Next Level Brands, a partnership between restaurateur, Jeff Gigante; real estate entrepreneur, Andrew Wright; and attorney/investor, Joseph Guggino, announced the appointment of Chef Habteab “Hab” Hamde as Executive Chef of their forthcoming fall concept, Boulon Brasserie. Chef Hamde’s announcement follows the recent news of an alliance with restaurant icon Chris T. Sullivan, former Chairman and CEO of Outback Steakhouse, Inc. as well as the appointment of the restaurant’s General Manager, Heather Rivas (formerly of Husk Savannah).

“The Next Level Brands’ team is working tirelessly to build a culinary dream team to open Boulon Brasserie,” says Gigante. “The key to a successful expansion for me has always been about finding the careful balance between a community-first approach, and sourcing outside the market for best-in-class talent when necessary.  In the case of Chef Hab, we have the best of both world’s – we have a best-in-class talent who has been serving the community for more than 30 years.

Chef Hamde came to Tampa in 1983 and became affectionately known as “Hab” amongst his community and peers during his lengthy tenure at the iconic, Bern’s Steak House. His career has been dedicated to serving guests consistent cuisine that reflects seasonality and highlights local farms, which is in harmony with Boulon Brasserie’s food ethos. The all-day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) menu will offer modern interpretations of classical French bistro fare represented in two distinct settings – the restaurant and patisserie corner.

Beyond the community, Chef Hamde has also been adored by the media, making appearances on the Food Network and The Cooking Channel as well as being featured in shows like Every Day with Rachael Ray and the Today Show. On several occasions he has cooked at the prestigious James Beard House.

“In my industry, being able to cook in the same kitchen for 26 years is nothing short of a blessing,” says Hamde. “Jeff and his team at Next Level Brands epitomize the saying ‘never stop growing.’ They are on to something big – real big. I’m not only here to be a part of that but can’t wait to be one of the driving forces behind it.”

Boulon Brasserie will take residence in the $3-billion live-work-play development, Water Street Tampa residing at 1001 Water Street on the ground floor of Thousand & One. Award-winning architects, Atelier Zebulon Perron (AZP), will bring the 7,097-square-feet of interior design space to life with the same design-forward identity that Strategic Property Partners, the developer of Water Street Tampa, has established for the new waterfront district.

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