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Man Aisle Pops Up in New York City Market with Beer, Barbecue, and Cereal

Man Aisle Pops Up in New York City Market with Beer, Barbecue, and Cereal

Sometime last year, Procter & Gamble Co. was throwing around some crazy ideas of creating a grocery aisle specifically for men, apparently a brand new breed of consumers walking around grocery stores.

The idea was to give the lonely male lost in a supermarket a fun shopping experience, putting everything a man's man would need in one place. And New York City's Westside Market has gone and done just that.

Called "The Man Aisle," the space stocks stereotypically male items like beer, cereal, soda, beef jerky, hot sauces, barbecue sauces, condoms, and oh, Chock full o'Nuts Coffee.

"People rarely cater to men in the supermarket," COO Ian Joskowitz told us over the phone. "So I thought let’s do something fun, get people talking, something guys would like. So we started discussion, and it’s funny because most of us came up with a very similar list."

This was, of course, spawned by a recent ESPN study showing that 31 percent of grocery shoppers are now men, in comparison to the 14 percent in 1985.

But of course, men can't simply just subsist on potato chips and beer alone (nor can their families). "If he’s in the store, he’s doing the shopping, so we do a little something fun for him," Joskowitz said. "The whole rest of the store is for the family."

So Westside is also handing out a "Men's Supermarket Survival Guide" with tidbits like, "Not only doing the shopping but the cooking also? First pat yourself on the back from Westside Market NYC then choose either olive or canola oil."

Now if only we had a woman's aisle full of tissues, romantic comedies, tampons, and chocolate. And also, maybe a survival guide telling us to pat ourselves on the back for cooking dinner.


Mara's Homemade (Reported Closed)

I also know what New Orleans food is suppose to at least emulate, THIS IS NOT THE PLACE i would NEVER go again .

From the crappy jalapeno cornbread to the soggy jambalaya,, the shrimp feast was horrid they were soggy spongy shrimp that are claimed to be shipped from the bayou,cooked FOUR ways and ,covered in zatarans crab boil mix , butter oil and crappy seasoning , the craw fish ettoufou was the worst thing i have eaten in my life the chef does not know how to make a proper roux or sauce , the craw fish were gray and tiny after a bite that was it for me, dont go near the specially flown in red snapper with creole mustad sauce (basically mustard and white wine )to smother this horrible quality fish ,flownin "I dont think so"

Did i mention i am also a commercial fisherman !

Last the was the the Cocky derby wearing guy with his stained shirt that he has probably worn for the previous 5 days who ran the place! With his decaying teeth and "make you want to puke smile", and total control freak attitude who had basically no control over his kitchen or wait staff. GOD HELP SYOSSET ! I totally agree with Amal D. So go if you want to pay for bad taste in you mouth for years !

Homemade fun. – I challenge you to find someone who would not consider the atmosphere charming. And the food is quite good, at reasonable prices.

Maras Homemade-just like home – I've been living in NYC since 2000. Originally I'm from South Mississippi where Crawfish is a part of our weekly diet. It took some time but my wife finally uncovered a GOLD MINE for me. Mara's is now my FAVORITE place to eat in all of NYC. The crawfish comes in a bucket with potatos, corn on the cobb and mushrooms - JUST LIKE BACK HOME!! There's even SAINTS (who dat!) Posters adorning the walls. No place is better.

Best Restaurant in the City, hands down. – I've been dining here for years. Ive read all thr reviews about the staff being rude, mean or rushing people out. Ive NEVER EVER experienced any of these.

The staff has ALWAYS been courteous to me and my wife.Ive had birthday parties here and family gatherings. Ive taken half the restaurant and Ive taken a single table by myself, Ive always enjoyed myself. Food has always been spot on (especially the BBQ). After eating BBQ here, Ive been looking for better. Ive been to Northern Cali, Miami, Orlando, Boston THIS IS STILL MY FAVE!

Prices have gone up, but considering how good it is, its always worth the splurge.

Mara also does cooking classes which seem interesting.

Will not be returning – Went there last night to meet a friend for dinner and was asked to leave after inquiring about a table and a fifteen minute seating wait (with 3 tables avail). I was told that a big party was leaving and that we would get two seats up front. Those tables were cleared and they sat others waiting who had arrived after. I asked about our seat, reminding that we were also waiting, and was told, "Probably will not be able to please you, it would be best if you would leave" by owner David. A personal first to be asked to leave a restaurant after inquiring about seating! Suggest those with interest read posts here and on other sites before deciding on Mara's- odd behavior from owners and poor service are both common if you read through comments.

