbia, in a statement.
And they have. Through the Community Harvest program, Gonzmart and company have donated more than $2.2 million to charities across the state over the last 20 years.
In addition to its original location in historic Ybor, Columbia Restaurant operates in Clearwater Beach, Sarasota, St. Augustine and Celebration, plus at the Tampa Bay History Center and Tampa International Airport.