When I first visited Florida as a little girl with my family, I was besotted by all things Disney, as I’m sure most people are when they visit Florida. It’s a wonderland for those young or old who want to live out their fairy tale fantasies or escape to a different realm from a much-beloved film. For me, Florida signified family. It would become our staple holiday destination for years and has always been where I hold dear memories. Naturally, when the opportunity arose for me to revisit Florida this year, I was itching with excitement to board the plane!

But it was time for a completely different, unseen Florida – Culinary Florida. As of this year, MICHELIN Guide is putting Florida on the map for its exquisite eats across the state. Packed with MICHELIN Stars, Bib Gourmand Awards and MICHELIN recommendations, I advise packing loose-fitting clothing if you embark on a trip to Florida. By the end, you’ll be in food heaven and experience some of the best cuisines from around the world and Floridian dishes you’ve never tasted before.

What struck me most were a couple of locations I couldn’t help but shout about, mainly because they dug into my sentimental side and left a lasting impression. As I said, Florida means family to me, so when I visited the family fruit stand and market Robert is Here, Miami and Richard Gonzmart’s family empire of restaurants in Tampa, it felt like I was home.

Robert is Here – Miami, Florida

You think Miami; you think parties, beaches, and Miami Vice. But a short trip from the coasts will land you at Robert is Here, a fruit stand and farm market founded over sixty years ago by Robert Moehling. At six years old, Robert was instructed to sell a surplus of cucumbers his father couldn’t get rid of. A standard dilemma for any six-year-old. Today it is an all-encompassing fruit stand, market, and farm. Run by Robert and his entire family, grandchildren included, Robert is Here has made the MICHELIN Guide as a must-stop location in South Florida.

It’s a perfect Sunday morning spot for lazing around and picking out the freshest produce to take home for the week. Their milkshakes and smoothies have a reputation for themselves, being a popular choice for a mid-morning pickup or late-afternoon refreshment. I enjoyed a nourishing smoothie packed with berries, vitamins, and everything my body needed to feel boosted. The market also offers a delectable range of condiments, cooking sauces and locally grown fruit and vegetables that support the community. If you’re travelling as a family, there is also a delightful farm where you can feed the animals, all lovingly rescued and cared for by the Robert is Here team. With plans for expansion in the coming years, nothing stops the dreams of one family who started with little more than a bunch of cucumbers.

Robert is Here is located at 19200 SW 344th St, Homestead, FL 33034. They are open daily, 9 am – 6 pm, including Sundays.

The 1905 Empire

Richard Gonzmart is one of those people that when he walks into a room, you know he’s someone you must talk to. I was lucky enough to do just that.

(Pictured above: The legend himself, Mr Richard Gonzmart)

Across Tampa, but spanning the reach of the entire Florida state, the 1905 collection of restaurants has a reputation that speaks for itself. So much so that they all caught the eye of the MICHELIN Guide, and with good reason. I visited three 1905 restaurants on my trip; Ulele, The Columbia and Goody Goody Burgers. Richard is the 4th generation co-owner of the 1905 collection, but he prefers to call himself the “4th generation caretaker” as this title means so much more to him. And yet, he is one of the most prolific restaurateurs your will meet. Richard took over the restaurant empire from his late father, Caesar Gonzmart, and has served delicious dishes to locals and tourists his entire life, starting as a humble pot wash as a teen.

During a tour of the Columbia, Florida’s oldest restaurant, Richard told of how he met his future wife there as a teen and how he was confident he would spend his life with her. He did just that! It was clear as he spoke that family is at the heart of all they do, even in how they treat their employees, including many who have worked at the restaurant for over 30 years! The food at the Columbia is rich in Columbian heritage, with dishes that sing to the family’s deep history and love for cooking. A particular highlight of the menu you must try is their famous Cuban sandwich; you’ll be pressed to find better elsewhere.

(Pictured above: The stunning mosaic designs of Columbia restaurant)

If you head to Ulele, you can sample 1905’s brewed beers, with selections that suit every taste, from crisp pale ales to fruity beers. I also delved into a burger bigger than my head that left me in a minor food coma afterwards!

(Pictured above: Gigantic burgers at Ulele)

And on the subject of burgers, you can’t visit Tampa without stopping by Goody-Goody Burgers, an all-American diner with pumpkin pie to die for. Their signature hamburgers make McDonald’s look like amateurs in the burger game, and we were sure to order a second right after finishing the first – that’s how good they were.

(Pictured above: The entrance to a quintessentially American diner)

Find Columbia Restaurant at 2117 E 7th Ave, Ybor City, Tampa, FL 33605.

Find Ulele Restaurant at 1810 N Highland Ave, Tampa, FL 33602.

Find Goody-Goody Burgers at 1601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606.


Demi is an aspiring TV & Film writer who is currently studying for a PhD in screenwriting. She works as a freelance writer and loves exploring locations that have been made famous on our screens.

Comments are closed.