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Bolt Brewery opens at Water Street Tampa

TAMPA – If you’ve spent time dining in New York City in the past three decades, chances are you’ve come across a Keith McNally establishment.

Restaurants like The Odeon, Balthazar, and Pastis forever cemented America’s love for the iconic French brasserie, drawing fanfare from locals, tourists, and celebrities (and more than a few Hollywood cameos, including celebrities). countless visits from the “Sex and the City” team). In the years that followed, the French-American brewery inspired countless imitations in cities around the world.

Now, Tampa is putting its own spin on the concept with Boulon Brasserie, which opened Tuesday in Tampa’s booming Water Street development.

The restaurant, which bills itself as “French to American,” is the latest initiative of Next Level Brands, the restaurant group led by longtime Tampa Bay restaurateur and Ciccio Restaurant Group co-founder Jeff Gigante with real estate entrepreneur Andrew Wright. and attorney and investor Joseph Guggino.

Boulon’s menu is described as “French via America” ​​and offers modern interpretations of French brasserie classics.
[ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
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The group’s first restaurant was Forbici, the modern Italian restaurant in Hyde Park Village, which opened in 2019. The team currently has several other restaurants in the works, including Union New American, which will open this spring at Westshore City Center from Tampa.

For their second effort, the stakes are high: Boulon occupies a central parcel of real estate at 1001 Water St., at the bottom of the Thousand and One Tower. The prime location puts it in the heart of Water Street Tampa, the development $3.5 billion led by Strategic Property Partners, a joint venture of Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates’ Cascade investment fund. Bolt is one of the first major restaurants to open so far in the area, except for the restaurants located inside the Edition Hotel across the street.

This is exciting territory for a band still building its brand.

“We loved what (Jeff) Vinik and (Bill) Gates were doing here,” Gigante said. “Our goal is to elevate the culinary landscape.”

Billed as a French-American brasserie with a modern twist, the team envisions the place as an all-day affair, where one can grab a croissant and coffee in the morning, hang out for a long lunch, or spend an end of evening dinner around oysters, steak fries and champagne.

“It’s not fine dining,” Gigante said. More “casual luxury”.

The bakery adjoining Boulon will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day.
The bakery adjoining Boulon will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day.
[ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
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The bakery adjoining the restaurant occupies a separate storefront and will be open daily from 7:00 a.m., while the restaurant itself will open for lunch at 11:30 a.m. and remain open all day, closing on weekends at 1:00 a.m. Those extended hours are something owners hope for. will foster broad neighborhood appeal – Water Street is, after all, a massive residential venture, too.

Gigante credits some of these iconic McNally restaurants as the inspiration for his latest project. But the original inspiration is, of course, Paris and the iconic brasserie culture the city is known for.

To recreate some of the splendor of the City of Light, the team hired Canadian firm Atelier Zebulon Perron to design the restaurant. The 7,000 square foot space is outfitted with mosaic floors, a towering backlit selection of spirits overlooking an expansive bar that stretches across the restaurant, fluted glass accents and beveled mirrors, and large embossed glass windows with gold lettering. The restaurant seats approximately 275 people, including a private dining room for 40 people and a private outdoor patio that can accommodate another 40.

The Boulon team enlisted Montreal-based firm Atelier Zebulon Perron to design the restaurant.
The Boulon team enlisted Montreal-based firm Atelier Zebulon Perron to design the restaurant.
[ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Boulon’s menu, too, draws direct inspiration from some of these iconic breweries, with a few twists along the way.

For starters, there are features like raw oysters on the half shell, flipping rounds of fresh seafood and classic steak tartare. But there are also dishes that stray a bit from the typical Francophile canon, like blue crab cakes served with spicy remoulade and salmon carpaccio served with beets and horseradish cream.

A selection of salads includes a mix of frisees topped with a bacon vinaigrette and a poached egg and a dish of butter-poached prawns served with mesclun, avocado and truffle beurre blanc. There is also a classic French onion soup and a tomato soup, served with a “small” grilled cheese sandwich.

Larger plates include a Gruyere omelette; an amandine snapper with hazelnut butter, green beans and crunchy almond chilli; lobster pâté with sherry cream; and a dish of duck confit served with savory crêpes and a cherry-hoisin sauce.

A list of steak fries preparations includes Creekstone Farms cuts (coulotte, strip or New York tenderloin) or the option of a grilled cauliflower steak, each accompanied by a range of sauce options (bearnaise, with pepper, green sauce, Roquefort cheese).

For dessert, there are iconic French bistro treats like berry crème brûlée; a classic tarte tatin (apple pie); profiteroles with chocolate glaze and vanilla cream; and rum bread pudding and vanilla ice cream.

Left to right, Chief Executive Habteab
From left, Executive Chef Habteab “Hab” Hamde, Executive Pastry Chef Summer Bailey, General Manager Heather Rivas and Owner Jeff Gigante pose for a portrait at the Boulon Brasserie in Tampa.

[ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Besides the broad appeal of its overall theme and menu, Boulon has an impressive team of big names in the industry who run the show. The group hired Habteab “Hab” Hamde, the longtime chef of the Bernese Steakhouse, to run the kitchen as executive chef. Summer Bailey leads the restaurant’s baking, bread and dessert program. Bailey was most recently executive pastry chef at Bern’s Dessert Room and her resume also includes stints at New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar and Andrew Carmellini’s The Dutch. At the helm of the house is general manager Heather Rivas, who was most recently general manager of chef Sean Brock’s famed Husk restaurant in Savannah, Georgia.

Rivas, who holds a Level 1 certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers, also oversees the new restaurant’s wine program, which features an extensive list of French wines as well as several California, Oregon and state selections. of Washington and over 25 per-glass options.

The restaurant has 275 seats, including 40 on the outdoor terrace.
The restaurant has 275 seats, including 40 on the outdoor terrace.
[ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

The restaurant’s cocktail program offers both modern interpretations of classic quaffs and original creations, including the Old World Fashioned (made with Eagle Rare Bourbon, Remy VSOP cognac, Bigallet China-China liqueur and Demerara), the Strangelove (tequila Corazon Reposado, Oloroso sherry and spicy pineapple) and Boulon Rouge (rye from Michter, Bénédictine, Campari, Giffard Cacao and truffle honey).

There are modern touches throughout and an awareness of current and evolving culinary trends. In a nod to increasing dietary restrictions, menu items are listed as gluten-free or vegan, where applicable. The cocktail menu also includes two mocktails based on non-alcoholic spirits, including the Perle Tropical, made with Lyre’s Agave Reserve Spirit, lime and pineapple, and the Grapefruit Spritz, made with Apéritif Rosso. of Lyre, tarragon, grapefruit and soda.

The Boulon bakery is open every day from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. The restaurant is open for brunch and dinner on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The owners hope the all-day restaurant theme will appeal to residents living in the Water Street Tampa development.
The owners hope the all-day restaurant theme will appeal to residents living in the Water Street Tampa development.
[ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Bolt Brewery, 1001 Water Street, Tampa. 813-768-9988. bolttampa.com.