Funky cajun joint specializes in crawfish. – Despite its East Village locale, Mara's homemade has an undeniable Arkansas/Louisiana authenticity. For some patrons, it may be too authentic, given how messy and anatomically challenging the crawfish dinners can be. But on the other hand, the jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, pepper cornbread and other southern specialties are well-made, cheap and arrive in copious portions. The room is as raucous and homey as a roadside joint on Highway 3, which makes it a favorite of the young crowd that lives and hangs out nearby.

Key Lime Goodness! – It's hard to find good Key Lime Pie in the City. Too often, the taste is wrong, the texture is off or worse: it tastes pre-packaged. That's why it was a delight to discover the perfect Key Lime pie at Mara's Homemade!

The taste is sweet with the right balance of key lime. The texture is firm but creamy, complimented by a thin graham crust. Best of all, there's no whipped cream or other frippery to distract you from the subtle nuances of this rare treat. It succeeds on its own, as the best pies do.

If you're in the mood for a Southern delight done right, head over to Mara's and grab a slice of Key Lime Pie. You won't be disappointed!

Smells like a public TOILET. – I can't believe this place is once again a top NYC BBQ spot. The restaurant smelled like an open sewer when my brother and I went last summer after it had just made the list. The food is horrible, the drinks weak, and the atmosphere like something out of a Third Avenue, frat-boy nightmare.

Anyone who thinks that this is good BBQ has never had it. and has no palate.

Never AGAIN!! – I do not recommend this place to anyone. It was by far the most awkward dining experience of my life. First, they couldn?t seat us right away even though we made reservations (no biggie, pretty normal). But, literally 5 minutes after we were seated, both Mara and her husband came to our table yelling at us because we had not ordered yet. On top of that, it took 20 minutes for our drinks to come, not to mention, they were brought one by one in 5 minute increments. They then proceeded to tell us that we could not leave the table or go outside to make a phone call or have a cigarette and that the next person to leave would not only not be able to come back in, but would also have the cops called on them. We were then told that we could not use the bathroom because of a ?recent theft??I don?t even know what that means I guess someone stole toilet paper? Mara and her husband both need a serious attitude adjustment. We are not guests in your home (thank God), we are paying customers, learn how to run a business. I don?t know if they treat all of their customers like this, or just parties of 12 spending over $700. Oh, and the food was just ok, nothing special at all.

BEST PO BOYS IN THE TRISTATE AREA! – Mara has inspired me to write my 1st review on CitySearch in 8 years of using the site. If you are looking for the best po boys short of going to the Washington metro area, RUN to Mara's. Being a New Orleans (N.O.) BK transplant, I have tried them at most other other New York area restaurants (Cooking with Jazz, Mardi Gras, Delta Grill, Stan's Place, Bayou, ect) and another that has since closed in Hell's Kitchen.

I'm so happy some else appreciates Gulf Coast seafood besides me (oysters from anywhere else taste totally different plus they have a bunch of green yucky stuff in them and if I get one more shrimp po boy made from breaded frozen shrimp, I'm going to beat them. then tar and feather them. That's a mortal sin in South Louisiana (LA). Mara's does it right with fresh seafood fried using corn meal/flour on a french baguette - the closest thing you can get to N.O. style french bread in NYC - at a great price especially when you consider that she imports seafood and has to have fresh bread available 7 days a week. The jambalaya wasn't bad either.

Just one more thing, her restaurant smells fine. Anyone who grew up in an area where you eat seafood frequently year round (South LA, Coastal Maine) knows you can't have fresh seafood with some odor. That's why grandma made paran clean the fresh catfish we used to catch in the backyard.

They are the most authentic Creole/Cajun restaurant, I have been to so far in the tri-state area, You will have to take a 2.5 hr flight to N.O. to get anything better.

PS - They have Abita Root Beer brewed in LA and sweetened with LA Sugar cane syrup not HFCS for all you Root Beer/Specialty Soda heads out there it's sweet n smooth.

