Taking the streetcar to Jacques-Imo’s for Real Nawlins Food

Dimly lit entrance to Jacques-Imo's -- where everyone stands waiting for a table!

Dimly lit entrance to Jacques-Imo’s — where everyone stands waiting for a table!

Sometimes there’s a side benefit to foraging for local cuisine, especially if you’re a tourist in New Orleans.  And who doesn’t want Real Nawlins Food?  We sure ’nuff do, so whenever we visit, we duck out of the French Quarter to a favorite place of ours — Jacques-Imo’s on Oak Street, at the far end of the Garden District.

So, what’s the side benefit?  A slow trip via the St. Charles Streetcar past stately homes and graceful, long-armed trees that have survived hurricanes, Louisiana dampness, and Mardi Gras parades.  (Disclaimer:  These photos were taken from a seat on the trolley, so they’re not the best.  But you’ll get the picture.) And if you love Old South architecture and lovely homes, this just may be a passage through heaven.

Stately home in New Orleans Garden District

Stately columns, wide front porch, and graceful ironwork — typical home in the Garden District. See those beads in the trees? Left over from Mardi Gras, we suppose.

Some homes seem framed by far-reaching branches.  Like this lovely home with tall, to-the-floor windows, ionic columns, and leaded glass door.

Massive ionic columns frame the doorway in this typical home in the Garden District.

Massive ionic columns frame the doorway in this typical home in the Garden District.

Others seem skinnier (relatively speaking) but quaint.  This one with tall shutters, a sweet sitting area on the front porch and pretty landscaping offers a more casual Garden District look.  And oh, that balcony — all the better to watch the parades, my dear!

Three-story home with tall windows, comfortable front porch and second story balcony.

Three-story home with tall windows, comfortable front porch and second story balcony.

By now, you’re seeing a trend as more and more of the homes follow a pattern:  columns, balconies, wicker chairs on front porch.  We can’t get enough of it.

Wicker chairs flank a double door at this home with a gracious Southern entryway.

Wicker chairs flank a double door at this home with a gracious Southern entryway.

You can almost see inside some of the homes if you pass by at twilight, and the interiors are lit.  Those leaded glass doors just sparkle.

Leaded glass door and transom are aglow in this Garden District beauty.

Leaded glass door and transom are aglow in this Garden District beauty.

We almost felt that we were in the French Quarter peeping through gates to see the courtyards when we passed this home.  And the clay tile roof just adds to the ambiance.

Lush greenery sets up a courtyard feel in this entryway.

Lush greenery sets up a courtyard feel in this entryway.

It seemed that a few homes were so dignified they should be on Embassy Row in some international city.  Wouldn’t you want to stay here if you were ambassador to the U. S.?

A portico with two-story columns dignifies the entrance to this formal home in the Garden District.

A portico with two-story columns dignifies the entrance to this formal home in the Garden District.

The route through the Garden District parallels S. Carrollton Street, and you’ll have to let the driver know you want to get off at Oak Street, home of Jacques-Imo’s.  Believe us, he’ll know where you’re going.  It’s been a book-your-reservations-early place since Jacques Leonardi and his wife Amelia opened the restaurant in 1996 in the Riverbend/Carrollton area.  And, if you’re really lucky, Jacques himself may come cavorting through the restaurant, slapping you on the back or singing for all to hear.

Jacques-Imo’s decor defies description.  At least our description.  It’s a little bit swampy, little bit Duck Dynasty, little bit VooDoo, and a whole lotta garage sale meets Southern style.

Framed art and who-knows-what-else fill the ceiling and walls at Jacques-Imo's.

Framed art and who-knows-what-else fill the ceiling and walls at Jacques-Imo’s.

And that’s the fun of it.  The food is the joy of it.  If we hadn’t filled up on muffalettas and gumbo at Napoleon House for lunch, we would have stuffed ourselves with any one of their signature entrees: Blackened Redfish with crab-chili hollandaise or Eggplant Pirogue with sautéed shrimp and oysters in a lemon cream sauce or Grilled Grouper with Crabmeat Imperial.  Oh, be still my heart.

Yes, that's a critter on the wall above the bar at Jacques-Imo's. Don't know what. Don't want to ask!

Yes, that’s a critter on the wall above the bar at Jacques-Imo’s. Don’t know what. Don’t want to ask!

Instead, we opted for three appetizers and drinks (You’re in New Orleans.  You have to.) and were full as ticks when we left.  Our choices?  Numero uno for sure:  Shrimp and Alligator Cheesecake which the Times-Picayune (August 27, 2014) described beautifully. “This is essentially a quiche with biceps: rich and custardy, in a pool of mustard-tart sauce. A few bites and you’ll feel strong enough to wade into the swamp.”

