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Why does everyone hate Jacques-imo's

Why does everyone hate Jacques-imo's? I have never dined there in all my times in New Orleans, but have many friends (both locals and tourists) that love that place. I need some specifics. I'd like to hear from some folks who like it as well please.

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  1. The place is great, unique, fun, funky and the food is usually very good. Their sides are to die for. I have had a few clunkers on the menu, but lately the food has been better than ever. It is very loud and the waiting area is not comfortable at all unless you find a spot at the bar and have a few drinks. Someone on this board just asked for recommendations of someplace similar to Jacques Imos to recommend to friends. There isn’t any. It truly is a one-of-a-kind New Orleans experience capped off by an owner who is almost always there, even if he usually is a little drunk. One drawback is the service can be spotty. They go with a team effort thing. One person brings your waters, one person takes your drink orders, another person may take your food orders and other people run your food. Sometimes this leads to inattentiveness, but other times it’s just part of the quirkiness. If you’ve never been, it’s definitely worth a visit, just be patient and enjoy New Orleans-time.

    2 Replies
    1. re: shanefink

      judging by the lines and wait times i would say that EVERYONE does not hate Jacques-Imo's!!!!! Maybe a few snobby people don't really like it or do not appreciate the kitsch but most people I know LOVE Jacques-imo' and certainly any guests from out of town that I have brought there adored the place! It's always been a great time in my book.

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      Jacques-Imo's Cafe
      8324 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118

      1. re: mcegielski

        The food is mediocre. I find that by the time you order an app, entree, drinks, you could have dined far better elsewhere (eg Emeril's, Coquette...) with a resv.

        Slow service and folks lingering make table turnover slow. Go when they open to avoid the long wait times. We've been told 30 mins which in Jacques speak is an hour and a half. It is funky, loud and a slice of nola's quirkier side. Everyone should probably go once for the "ambience" and the fried chicken (what they do best).

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        Emeril's Restaurant
        800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

    2. Jacques-Imo's is great if you're drunk and rowdy. It's loud, crowded, and the food is hit or miss and you can tell the place is owned by a drunk. I used to love their fried chicken but one night as I was walking through the kitchen to get to my table, there was literally a bucket of it sitting on the floor. You're better off getting lunch at Crabby Jack's, which is also Jacques Leonardi's place. I do have to say, if they screw something up, they'll overcompensate. Another time, we were seated almost an hour after our reservation (they only take reservations for large parties) so they gave us every appetizer on the menu for free.

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      Crabby Jacks
      428 Jefferson Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70121

      Jacques-Imo's Cafe
      8324 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118

      1. Eating at Jacques-Imo's is a fun dining experience. Comparing it to Emeril's is absurd. The food compares very favorably to many NOLA neighborhood joints.

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        Emeril's Restaurant
        800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

        Jacques-Imo's Cafe
        8324 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118

        1. You need to know what you are in for when you go to Jacues-imo's. I've been several times and I love it! The wait will definitely be majorly long but if you go two doors down to Maple Leaf bar they will come over and get you when your table is ready. I've never had any food that was even marginal there. It's all good. The servers have always doted on my groups. It's loud and the tables are close together. I definitely wouldn't recommend it for a funeral lunch. I would recommend it as a precursor to a great night out on the town.

            1. re: mimadeli

              I don't hate it, I just see no point in waiting for a table in a cramped restaurant, when there are numerous places with better food and a comfort factor that is light years ahead. I see why people go, sure, but not my idea of a pleasurable dining experience.

            2. I don't hate it but it is a terribly crowded and uncomfortable place.

              1. Cool. I appreciate all the responses. I'm bringing a bunch of guys from Orlando who have never been and I was hoping we weren't wasting our time. Most people seem to dig it on at least some level. I'll chance it.