Best Etouffe, Hurricanes & Barbecue - Friedliness Abound – We love Mara's for the great New Orleans food & barbecue. We also enjoy being there because we are always welcomed by Mara & her husband David & usually served by daughter Hannah. What more can you ask for?! This cute little restaurant serves great food that ishard to find anywhere else in the city - like crawfish boil and crawfish etouffe. One bite and it takes you back to New Orleans - pre-Katrina! The barbecue is excellent also, but we usually go there for the hurricanes and Cajun/Creole cuisines. You will never be disappointed.

So Much for "Southern Hospitality" – Upon arriving to this restaurant, we were rushed to sit down because another party was coming to take our place at 7pm. we arrived around 5:15pm. The woman seating and serving us was very nasty. whom we believed to be Mara herself. The food was authentic according to my good friend from New Orleans who was in our party, but extremely overpriced. Mara acted like it was a chore to wait on our party of 8 and tried to rush everything along. I did witness her abusing one of her employees by slamming the walk in freezer door in his face and yelling at him. This is definately a family-own/run business. When it came time for dessert Mara rushed us and said that we could not look at the menu but were welcome to take a whole Key Lime Pie home for $15. Every dessert someone in our party mentioned Mara replied with. "Yes, TO GO!" All in all it was a horrible experience and I don't care how authentic the food was, the awful service will keep me from going back to Mara's Homemade. Oh, one last note. we paid mostly in cash. our bill for 8 people came out to over $400 and we put in $333 cash and the rest on one person's credit card. Mara came back to the table with the receipt for the card to sign reflecting that only $313 in cash was given. The cash was counted a number of times and was definately $333, somehow $20 of our cash payment didn't make it from our table to the register. I don't understand how this place has so many great reviews. don't believe them! This is the truth!

Best Crab Fingers, Great Seafood and BBQ – My husband and I have been coming to Mara's for years. As a native NYer, I've seen family owned and historic buisnesses get shut down and replaced by fashionable- yet terrible- overpriced establishments.

Mara's is the real deal, a great mom and pop restaurant with family recipies you will not find from any celebrity chef. You might have to wait a little longer (small family wait-staff), but it's well worth it. They work hard and take pride in getting the best seafood from Fulton market.

The only problem is that you will be tempted to fill up on the great assortment of appetizers before you even get to the entree, and then get so stuffed you can't move at the end of the meal.

Personal faves: Crab fingers (must dip bread in marinade), artichoke dip, pulled pork and the beignets.

Seasonal specialties: soft shell crabs, crawfish and steamers.

* I'd also like to comment on the bad reviews- this ISN't a Yuppie East Village restaurant with a professional kiss-your-tuchus wait staff and interior design- Mara and her family are nice, but if you're 20 minutes late for your reservation, they're not going to bend over backwords to seat you and delay the next party's reservation after you. The food isn't sitting around waiting to be microwaved for your order, so yeah, you might have to wait till it's cooked.

Amazing BBQ in NYC – I'm a first time writer, but thoughtful and objective. The meal I had at Mara's Homemade was one of the top 10 best meals I've ever tasted. I'm not an expert on BBQ, but to the chagrin of my wife and doctor it is what I would choose to eat just about every night. Closer to the late Pies N' Thighs than Blue Smoke in atmosphere. I ordered the pulled pork platter - a delicious smoked meat plate with a well-crafted rub. Although it was equally scrumptious, I was able to use as little sauce as I wanted, as it came on the side - a big plus. The meat was so moist, it really didn't need sauce at all. The homemade sweet tea tasted more like candy than tea, and there was no weak link, with perfect corn pudding and potato salad. For dessert, I had Bluegrass Pie - a chocolate pecan bourbon masterpiece in a graham cracker crust.

The staff is a trip. I found them to be pretty New-York-straight-forward. Some people interpret this as "poor customer service," but I strongly disagree. Mara was a sweetheart who was short staffed the night we went, but the food came out promptly and her amazing deadpan humor kept us laughing. Strongly recommended if you like BBQ and characters.

Average Ribs, Good Service – I ordered the rib combo (half raack St. Louis, half raack baby back). They are served with the sauce on the side, which I fully endorse. Why drown the ribs with sauce? While the ribs have a somewhat smoky taste and are very tender, they are not very tasty. I'm not sure if it's the way they are seasoned. But with a dousing of BBQ sauce, they were somewhat better . although I believe ribs should be tasty without the sauce. Comparing with other BBQ places in the city, this was quite avg/mediocre. Smoked corn on the cob and mashed potatoes were interesting.

