WINTER GARDEN Cajun-style restaurant The Big Easy celebrated its fifth anniversary on Fat Tuesday — a Mardi Gras celebration in and of itself — but the eatery’s newly completed renovations were the icing on the cake.
The eatery recently transformed part of its space into a relaxed-atmosphere lounge reminiscent of a sports bar. Four 10-foot-tall garage doors have been installed and are opened up during business hours to give the area an open-air patio feel. Additionally, part of the restaurant now acts as a coffee bar by day and a cocktail bar by night.
This isn’t the first major renovation to come to fruition for The Big Easy, though. When owners Morgan and Misti Jimenez decided to open the authentic Cajun-style restaurant five years ago, it started off small, taking space that used to be occupied by a Starbucks.
“I was born and raised in Houma, Louisiana, and had lots of family recipes,” Morgan said. “We have a wide selection on the menu too, because I’ve got ribs, meat and pasta. But we want to focus on the people who really like authentic Cajun food, because that’s what we do.”
It expanded its square footage 18 months ago after taking over the old barbecue joint next door. Now that it is bigger and consists of both sides, Morgan wanted to utilize the patio on the original side and open it more. Renovations began in December and were completed in time for Super Bowl festivities on Feb. 7.
The original side will act as a coffee shop in the mornings, complete with café au laits, beignets, muffins, cappuccinos, espressos and more. At nighttime, it will transform into more of a lounge and sports-club area, complete with a stage, WiFi, music and between 12 and 14 big-screen TVs, with more lights on the patio. It’ll be a little quieter now (on the larger side) for the customers who just want to eat, Morgan said.
“We’re going to feature beignets and coffee, because in New Orleans one of the famous places is called Cafe Du Monde and it’s been there for about 120 years, and they specialize in coffee and beignets,” he said. “We’re going to keep it open for lunch as well.”
Despite there being two sides with slightly different atmospheres, Morgan said it is still one total restaurant and guests can get the same food from either side.
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].