By Michelle Colesanti

New Orleans may be 660 miles from Brandon, but you won’t have to travel a long distance to experience the vibe of ‘The Big Easy’.

At recently opened Tibbys New Orleans Kitchen in Brandon, you are immediately immersed in the culture of the city with its authentic artwork and décor. Many of the pieces adorning the restaurant are actually from Mardi Gras floats.

Come in and try the delicious creations on Tibbys menu such as Shrimp Creole and Etouffee Shrimp or Crawfish. You can order specialties such as “WHO-DAT” Cajun Blackened Chicken; with its special Cajun seasonings along with house lemon butter sauce, and served over homemade Boudin grit cakes. The blackened ctibbys-foodhicken has just the right zing to it – not so spicy that you can’t enjoy the wonderful flavors.

Other traditional menu dishes include Jambalaya, Crawfish pies, Po Boys and Shrimp and Grits. Enjoy some of the house specialties including Rita’s Lemon Chicken, Chicken Pontchartrain and pasta dishes.

According to Corporate Account Manager with Tibby’s, Hillary West, “Tibby’s is not just about what you see, but how it makes you feel. It’s about expressing personality and character through food, music, art and heritage. It has the vibe of New Orleans funk in a very fun atmosphere. It is vibrant in expressions and true to its colors. It reflects a social gathering that feeds the soul. It’s not the New Orleans you may have visited; it is the New Orleans that local’s call home.”

The Owner of Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen, Brian Wheeler, originally founded Tijuana Flats in 1995, but sold to a private equity firm and decided to put his focus on Tibby’s to create something that reminded him of home.

Tibby’s is named after his uncle, Walter Tabony (Tibby), who was rescued from the 9th Ward when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. Tibby and his wife were brought to the Superdome, and eventually relocated to Baton Rouge.

The first Tibby’s opened in Winter Park in 2011 and the second location in Altamonte Springs in 2013. Brandon is the third Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen and the first free-standing location has 6,526 sq. ft. and 220 seats.

“We are excited for this new location in the Brandon community. There is so much growth and development in this area and we are confident that Tibby’s will become a staple in this community,” stated Wheeler.

Boasting a full liquor bar, they are currently in the process of finding a live band from the Brandon/Tampa area with that New Orleans Funk & Blues sound to bring entertainment to this location.

Tibby’s also offers a private ‘Napoleon Room’ where you can host an event for up to 40 people.

Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen is located at 1721 Brandon Blvd. For more info and to view locations, visit Tibbys.com.