The place is very small. The service was fine, they are very nice friendly people. On a warm summer night, the front door was open and that affected the A/C.

Its ok – In reading the many complaints about service, I would have to disagree based on my one (and probably only) time at Mara's. The wait staff was pleasant and friendly but it was the food and the portions that earned my three star rating. I always associate southern food with big, hearty portions and my friend and I opened our mouths in surprise when we saw how few pieces we had on our Fisherman's Platter. We also had the fried okra and the jambalaya, which we didn't finish even though I wasn't very full. I did notice the smell of seafood as soon as I walked into the restaurant but it wasn't malodorous to the point that I wanted to walk out. In summary, the food at Mara's provided my meal for that evening but it was far from a culinary experience.

Good food, but hardly worth it! – Although the food at Mara's was mostly excellent and some of the only authentic cajun/southern food I've found in NYC, the rude service ruined our experience. We had reservations. Two of our party were running late and after only about 10-15 minutes after we arrived, they took their chairs, saying the needed space for another party. Because our party was mostly young (in our 20's) it seemed the staff assumed the worst about us from the beginning. They demanded that we order immediately, before we'd really had a chance to read through the menu. Some members of our party wanted to order multiple side dishes instead of entres, and even though the cost came out to about the same, the staff accused us of trying to bankrupt them! They told us we were not spending enough money (we spent about $20 per person) and made my friends extremely uncomfortable. If they had an official minimum per-person charge, we would have paid it, but instead, they just decided to spring on the pressure when we were ordering. Moreover, we would have spent more money anyway, but they were all out of a number of menu items we tried to order and our options were very limited. It also took 20 minutes to get them to bring us a glass of water, and the space was extremely cramped and noisy. We had originally planned to stay for dessert, but the service was so intolerable we ate and left as quickly as possible and just went to a diner so our late friends, who had not been allowed to join us, could get something to eat.

That said, the food was mostly excellent. Although some of the vegetables were very bland (especially the fried okra), I enjoyed the sampler plate immensely. It included very flavorful red beans and rice as well as excellent jambalaya with real andouille sausage -- a rarity outside of Louisiana. If you really crave authentic Louisiana food in New York, it might be worth braving the staff, but I would recommend taking your business elsewhere!

You get friendlier service at the DMV – I can't believe how we were treated. We were told we couldn't have any desserts that were warm because they needed our table for another party coming in. Then when we asked for change for a $20 they refused to until we paid for the entire check first saying they were afraid that we would run out on the check. One of our party is pregnant and all of us ranged in ages from our late 20's to early 40's and the tiny restaurant had their cashier right by the only exit.

Delicious BBQ – In a city where either overpriced or mediocre BBQ restaurants are a the norm, it's refreshing to find a delicious place that's reasonably priced. It's tricky though, because it's easy to get caught up in the options that by the time dessert and after-dinner bourbon come around, you've run up quite the bill. The selection of unusual Louisiana draft beers doesn't hurt either. Mara herself served us and took the time to recommend food/sauce combinations from a selection of condiments that she makes herself. The Ultimate Combo plate is great for sharing and includes a bit of everything. The mac n' cheese is especially dazzling. The brisket, fabulous. The interior is a bit tight and the decor strange but in the low light of the evening can be surprisingly romantic. We LOVE this place.

really unpleasant – The first thing that I noticed was the smell. I do not mind the smell of fresh fish or seafood but this was neither. It smelled like a clogged drain pipe. The food tasted like the recipes were clipped from a bad womens magazine. I wonder If "Mara" knows what Homemade means. Adding creole seasoning to store bought mayo does not make a homemade remoulade . The chicken gumbo tasted decent but was obviously made from a concentrated chicken base. The Barbecue was very dry and tasted like it had been reheated several times. Mara's has food like grandma makes, if grandma works for Stouffer's or Lean Cuisine. There are a lot of great Cajun places in New York so do not waste time or money at this place.