                1. The food is fine, the service is spotty, but some claim it is the best spot in New Orleans and that is an extreme exaggeration to say the least. The only problem I have with the place are its fan boys which greatly over due it. Otherwise it is a great place, just know what you are getting into.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jdm40

                    after 20 plus years of visiting New Orleans, i finally made it to Jacque-Imos in June. i was with a group of 6, so we were able to make reservations. we had prompt, friendly service. we enjoyed the "scene", noticed we were sat and fed while the crowd at the bar was still waiting when we left. and the food was good. i was surprised. the only problem i had, was i didn't know how large the portions were before i went. so be aware, the entrees can easily feed two people.

                  2. Husband & I both love Jacques-Imo's and have been many times, including several birthday celebrations. Yes, it can be rowdy and crowded, but with a party of 5 or more (I think) you can get a reservation, or go early. It's not a quick place to get a bite, relax, have a drink, and enjoy the experience. Fried chicken, carpetbagger steak, lots of yum.

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                    Jacques-Imo's Cafe
                    8324 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lawhound05

                      I agree. If you know what you’re in for, it’s a wonderful experience. I think it may be a generational thing as well. Some folks would never like this Jacques-Imos. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, but for others it’s super-fun. I also think they’ve stepped up their game lately. The last two times, the food and even the service were spot-on.

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                      Jacques-Imo's Cafe
                      8324 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118

                    2. Well, I don't consider myself "older/conservative' as a diner, nor are any of my frequent dining companions. I think for many of us who have seen the shine wear off of the place, it is because it was so very good/exciting the first few years out. According to my sister, for whom it was hands down her favorite resto for quite a few years, the food quality just really deteriorated. I don't know if it was the expansion, or the chef's penchant for excesses, perhaps some staff turnover, but the last few years when I (or any of my friends) have gone, it just simply hasn't been as good. Not horrible, just not anything special at all. Indeed, I took my then new to town boyfriend and his best buddy a few years back, and they are by no means picky eaters and we were all roundly underwhelmed. The staff were fine, casual/fun, but for the price I'd just as soon go elsewhere, and I wish I didn't feel that way, think the ambience is just great. Indeed, we once had the chef plop himself down with his bottle at our table and amuse us greatly with his enthusiastic recounting of his tour of the Bonny Doon winery. If they have turned it around in the past year or two, that is great news.

                      1. I have never heard anyone say they don't like it. I think it is amazing!

                        1 Reply
                        1. I was just there for the first time this last week. I think the only people that would have something bad to say about Jaques Imo's.....should stay home. It was fabulous!! We did not have to wait long to be seated. The service was not slow. Yes- going through the kitchen was a little different but that was part of the experience. It was exactly what we were looking for...our first time in New Orleans. I can not wait to go back!!

                          1. I don't hate it, but I can get fried chicken that is as good or better in several places where I live, so that leaves out the main reason for going. We have been twice. Was not happy either time. My food was average (wife's was good). Service was terrible. We were also seated pretty close to what I guess is a dish "dump" area. They constantly dumped tubs of dishes and silverware all through our meal. Second time, different table location, but service was really spotty (a little rude actually) and so close to other tables I was bumped all night long by passersby. WAY too many other wonderful choices in NOLA to put up with the mess at Jacques-imo

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: lambrechtgourmet

                              OK, lambrecht, you and I are on the same page with this one, too. Our one (and will be only) time there was way less than stellar. I don't care how good you are, a 2 and 1/2 hour wait is way too long. Plus the drinks they were pouring at the bar were watered down, quite unlike most NOLA bars. A person should be able to cop a buzz in that amount of time. The food wasn't bad, but who cares after 2 and 1/2 hours? We should have left, but at that point, in for a penny, in for a pound. We caught the host/ess seating several folks who came in after us, and we think that's why the service was so unctuous when we finally got seated. And I'm sorry, the alligator cheesecake is not all that and a bag of chips. as you say, there are tons more places to eat in NO that are far superior to JI's in food, drinks, and service, with much less of a hassle. For those of you who love to go there, I say more power to you.