Voodoo Bayou brings taste of New Orleans to Orlando

The old MoonFish will be the third location for the chain that gets rave reviews
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Voodoo Bayou, a “Cajun Gothic” southern restaurant featuring cuisine so New Orleans you’ll feel like you’re in the French Quarter, is getting ready to bring its fried chicken and biscuits, po’ boy sandwiches and an extensive whiskey and bourbon collection to The Fountains at Bay Hill on Sand Lake Road.

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It will be the restaurant’s third location. Owner Curtis Peery opened the first Voodoo Bayou in Palm Beach Gardens right before the pandemic started in March 2020. It’s been so successful, he is adding a second in Fort Lauderdale and a third right here in Orlando.

He has no opening date yet — “we are still drawing up architectural plans and getting permits” — but is hoping for late 2022.

The 10,000 sq. ft. building will contain a great dining room and a speak-easy type bar, he said.

Just about every online review of the existing restaurant speaks of its intriguing dark Gothic feel. Peery chuckled and said, “Cajun Gothic, dark and mysterious.” The Orlando location will have the same feel.

Opening his first Voodoo Bayou right before the pandemic started was daunting but Peery said the restaurant had a secret weapon: the most popular dish on its menu, fried chicken and biscuits. Carryout.

“That got us through,” he said.

Peery, a lifelong, fifth-generation Floridian also has two Mexican Calaveras Cantina restaurants, one in Jupiter and one in Boca Raton that he has no plans to cut ties with. He loves both cuisines. But, how did he start serving up gumbo and jambalaya after years with tacos and tamales?

“I used to be vice president of the B. B. King Blues Club,” he said, “and I fell in love with the style of food (as well as the style of music).”

To make sure they got it right, Perry said he and his chefs spent four or five months in a test kitchen and made frequent visits to famous restaurants in New Orleans.

And, why the emphasis on whiskey and bourbon — in addition to their best-selling Black Magic Lemonade and other specialty drinks?

Bourbon Street, of course. The main drag in the party center of New Orleans got its name from the whiskey and bourbon runners who brought the spirits down from Kentucky. “We have 150 or so bourbons,” Perry said.

Hmm, just what the Dr. (John) ordered.

Patti Ewald

Patti Ewald has been digging for news stories ever since she took her gift of gab and insatiable curiosity to Ohio State and -- poof! -- turned them into a journalism degree. Now a freelance writer living in St. Petersburg, Florida, Patti thanks her vast newsroom experience for her writing skills and her two grown sons, three cats and a scruffy white dog for her sense of humor, compassion and tenacity.

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