More Than The Great Food - Mara's Makes Us Feel Like Family – Mara's is our favorite place in all of Manhattan for a relaxing, comforting and truly satisfying meal. Unlike so many sterile, over-designed places in NYC, Mara's feels like you've been invited to a friendly neighbor's house for a feast of real Southern cooking. David at the bar always remembers our regular drinks and has introduced us to new favorites, and Mara offers hugs and the solace of her real home-style cooking to soothe our nerves after a busy work week. Nothing is frozen, hastily prepared or microwaved-to-death in her kitchen: the crawfish and alligator are the freshest we've eaten since our last New Orleans visit, and the BBQ is moist and tender with a perfect smoky flavor. We love the spicy shrimp creole, which is made from the old family recipe of David's grandmother. Everything is made with care and love, from the sublime BBQ sauce to the amazing corn pudding to the absolutely sinful desserts. We've seen heads turn at other tables as the smell of the dark chocolate sauce hitting our warm chocolate souffle fills the room. Don't let the strangely negative reviews here put you off - we honestly haven't had a single bad experience of any kind at Mara's, and we eat here almost every week. Their prices are entirely reasonable for the portion sizes, freshness and quality ingredients of the food. Even at their busiest, we've never had cause to complain and our food always arrived perfectly prepared. One night David seemed oddly disappointed by the cornbread we were served (it tasted great to us) and he popped into the kitchen, returning with a dish of shrimp etouffee that he poured over the cornbread, elevating the already satisfying side dish to the point of sheer decadence. Mara's is a true gem among all the fool's gold of Manhattan restaurants.

TAKE OUT ONLY- if you must. – This is a great example of a place that could be good if somebody else was running it. They send out mass emails at least weekly BEGGING you to come in.. threatening that they will have to close if you do not..( how inviting!! ) One of the most recent emails asked customers to email Mara with suggestions on how they could get people to start coming back in again..

DO THEY NOT READ CITY SEARCH?? Maybe they should spend more time considering all of the reviews below mine, instead of posting defensive responses to each of them. As a person who has given up on this place, here is why take out is the only option here: the place smells like mildew (they say it is fish, I disagree- either way- it stinks, people are complaining- figure it out, FIX IT.) The prices are very high for dishes with a sprinkling of frozen popcorn shrimp on top (the Creole, etc..) The atmosphere is like eating in a fast food place (florescent lights, limited character.) But the main problem for us has been the attitude of the very over whelmed family who owns this place.

There used to be a girl there that we loved, but she seems to have realized she could do better. Only Mara remains, and she just doesn't understand customer service. We have actually seen Mara and her husband (?) yelling at each other in the middle of the "dining room" as if they were alone at home. It was so awkward that we haven't returned.

So do yourself a favor and if you must try this particular BBQ place. order take out.

Avoid unless you're looking for some real authentic Southern Hospitality – This is a good one. So four dark-skinned Indian folk walk into Mara's Homemade on a weeknight, I think a Tuesday. Mara's in the main entrance room, unpacking boxes, restaurant supplies, or something at one of the tables, and it reeks of old fish. "Hi. table for four," we say. Mara says "Do you have a reservation?" Us, "no." She's like "Hold on a minute." A man storms in shortly therefater (I suppose her hubby), "May I help you?" in a loud, disturbed voice, as if we didn't belong there. Before we answer, Mara butts in. " Table of four. NO RESERVATIONS." Mind you, the only ones in there were a family of light skinned folk in one of the secluded back rooms. Two or three other back room tables are empty. Mara finally leads us to a table in the fish stinking main room, where she's unpacking boxes on the next table. We politely decline, and proceed to walk out, "Um, Thank you but that's alright." She screams at us, "Um, What's wroong with this. " So apparently, even on a street teeming with Indian restaurants, in the heart of New York, you can find some good ol' Southern hospitality.

Thanks for keeping it real, Mara's Homemade.

This is a horribly dumpy east village spot apparently obsessed with reservations. Avoid.

The color of someones skin does not make any difference to us. The night that this party (which was NOT a Tuesday, since we are closed) came in we were booked with reservations. A restaurant may look empty when a party walks in, but if there are reservations over the next two hours the tables can not be used because they would not be available for the customer with the reservations. Thus, when someone walks in we ask, "Do you have a reservation?" We then check our tables and seat accordingly.

We have two rooms in our restaurant, the bar room and main dining room, with a total of 16 tables.

When these customers walked in the kitchen had just completed preparing the menu for the night, which includes going thru the soft and hard shell crabs for any that might have died. Within a few minutes the fish smell was out and no one else complained.

What a gem! – Cute cute cute & the food was delish! It was crowded, but friendly with really attentive service. Loved the meatloaf and the crawfish. Can't wait to go back!


Mara's Homemade (Reported Closed)

I also know what New Orleans food is suppose to at least emulate, THIS IS NOT THE PLACE i would NEVER go again .

