Though Brandon is a part of Tampa’s history, due to the expansion of the Cigar industry, among others, it has its own unique history as well. In 1858, John Brandon and his family moved to New Hope (now Brandon) and then left suddenly when Brandon’s first wife passed away. However, it didn’t take long before they were back! Seven years later, the Brandon family moved back to the area and built two homes. One for John Brandon and his second wife, Victoria and a second for his son, James and his wife, Joanna. The foundation of these homes still exists as the post office and Stowers Funeral Home.
In 1890 when the railroad surveyors wanted to branch out into the area, Victoria named the town Brandon after her late husband, John Brandon who started the development of this once barren land almost 40 years prior.
In the 161 years since the Brandon Family first stepped foot in Brandon, Florida, the town has greatly transformed into its own little ecosystem of thriving businesses, neighborhoods, schools, churches, and more!
Top Restaurants in Brandon
For one of Brandon’s best burgers, head to Ford’s Garage where they serve fresh, never frozen burgers that ooze cheese with some of your favorite local beers. Ford’s Garage will give you the vibe of the roaring ’20s as if you’re standing in George Wilson’s garage from The Great Gatsby! Its old-style brick, dark colors, rich wood and hand-hammered copper bar top. When it comes to food, their burgers are the best but they also have Ford’s Nachos, Ford’s Chop-Shop Salad, and even Chili Garlic Salmon! Stop by today for some of Brandon’s best eats!
CRG has done it again, but this time in Brandon! Located in the Winthrop Shopping Center, Ciccio Cali is one of Brandon's newest destinations with delicious California-style cuisine for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. So if you’re looking for healthy and flavorful food, Ciccio Cali has you covered! Check out their Lean N' Clean Bowl, California Club Wrap, or one of their hand-tossed pizzas for a nutritious and delicious meal.
If you’re from Chicago, then you already know where this is going! Portillo’s in Brandon is keeping the Chicagoland tradition strong by serving up burgers, hot dogs, salads, shakes and more, Chicago-style of course. Sine 1963 they’ve focused on flavor and let their food speak for itself. Some might even admit that they’re obsessed with these traditional flavors. If you’re new to these flavors, watch out – you’ll be obsessed the first time you smell a delicious dipped Italian beef sandwich.
Fred’s Market is serving the greater Brandon area some of the South’s best cuisine with fresh market food, breakfasts, lunches and dinners from their buffet. They're so well known in the area because of their farm-to-plate freshness and slow-cooked meats that bring a smile to even the pickiest eaters face. Their breakfast buffets are their specialty, you can buy a single round, or multiple and serve yourself whatever looks good to you! Fred’s Market will serve you southern comfort food that's pure and hearty all the way to the core and it's all found at Fred's Market Restaurant.
Top 5 Nightlife Destinations in Brandon
Three Irish friends who met in New York wanted to create a neighborhood bar in Brandon, for all the people of Brandon to enjoy so after moving to Florida in 2001 they opened O'Brien's Irish Pub. Their ultimate goal was to create a spot where family and friends could get together and enjoy excellent food and drink over the dinner table. However, since opening, O’Briens has become quite a popular sports bar where fans come together to watch the biggest games of the year. With over 40 large screen TV's to enjoy your favorite sports event, you can order a cold brew and some tasty wings to keep you satisfied during the game!
The Dallas Bull is Tampa’s premier destination for those of you who love country music! After being named Tampa’s most popular nightclub by the Tampa Bay Times, they have upheld their reputation by housing over 20,000 guests each month. Stop by to enjoy the sounds of world-renowned guests such as Kenny Chesney, Brooks & Dunn, Luke Bryan and many more stars. They have ten different bars throughout the 34,00 sq. ft. venue where patrons never wait more than 5 minutes for their next drink. With attractions including a vast line dancing floor, an upstairs dance level for Top 40 music, pool tables and a mechanical bull, this nightclub aims to please the many different walks of life that filter the Tampa Bay area.
