Every single time someone comes to visit me, I take them to Jacques-Imos on Oak St. The restaurant is packed from 6pm, when it opens, to 11pm when it closes. From outside, you can hear ridiculous pop hits from the 80's and 90's blasting from the outdoor speakers. In front of the restaurant is a painted pickup truck that has a table for two set up on warmer days.
The crowd outside and in the first room may scare you out of putting your name on the list, and if you make it to the hostess, the wait time may scare you even more. Don't walk away! That hour and a half to two hours will fly by, and the food is completely worth it.
Steps to take in order to handle the wait time:
1. Show up really early or really late. They start taking names at 5:30 and stop at 9:30. I'm nocturnal so I show up around 9ish to put my name down. This way you won't get bulked into the middle.
1a. Make a reservation if your party is larger than four. Parties four and under can't make reservations - sorry folks!
2. Once your name is on the list, grab yourself a drink. Get a double, get it in a Crabby Jack's plastic cup. The bartenders at Jacques are some of the best in the city so feel free to ask for your favorite complicated drink. It will taste good. The bar specialty is a watermelon mojito (I think - I know it's something with watermelon in it) but I prefer a madras to start the night off.
3. Take a walk across the street to Frenchy's gallery. Frenchy is a live painter - that is, he paints events (music concerts, sporting events etc) while they are going on. If you are a music fan, Frenchy has almost definitely painted your favorite band - probably while you were watching them play.
4. Poke your head into the Maple Leaf Bar. If it's earlier in the evening, there's usually something going on for free - Oak Street locals jamming etc.
5. Head back to the restaurant and borrow a menu. The deliciousness of everything can be overwhelming so you might want to do some planning.
6. Only keep half an eye on the time. Usually the wait is a little less than what the hostess says it is, but if you aren't in the restaurant itself, the hostess will come out onto the street and yell until she finds you.
5 Delicious Dishes(apps and entrees):
Alligator Sausage and Shrimp Cheesecake
Crab Stuffed Shrimp
Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly Dish:
Vegetarian Delight -Halved/Cored squash with mixed veggies in a Thai coconut cream sauce with black beans, topped with fried sweet potato slivers