From the crappy jalapeno cornbread to the soggy jambalaya,, the shrimp feast was horrid they were soggy spongy shrimp that are claimed to be shipped from the bayou,cooked FOUR ways and ,covered in zatarans crab boil mix , butter oil and crappy seasoning , the craw fish ettoufou was the worst thing i have eaten in my life the chef does not know how to make a proper roux or sauce , the craw fish were gray and tiny after a bite that was it for me, dont go near the specially flown in red snapper with creole mustad sauce (basically mustard and white wine )to smother this horrible quality fish ,flownin "I dont think so"

Did i mention i am also a commercial fisherman !

Last the was the the Cocky derby wearing guy with his stained shirt that he has probably worn for the previous 5 days who ran the place! With his decaying teeth and "make you want to puke smile", and total control freak attitude who had basically no control over his kitchen or wait staff. GOD HELP SYOSSET ! I totally agree with Amal D. So go if you want to pay for bad taste in you mouth for years !

Homemade fun. – I challenge you to find someone who would not consider the atmosphere charming. And the food is quite good, at reasonable prices.

Maras Homemade-just like home – I've been living in NYC since 2000. Originally I'm from South Mississippi where Crawfish is a part of our weekly diet. It took some time but my wife finally uncovered a GOLD MINE for me. Mara's is now my FAVORITE place to eat in all of NYC. The crawfish comes in a bucket with potatos, corn on the cobb and mushrooms - JUST LIKE BACK HOME!! There's even SAINTS (who dat!) Posters adorning the walls. No place is better.

Best Restaurant in the City, hands down. – I've been dining here for years. Ive read all thr reviews about the staff being rude, mean or rushing people out. Ive NEVER EVER experienced any of these.

The staff has ALWAYS been courteous to me and my wife.Ive had birthday parties here and family gatherings. Ive taken half the restaurant and Ive taken a single table by myself, Ive always enjoyed myself. Food has always been spot on (especially the BBQ). After eating BBQ here, Ive been looking for better. Ive been to Northern Cali, Miami, Orlando, Boston THIS IS STILL MY FAVE!

Prices have gone up, but considering how good it is, its always worth the splurge.

Mara also does cooking classes which seem interesting.

Will not be returning – Went there last night to meet a friend for dinner and was asked to leave after inquiring about a table and a fifteen minute seating wait (with 3 tables avail). I was told that a big party was leaving and that we would get two seats up front. Those tables were cleared and they sat others waiting who had arrived after. I asked about our seat, reminding that we were also waiting, and was told, "Probably will not be able to please you, it would be best if you would leave" by owner David. A personal first to be asked to leave a restaurant after inquiring about seating! Suggest those with interest read posts here and on other sites before deciding on Mara's- odd behavior from owners and poor service are both common if you read through comments.

Funky cajun joint specializes in crawfish. – Despite its East Village locale, Mara's homemade has an undeniable Arkansas/Louisiana authenticity. For some patrons, it may be too authentic, given how messy and anatomically challenging the crawfish dinners can be. But on the other hand, the jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, pepper cornbread and other southern specialties are well-made, cheap and arrive in copious portions. The room is as raucous and homey as a roadside joint on Highway 3, which makes it a favorite of the young crowd that lives and hangs out nearby.

Key Lime Goodness! – It's hard to find good Key Lime Pie in the City. Too often, the taste is wrong, the texture is off or worse: it tastes pre-packaged. That's why it was a delight to discover the perfect Key Lime pie at Mara's Homemade!

The taste is sweet with the right balance of key lime. The texture is firm but creamy, complimented by a thin graham crust. Best of all, there's no whipped cream or other frippery to distract you from the subtle nuances of this rare treat. It succeeds on its own, as the best pies do.

If you're in the mood for a Southern delight done right, head over to Mara's and grab a slice of Key Lime Pie. You won't be disappointed!

Smells like a public TOILET. – I can't believe this place is once again a top NYC BBQ spot. The restaurant smelled like an open sewer when my brother and I went last summer after it had just made the list. The food is horrible, the drinks weak, and the atmosphere like something out of a Third Avenue, frat-boy nightmare.

Anyone who thinks that this is good BBQ has never had it. and has no palate.