The Jazz House Supper Club is a tri-level club that hosts local jazz acts in a stylish setup with a refined dress code and scenic rooftop bar. For a fun date night or night out with friends, Jazz House Supper Club is a really fun destination. Head there for your next GNO on a Thursday night when ladies get in free of charge. Although closed due to the coronavirus for now, this is a place that you'll definitely want to check it out when it's safer!
Calling all beer connoisseurs! I’m sure you’ve heard of World of Beer, where you can go for over 50 different beers on tap, 500 different brews in the cooler and a menu of mouth-watering bar bites. If you aren’t all that knowledgeable about beer, head to WOB for a beer flight where you can try four different pours so you can get more familiar with your taste. Their servers and bartenders are also insanely aware of the menu and the beers that might light up your night! So stop by and have some kick-ass wings or a giant soft pretzel with a beer flight today.
For craft beer and wine from all over the world, Stein and Vine is a must-try spot located on the corner of Kings and Bloomingdale Ave in Brandon. The owner, Ty Mathis and his wife, Lacey, have turned this neighborhood bar into a culinary experience full of flavors and tastes you'll crave long after you leave. Because they maintain such an exclusive selection of craft beers and worldly wines they have only the best bites to go along with it. The menu is full of delicious dishes like the "True Shephard's Pie" or the "Grown-Up Grilled Ham & Cheese" which has three different types of cheese with grilled caviar ham. Just one taste and you’ll never want to leave!
Top 5 Destinations for Things To Do in Brandon
At Sky Zone Tampa they live by the philosophy that people need to play, no matter their age, because it’s good for the mind, body and soul. Whether you’re soaring on the trampolines or running through the warrior course, your legs, lungs and smile muscles will be working hard. Take the kids, and it’s likely you’ll join them because at Sky Zone Tampa, it’s easy to feel like a kid again!
Whether you’re a golfer who belongs in the PGA tour or a kid who enjoys the driving range, TopGolf Tampa is a must-see destination! For golfers of all experience levels, TopGolf keeps the sometimes-serious sport fun with their interactive driving range and entertainment complex. Their driving range and sprawling entertainment venue is open day and night, so head there after work when you need to let off some steam or reserve a spot for the next birthday in your friend group! While you’re there check out the swanky lounge and grab a drink or bite to eat as you play fun games and get competitive with your friends!
Wat Mongkolratanaram Bhuddist Temple
Transport yourself into Thailand, without taking flight! The Wat Mongkolratanaram Bhuddist Temple is one of Tampa’s most unique and beautiful destinations that holds a lot of Thai culture. Each Sunday from 8:30 am-2:30 pm they have an open-air market that serves authentic and flavorful Thai food. Contrary to popular belief, not all Thai Food is spicy yet they can customize it for your tastebuds. The menu includes Phat Thai, various chicken curry dishes with vegetables, egg rolls, fried bananas, taro root and more!
Lithia Springs County Park is a beautiful slice of nature in Brandon. The highlight is its crystal clear, natural spring where the whole family can take a cool dip in the freshwater! Other features of this slice of nature include camping plots, canoeing, and much more. Park entry is $2 per vehicle up to eight people/car and to swim, you must pay $2 per person, and children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
Want to feel like a kid again? The best place to do it is Dave & Busters where you can play hundreds of the hottest and newest arcade games! Stop by Million Dollar Midway today for a good time and win tickets for epic prizes. They also have a mouth-watering good American restaurant that features wings, steaks, and salads. They’re proud to say that whatever you’re craving, they’ve got it! Their premium full bar also makes quite the nightlife destination! With innovative cocktails, an impressive wine selection, and 20+ beers they’re always stocked to satisfy.
For more on Brandon and Riverview, check out our Brandon neighborhood page on 813area. After all, we are your local and free go-to guide for all of Tampa!