As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about The JuJu Bag Cafe to get an idea of how the restaurant is doing since Robert Irvine visited, and here is what I found (note - all reviews are post Restaurant: Impossible):
- "I LOVE the food and people. I walked in by chance and what a find! The people are heartfelt in their friendliness. They really care about your experience with them, not by them because they make you feel welcome and relaxed as if you were meant to be there. The food is delicious with large portions. Well worth the drive from the Lower Garden District. Can't wait to go back!!!"
- "We were very happy with this restaurant. The service was great, the owners are friendly, and they have a salon attached to it. It's a small place but still we loved it."
- "Fish Fry Fridays...not the best. I went in for the special and the smell of hair chemicals was overwhelming. Smells like a perm kit factory inside. After noticing the salon next door, I felt a little better. I ordered the fish and I was fried just a little too hard for my liking. The sides offered were mac n' cheese and peas. Both were nothing to write home about. I'll pass."
- "Our hostess took us out back and told us the place will be on Restaurant Impossible in May. She said, "We have a full bar." Wine? Only moscato. Beer? Heineken. We ordered Heineken. She brought it out. Unopened. "We don't have bottle openers." I ordered a po' boy. "They're not good here. Only six shrimp." OK. How about the mixed basket? "That takes hours." OK. What should we order? "Salads." Bottom line: food was edible, price was right, and the owner, a former Southern U prof, she said, entertained us with stories on the way out. Surreal. That is, New Orleans."
- "Place is very cute!!! Wasn't able to order food 2 different times, once due to problems with appliances!!!! Staff was unorganized and unbothered!!! I stood there 15 minutes one time picking different items to eat each time I tried to alert the waitress to let her know I found something else "because everything else I ordered wasn't available", she said that item wasn't available either...I finally got fed up with the cat and mouse with her and said what exactly do you have!!!!!!!? Ended up getting okra and shrimp with red sauce was not good! I use to go here a year ago the food was good and the service was quick, I don't know what happened!!
Other News and Links:
- The Restaurant Impossible makeover happened in March 2015.
- Here is the Ju-Ju Bag Facebook Page, which isn't too active.
- Here is an old JuJu Bag website, which seems to have expired and now has spammy links on the site.
- Here is another JuJu Bag website, which doesn't work without the "www." in front. Here is the version that works.
- Here is a 5 minute documentary about The JuJu Bag Cafe made in 2012, which is pretty well done. Some info from that:
- A Ju Ju Bag is a bag given to young men at the age of 13 in West Africa where they keep their precious items.
- Before Hurricane Katrina, the restaurant was half living quarters and half barber shop. After Katrina, they were going to make half of it a book store, but people kept asking if they would serve food or coffee, so they decided to do food.
- Random - There are Ju Ju Be Diaper Bags that kept showing up in search results, but there is no relation.
The reviews of the restaurant are mixed since the makeover with some people liking the food, people and atmosphere. There were a few complaints about the availability of items on the menu and the laid back service. There wasn't too much publicity during the makeover so there wasn't too much information out there, but it seems like locals will be critical to making this restaurant succeed.
A new season of Restaurant Impossible hasn't been given the green-light yet, and Robert Irvine has said on social media that this season's ratings will determine if they continue to produce episodes. Last week's episode had 1.1 million viewers, so I expect those ratings are good enough to warrant more episodes, but only time will tell. Maybe they just will slow down production as five different seasons span the years 2014 and 2015. (UPDATE - It has been renewed for a 12th season.)
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