Never AGAIN!! – I do not recommend this place to anyone. It was by far the most awkward dining experience of my life. First, they couldn?t seat us right away even though we made reservations (no biggie, pretty normal). But, literally 5 minutes after we were seated, both Mara and her husband came to our table yelling at us because we had not ordered yet. On top of that, it took 20 minutes for our drinks to come, not to mention, they were brought one by one in 5 minute increments. They then proceeded to tell us that we could not leave the table or go outside to make a phone call or have a cigarette and that the next person to leave would not only not be able to come back in, but would also have the cops called on them. We were then told that we could not use the bathroom because of a ?recent theft??I don?t even know what that means I guess someone stole toilet paper? Mara and her husband both need a serious attitude adjustment. We are not guests in your home (thank God), we are paying customers, learn how to run a business. I don?t know if they treat all of their customers like this, or just parties of 12 spending over $700. Oh, and the food was just ok, nothing special at all.

BEST PO BOYS IN THE TRISTATE AREA! – Mara has inspired me to write my 1st review on CitySearch in 8 years of using the site. If you are looking for the best po boys short of going to the Washington metro area, RUN to Mara's. Being a New Orleans (N.O.) BK transplant, I have tried them at most other other New York area restaurants (Cooking with Jazz, Mardi Gras, Delta Grill, Stan's Place, Bayou, ect) and another that has since closed in Hell's Kitchen.

I'm so happy some else appreciates Gulf Coast seafood besides me (oysters from anywhere else taste totally different plus they have a bunch of green yucky stuff in them and if I get one more shrimp po boy made from breaded frozen shrimp, I'm going to beat them. then tar and feather them. That's a mortal sin in South Louisiana (LA). Mara's does it right with fresh seafood fried using corn meal/flour on a french baguette - the closest thing you can get to N.O. style french bread in NYC - at a great price especially when you consider that she imports seafood and has to have fresh bread available 7 days a week. The jambalaya wasn't bad either.

Just one more thing, her restaurant smells fine. Anyone who grew up in an area where you eat seafood frequently year round (South LA, Coastal Maine) knows you can't have fresh seafood with some odor. That's why grandma made paran clean the fresh catfish we used to catch in the backyard.

They are the most authentic Creole/Cajun restaurant, I have been to so far in the tri-state area, You will have to take a 2.5 hr flight to N.O. to get anything better.

PS - They have Abita Root Beer brewed in LA and sweetened with LA Sugar cane syrup not HFCS for all you Root Beer/Specialty Soda heads out there it's sweet n smooth.

Best Etouffe, Hurricanes & Barbecue - Friedliness Abound – We love Mara's for the great New Orleans food & barbecue. We also enjoy being there because we are always welcomed by Mara & her husband David & usually served by daughter Hannah. What more can you ask for?! This cute little restaurant serves great food that ishard to find anywhere else in the city - like crawfish boil and crawfish etouffe. One bite and it takes you back to New Orleans - pre-Katrina! The barbecue is excellent also, but we usually go there for the hurricanes and Cajun/Creole cuisines. You will never be disappointed.

So Much for "Southern Hospitality" – Upon arriving to this restaurant, we were rushed to sit down because another party was coming to take our place at 7pm. we arrived around 5:15pm. The woman seating and serving us was very nasty. whom we believed to be Mara herself. The food was authentic according to my good friend from New Orleans who was in our party, but extremely overpriced. Mara acted like it was a chore to wait on our party of 8 and tried to rush everything along. I did witness her abusing one of her employees by slamming the walk in freezer door in his face and yelling at him. This is definately a family-own/run business. When it came time for dessert Mara rushed us and said that we could not look at the menu but were welcome to take a whole Key Lime Pie home for $15. Every dessert someone in our party mentioned Mara replied with. "Yes, TO GO!" All in all it was a horrible experience and I don't care how authentic the food was, the awful service will keep me from going back to Mara's Homemade. Oh, one last note. we paid mostly in cash. our bill for 8 people came out to over $400 and we put in $333 cash and the rest on one person's credit card. Mara came back to the table with the receipt for the card to sign reflecting that only $313 in cash was given. The cash was counted a number of times and was definately $333, somehow $20 of our cash payment didn't make it from our table to the register. I don't understand how this place has so many great reviews. don't believe them! This is the truth!

Best Crab Fingers, Great Seafood and BBQ – My husband and I have been coming to Mara's for years. As a native NYer, I've seen family owned and historic buisnesses get shut down and replaced by fashionable- yet terrible- overpriced establishments.

