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Tampa Bay Business Journal: Q&A with Tampa restaurateur Jeff Gigante, who’s bringing Union New American to Westshore

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Franklin Street is pleased to announce the newest amenity coming to Westshore City Center, an elevated dining concept called Union New American. Learn more about the restaurant in the below Q&A with Jeff Gigante, who is partnering with Franklin Street’s Andrew Wright to bring it to life.

Tampa restaurateur Jeff Gigante has an ambitious vision for his next concept: Union New American, a 10,000-square-foot, two-story, full-service restaurant that will open in Westshore this fall.

Union New American is the first concept to debut under Gigante’s new company, Next Level Brands. It is an evolution of Gigante Hospitality, and his business partners are Joseph Guggino and Tampa real estate executive, Andrew Wright.

The restaurant is under construction at Westshore City Center, an office park owned by Wright’s Ally Capital. It’s slated to open this fall.

Gigante, who co-founded Tampa’s Ciccio Restaurant Group, spoke with the Tampa Bay Business Journal about Union New American — and why he still believes in full-service dining. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Is this concept one you’ve always had in the back of your mind? What was the inspiration? When I was at CRG, we’d had success by looking at the culinary landscape and filling in the gaps of what’s missing. And that iconic American restaurant — outside of J. Alexander’s and On Swann — I just haven’t seen that ever really executed properly, with a proper events space and rooftop lounge, so I always wanted to do that concept.

In Westshore, restaurants are supported by office workers, many of whom are still working at home. Does that concern you? I’m not worried because I know, first of all, Heritage is building their main office on the site, and that’s going to open up around the same time. [Heritage Insurance signed a big office lease last fall to move its headquarters from Clearwater to Westshore City Center.]  But when everyone is back in the office, there are like 70,000 office workers within a 3-mile radius, and I know we’ll be able to draw from that. 

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