In 1910, before Satchmo had ever formed his first band, the Acme Café was opened on Royal Street in the French Quarter. Acme has been pleasing the palates of discriminating diners ever since.
In 1924, a disastrous fire caused the collapse of the three-story Acme Saloon building. The Café was re-established as Acme Oyster House around the corner at 724 Iberville, where it still operates today.
Acme has been shuckin’ ever since by serving food so good Prohibition wasn’t a problem at prices so low the Great Depression wasn’t all that depressing.
After many decades of success, business had slowed for Acme and many other French Quarter businesses in the early 1980’s. For a while, Acme closed at 4:00 and had only one waitress on staff. This prompted Acme to make the now famous “Waitress available sometimes” neon sign, which is proudly displayed in each restaurant and on the menu.
Despite the lack of business, and staff, native New Orleanian Mike Rodrigue recognized the potential. He bought Acme Oyster House in 1985 and revived the charming New Orleans’ institution without having to make too many changes.
Acme served about 250,000 raw and chargrilled oysters in Mike’s first year. 23 years and four new locations later, Acme shucked well over 3.6 million fresh oysters in 2008. That’s almost 10,000 oysters a day and doesn’t even include the fried ones.
Acme’s key to success is to not get too far from the source. In addition to the original French Quarter location, Acme Oyster Houses are open in Covington, Metairie, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and in Sandestin on the Florida panhandle. Each location is a short, refrigerated drive away from where Acme’s oysters are harvested so they are always shucked and served at their freshest.
There has to be more than just great seafood to make a New Orleans’ restaurant famous. For Acme, maybe it’s eating under the glow of neon lights, or the checkerboard tablecloths, or enjoying a good meal with close friends and complete strangers at the same time. Maybe it’s the ice cold beer. Whatever it is, we’re glad you like it. Thanks to everyone for a great first hundred years.