A new kind of barbecue experience is coming to The Shops at Wiregrass.
Union72 Barbecue will open on Nov. 7 with a tantalizing menu of ribs and barbecue, infused with sauces and spices from around the world.
Described as “chef-driven” and not the traditional barbecue, Union72’s dishes and sauces are the creation of the restaurant’s chef and pitmaster, Geoff Zukosky.
“It’s global barbecue,” said Jeff Martin, co-owner of Union72. “Everything is made in-house and from scratch.”
Menu items include The Conquistador, a Spanish-spiced slow-smoked pork dish with chimichurri, caramelized onions and a fried egg, and The Far East, slow-smoked pork with kimchi, in-house Sticky Asian Barbecue sauce, cilantro, scallions and sesame seeds.
For more down-home tastes, The Southern Boy is barbecue topped with house cole slaw, fried jalapenos, onion straws and in-house Sweet Barbecue sauce.
And, for people tired of chain restaurants, Union72 is locally owned and operated.
Martin and Bharat Chhabria are partnering on the new restaurant, located at 2000 Piazza Ave., and conveniently situated next door to the craft beer bar – The Brass Tap.
Martin is one of the founders of The Brass Tap, which initially opened at Wiregrass, but has since expanded to more locations in the Tampa Bay area, including Brandon and Ybor City. Martin lives in Wesley Chapel.
When the spot next to The Brass Tap opened, the partners quickly signed up. Zukosky had been a regular at the beer bar, and struck up a friendship with Martin.
Foodie conversations led to the discovery of Zukosky’s passion for barbecue. He has a wood-burning smoker at his home.
“I had no idea about his barbecue skills,” Martin said.
Hype Group, based in St. Petersburg, is creating the restaurant’s design, including a mural with cartoon sketches of the pigs in charge – Sergeant Stag, Colonel Short Horn and Captain Poulet.
Matt Callahan, of Mad Made Murals, is the muralist.
The restaurant will seat about 60 diners indoors, with some patio seating outside. Guests will order and select their beverages before picking up their orders.
Union72 will serve wine and craft beers. Four beers from Florida breweries will be on tap. A selection of craft fountain sodas also will be available.
Guests at The Brass Tap (which doesn’t sell food) will be able to order from Union72’s menu and have their meals delivered.
There also will be online ordering and a “recruiters” club whose members can text “FREEMYBBQ” to 555888 for special menu deals and restaurant events.
Information on the restaurant’s opening will be on Facebook and sent by text. “Everybody on the list will get an invite,” Martin said.
Union72 will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Published November 2, 2016