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“Be Ready to Enter the Tight Knit Six Stool Family” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Jodie's Restaurant

Jodie's Restaurant
902 Masonic Ave, Albany, CA 94706-2128
+1 510-526-1109
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Ranked #33 of 74 restaurants in Albany
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: American, Barbecue, Vegetarian, Sandwiches
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch
Description: Welcome to the East Bay's best kept Secret!Jodie's has been at the same location for over 24 years. It's an Albany treasure. When you visit for the first time you'll be given the "orientation" speech. "What's on the wall isn't in the menu and what's in the menu isn't all there is. If you don't see what you want, ask Jodie." Vegetarian? All dishes are available with veggie substitutions. Jodie's famous fried chicken is temporarily unavailable on Saturdays and Sundays. But don't miss the creamy grits on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays! New item available on Wednesdays and Thursdays, Jodie's Soup of the Day with Parmesan Toast and a Soda for $6.50 Plus Tax!Like the sign on the wall says "It's better to serve 1 person 10 times, then 10 people one time."
San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
62 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Be Ready to Enter the Tight Knit Six Stool Family”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

Brace yourselves if you're a newbie. You will walk into a time warp that will feel like you've happened upon someone's tight kitchen table --with six stools. That someone is Jodie Royston, owner, barker, bellower, teller of how you shouldn't season anything on your plate before you try it, former chef, person who will tell those who don't know better or who are hesitating that everything is cooked to order. It's best to not get on Jodie's bad side, cause he and his tight-knit bunch may swiftly kick you out the door.

So I was the newbie. I did sit there, not knowing what to expect, and quickly earned both the approbation and annoying fussing by the regulars, who that morning obviously knew each other for years. They must meet here weekly. They trade stories about their vacations; they pass on stories second hand and don't get all the facts right. They get the names of whomever they're discussing as they butter toast wrong. One unsuspecting newbie walked in and said he was "hunky dory". One regular quickly pulled out her cellphone, looked up the origin of the expression and fussily announced it in the same way that Cliff Claven used to do on "Cheers". I just sat there slackjawed, staring at her whimsical addition to the morning chatter. In any case, the regular bunch talk past Jodie sometimes because he is too busy manning his place and telling everyone who comes in the same old spiel.

Let's get this out of the way --the food was pretty good: I had the Jodie's Special, which consisted of two scrambled eggs, two strips of bacon, a crispy square of hash browns, and a big fluffy, light pancake. $10.25, really a lot of money to be sure, but the dish does include coffee or oj. Jodie asked me about meat and I said bacon; I think he managed to say I could have had chicken wings. Chicken and eggs? Really?

So you're going to feel incredibly cloistered, claustrophobic and watched in the most uncomfortable way.....until they accept you as "one of them".

Some definite minuses:

**The wait time is absolutely unacceptable. I was customer #5 that day and it took 35 min for me to get my order. I can imagine how long it would take if you get there later, but wait, there may be no place to sit in the first place!

**Which begs the question: there are only six stools! One griddle. It's not that hard to whip up these dishes!

**Who's the tough guy/hired hand/bodyguard who greets you, motions you to do this or that, then parks himself with a group of regulars, until he gets up again?

**Charles the grandson cook will say hi to you. ("Hi Charles") But he will take a few pictures of almost every dish before they get sent out to the diner. Yes! He takes his camera out for no apparent reason. Training? Evidence to present at a trial?

**Coffee just isn't worth it. Big red can of Folger's. A place this kooky and homey should have stronger coffee to keep diners patient.

**Jodie's constant, never-ending nattering ---checking on you, "want more coffee?", "don't season!", needling, and stories of how he used to be a cook can really wear thin after just 5 minutes. If you're the type that gets on an airplane and puts on blindfolds to be left alone, this is really not your type of place. Then again it you can be really gregarious and have nifty stories to spin as you forget you're starving because Charles is busy taking out the frozen hash browns from the fridge.

*Butter? Nope. Can't have that! They use "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter". Cost cutting? You'd think they charged only $5 per plate. Nope...all of the dishes are in double digits price-wise.

*For some reason you have to leave the tip in cash. What if you don't have cash? Jodie will take your plastic but he will instruct you not to add more than what is on the bill. Nope! May lightning strike you if you don't have a few dollars to leave as a tip. You will incur the wrath of Jodie for sure.

Tip: go walk around the corner and walk into Royal Grounds coffee, a grab a pastry, read your paper and have a much calmer meal.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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7 reviews from our community

66% Recommend
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Super snall but good!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

Reminds me of an old fashion "greasy spoon". A lot like the old non-healthy food Mom used to make. Ample servings and not over prices.

Visited January 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jodiesrestaurant, Public Relations Manager at Jodie's Restaurant, responded to this review, March 5, 2013
We are so happy that you enjoyed your visit to Jodie's Restaurant and hope you will stop again and enjoy another meal with us.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Tasty fried chicken on the weekends, with delicious grits”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2010

I had never tried Jodie's, but had walked by frequently and was intrigued by all of the happy diners lounging on the sidewalk in front of the tiny little restaurant. Today I walked by and poked my head in, and was immediately taken in hand by Jodie. He asked if I liked meat, and then ordered a plate of chicken and grits for me, and then sent me out to one of the sidewalk tables to avoid being heckled by all of the regulars crammed around the tiny counter. I didn't have any cash, but he said it was ok. I could go get it afterwards and then come back, "I trust you."

The plate arrived, full of scrambled eggs, grits, fried bread and several pieces of dark meat chicken. (You have a choice of white or dark.) I hadn't eaten fried chicken in years, deep-fried anything usually doesn't agree with my stomach. So, this plate full of rich, heavy food scared me a little, but it looked good, so I was determined to eat it, damn the consequences later.

The food was delicious. But, even better than that, it wasn't heavy or greasy (well, the grits were a little greasy, the way grits should be.) Even after a heavy meal without a fruit or vegetable in sight I still felt good. Jodie told me that they strip the fat out of the chicken. Well, they may take the fat out, but it is still juicy and very tasty.

The food isn't cheap. I spent $15 for the breakfast plate and a cup of coffee. But, it was worth every penny.

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
“Only one item on the menu each day. Soul food at its best!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2008

Only one item on the menu each day. Soul food at its best!

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This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
“The best Damn chow house...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2007

The best Damn chow house in the EB, When it's open?

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This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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