By Libby Hopkins

The New Year is right around the corner and with it comes several new restaurants to the Brandon community. Our community is one of the fastest growing areas in Tampa Bay, so why wouldn’t new restaurants want to be a part of this growth? Portillo’s, Twistee Treat, Jimmy Hula’s, Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop and Boca all will become a part of the Brandon community in 2016.

Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen

Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen will bring The Big Easy favorites like Jambalaya, Po Boys, and Shrimp and Grits in addition to house specialties like Rita’s Lemon Chicken and Chicken Pontchartrian. The restaurant will be located at 1721 Brandon Blvd. Construction begins in January with the restaurant opening in May. Visit

“We are very fortunate to be building our third Tibby’s location in the Brandon market,” said Jim Stitt, Tibby’s Director of Operations. “We are excited to be a part of the growth of such a dynamic community and we look forward to being a part of it.”

Twistee Treat Ice Cream

Twistee Treat Ice Cream has plans to build a new location in the Brandon Boulevard Shoppes strip mall on Brandon Blvd. in Valrico. The ice cream cone shaped building has been in existence since 1983. The ice cream shop has a long history of serving some of the best ice cream around. Visit


Portillo’s will be located on the corner of W. Brandon Blvd. and Lakewood Drive across the street from Kmart. The Brandon location will be the first for the Chicago based hot dogs and more restaurant. It will feature a 1930’s prohibition theme with a double drive-thru lane to accommodate as many cars as possible. Portillo’s will open in March. Visit

Shells Seafood

Another local favorite that has come back to the Brandon community is Shells. The restaurant has re-opened at its old location at 115 E. Brandon Blvd. Shells offers fresh cooked seafood at dock prices in a casual dining atmosphere. Their mission is still the same, which is to serve the finest quality ingredients prepared by experts in a fun, casual ambiance. Visit www.shells

Jimmy Hula’s

Jimmy Hula’s will bring a surf culture and food from Southern California to Brandon community. The restaurant will feature a Hawaiian surf shack atmosphere and it will be located at 312 E. Brandon Blvd. According to the restaurant’s website, “Jimmy Hula’s has the best fish tacos and the best burgers anywhere. Jimmy Hula’s has developed a cult following in Central Florida primarily due to the freshness of the food, the quirk of our marketing, and the environment created by our locations.” Visit


Boca in the Winthrop Town Center recently held its soft opening in late December. The South Tampa based restaurant has found a new home in the Riverview community. It features tables and seating that encourages conversation and communion for a community-gathering feel. The menu is set up the same way with a sense of sharing. Boca is located at 11206 Sullivan St. in Riverview. Visit

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop will open its Brandon location at 2874 Providence Lakes Blvd. near World of Beer. Fuzzy’s Taco Shop will offer generous portions of uniquely flavorful food at a great price in a beautifully designed fast-casual environment. Their motto is “Come for the food, stay for the drinks.”

“We offer a full-liquor bar featuring Fuzzy’s famous beer-ritas, huge draft beers served in frozen schooners, and a fresh menu of craft margaritas and cocktails,” said Ian Lieberman of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. “We are incredibly excited to open our first of five Tampa Bay Fuzzy’s Taco Shops in Brandon. Brandon’s growth over the past few years has been unbelievable and we feel like it’s just the beginning.” Visit

The Brandon community has a lot to look forward to in the New Year.

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Libby Hopkins
Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.