But that’s not all.  We downed two more:  Fried Boudin Balls stuffed with jalapenos and pepper jack cheese in a Creole mustard sauce and Deep-fried Roast Beef Po-Boy.  You won’t leave hungry.

Touting Warm Beer, Lousy Food and Poor Service, Jacques-Imo's has been winning over foodies since 1996.

Touting Warm Beer, Lousy Food and Poor Service, Jacques-Imo’s has been winning over foodies since 1996.

Of course, the down side is that you have to walk back to the trolley when you can barely waddle.  But the exercise and warm Southern breezes will help you find the route back to your hotel.

Jacques' car sitting idle on the street in front of the restaurant. It's a beaut!

Jacques’ car sitting idle on the street in front of the restaurant. It’s a beaut!

It’s just another memorable evening in New Orleans — through the Garden District to Jacques-Imo’s!

Waiting for the St. Charles Avenue Line to take us back to the French Quarter.

Waiting for the St. Charles Avenue Line to take us back to the French Quarter.

For more information:

Jacques-Imo’s, 8324 Oak Street, New Orleans, LA; 504-861-o886; jacques-imos.com

New Orleans Streetcar Schedules: http://www.norta.com/Maps-Schedules/Streetcar-Schedules-Maps.aspx

If you’d like to see more of where we ate and what we saw in New Orleans, click here or go to Travel Series: New Orleans at the top of this post.  Thanks for traveling with us!

–Bert and Rusha

 

 

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
This entry was posted in Food, Gardens, Louisiana, New Orleans and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Taking the streetcar to Jacques-Imo’s for Real Nawlins Food

  1. Bill V says:

    Love Jacques Imo’s! It’s always my first dinner in any NOLA visit. Followed of course, by breakfast at the Camellia Grill the next day.

    • OMG! Now you’ve given us another reason to return to NOLA: Camellia Grill. Don’t know how we’ve missed that one, but would love to try it out. So many restaurants, so little time! Thanks for sharing.

      • Bill V says:

        If you take the trolley all the way out St. Charles to where it meets Carrollton, Camellia Grill is just off to the right, slightly up Carrollton on the left.

  2. I don’t know this place Rusha, but we’ll definitely check it out on our next trip. The place looks like pure New Orleans. The NOLA restaurant scene is hard to keep up with and there are so many great choices. ~James

    • If you get back to New Orleans, check it out. It really does have authentic food — and lots of it. Next time, I’ve got to hold off on the beignets, gumbo, and muffulettas so I can have a whole order of alligator cheesecake at Jacques Imo’s to myself!!

  3. I rode the trolly years ago when we were thinking about bringing light rail to Sacramento. It was a lovely experience. As for taking photos from the trolley, I’ve been trying to master taking photos form the car. 🙂 Otherwise our retracing my bike trek would take as long as the actual trek! Scrumptious food, making me hungry. Fun post. –Curt

    • You’re right about taking pics while moving — not great results but we can’t always stop. How you took any pics and then still had the energy to pedal on is a wonder to me! Love what you write and share, Curt.

      • Ah, the secret in the photos, Rusha, is that Peggy and I are taking them as we retrace my route. I wish I had been in to photography on the trip, but I still might be out there taking photos. 🙂 And thanks! –Curt

  4. The food sounds delicious but the porches are what cause my pulse to quicken with their beauty. 🙂

  5. Jodi says:

    I love the food of N’awleans! 🙂

    • As you can see, so do I! We can only eat so much, however, until we’re about to pop. So our dinners weren’t really too heavy. The only downside? Not much to write about when you dine on appetizers!

  6. Neil Fischer says:

    Rusha,

    We have devoured your post on NOLA! We’re in TX for a wedding over Memorial Day; my brother’s son is getting married. We plan to head for Nawlins and spend a couple of days there.

    Thank you for the great advice. Napoleons, Central Grocery, Cafe du Monde and Jaques. We’re going to see the WWII Museum and are staying in the warehouse district between the Garden and French Quarter.

    Laisse les bon temps roulez!

    On Tuesday, May 24, 2016, Oh, the Places We See . . . wrote:

    > Oh, the Places We See posted: ” Sometimes there’s a side benefit to > foraging for local cuisine, especially if you’re a tourist in New Orleans. > And who doesn’t want Real Nawlins Food? We sure ’nuff do, so whenever we > visit, we duck out of the French Quarter to a favorite place of o” >

    • You’ll have a great time in NOLA! So many places to see — and we like architecture, so a stroll through the Quarter suits us just fine. Bert went to the WWII museum and loved it, but took no pictures! So, I guess we have to go back so I can “cover it”!

  7. Pit says:

    Nawlins – still on our bucket list.

  8. Amy says:

    What a beautiful set of photos of this special city! Love N O !

  9. Joe Bruner says:

    Great job! Great pictures! Made me hungry for sho’! I love New Orleans…this was a treat.

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