Richard Gonzmart, who studied hotel and restaurant management at Daniels’ Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management in the 1970s, recently received the prestigious Distinguished Restaurants of North America (DiRōNA) Award for his philanthropic efforts and dedication to the fine dining industry. As a result of this award, Gonzmart—a fourth-generation restaurateur in Tampa, Florida—will also be inducted into the DiRōNA 2018 Hall of Fame. Inductees to the DiRōNA Hall of Fame must have at least 25 years of dedicated service and provide significant contributions to the distinguished dining industry.

President of the Columbia Restaurant Group, which owns and operates 13 eateries throughout Florida, Gonzmart and his family have been in the restaurant industry since 1905. Gonzmart’s great-grandfather started The Columbia Restaurant in Tampa’s Ybor City, which is now the oldest restaurant in Florida.

Gonzmart will add the DiRōNA award to a long list of accolades that includes more than 100 awards over the course of his lifetime. Gonzmart also serves, or has served, on dozens of non-profit boards and organizations. According to the Columbia Restaurant Group’s website, “he is passionate about the education of our youth and young adults, and in finding a cure for cancer. Pope Francis recognized Richard with the highest recognition of the Catholic Church, the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.”

For more information on Richard Gonzmart, read his profile in the fall 2017 issue of Daniels Business.