Mara's is the real deal, a great mom and pop restaurant with family recipies you will not find from any celebrity chef. You might have to wait a little longer (small family wait-staff), but it's well worth it. They work hard and take pride in getting the best seafood from Fulton market.

The only problem is that you will be tempted to fill up on the great assortment of appetizers before you even get to the entree, and then get so stuffed you can't move at the end of the meal.

Personal faves: Crab fingers (must dip bread in marinade), artichoke dip, pulled pork and the beignets.

Seasonal specialties: soft shell crabs, crawfish and steamers.

* I'd also like to comment on the bad reviews- this ISN't a Yuppie East Village restaurant with a professional kiss-your-tuchus wait staff and interior design- Mara and her family are nice, but if you're 20 minutes late for your reservation, they're not going to bend over backwords to seat you and delay the next party's reservation after you. The food isn't sitting around waiting to be microwaved for your order, so yeah, you might have to wait till it's cooked.

Amazing BBQ in NYC – I'm a first time writer, but thoughtful and objective. The meal I had at Mara's Homemade was one of the top 10 best meals I've ever tasted. I'm not an expert on BBQ, but to the chagrin of my wife and doctor it is what I would choose to eat just about every night. Closer to the late Pies N' Thighs than Blue Smoke in atmosphere. I ordered the pulled pork platter - a delicious smoked meat plate with a well-crafted rub. Although it was equally scrumptious, I was able to use as little sauce as I wanted, as it came on the side - a big plus. The meat was so moist, it really didn't need sauce at all. The homemade sweet tea tasted more like candy than tea, and there was no weak link, with perfect corn pudding and potato salad. For dessert, I had Bluegrass Pie - a chocolate pecan bourbon masterpiece in a graham cracker crust.

The staff is a trip. I found them to be pretty New-York-straight-forward. Some people interpret this as "poor customer service," but I strongly disagree. Mara was a sweetheart who was short staffed the night we went, but the food came out promptly and her amazing deadpan humor kept us laughing. Strongly recommended if you like BBQ and characters.

Average Ribs, Good Service – I ordered the rib combo (half raack St. Louis, half raack baby back). They are served with the sauce on the side, which I fully endorse. Why drown the ribs with sauce? While the ribs have a somewhat smoky taste and are very tender, they are not very tasty. I'm not sure if it's the way they are seasoned. But with a dousing of BBQ sauce, they were somewhat better . although I believe ribs should be tasty without the sauce. Comparing with other BBQ places in the city, this was quite avg/mediocre. Smoked corn on the cob and mashed potatoes were interesting.

The place is very small. The service was fine, they are very nice friendly people. On a warm summer night, the front door was open and that affected the A/C.

Its ok – In reading the many complaints about service, I would have to disagree based on my one (and probably only) time at Mara's. The wait staff was pleasant and friendly but it was the food and the portions that earned my three star rating. I always associate southern food with big, hearty portions and my friend and I opened our mouths in surprise when we saw how few pieces we had on our Fisherman's Platter. We also had the fried okra and the jambalaya, which we didn't finish even though I wasn't very full. I did notice the smell of seafood as soon as I walked into the restaurant but it wasn't malodorous to the point that I wanted to walk out. In summary, the food at Mara's provided my meal for that evening but it was far from a culinary experience.

Good food, but hardly worth it! – Although the food at Mara's was mostly excellent and some of the only authentic cajun/southern food I've found in NYC, the rude service ruined our experience. We had reservations. Two of our party were running late and after only about 10-15 minutes after we arrived, they took their chairs, saying the needed space for another party. Because our party was mostly young (in our 20's) it seemed the staff assumed the worst about us from the beginning. They demanded that we order immediately, before we'd really had a chance to read through the menu. Some members of our party wanted to order multiple side dishes instead of entres, and even though the cost came out to about the same, the staff accused us of trying to bankrupt them! They told us we were not spending enough money (we spent about $20 per person) and made my friends extremely uncomfortable. If they had an official minimum per-person charge, we would have paid it, but instead, they just decided to spring on the pressure when we were ordering. Moreover, we would have spent more money anyway, but they were all out of a number of menu items we tried to order and our options were very limited. It also took 20 minutes to get them to bring us a glass of water, and the space was extremely cramped and noisy. We had originally planned to stay for dessert, but the service was so intolerable we ate and left as quickly as possible and just went to a diner so our late friends, who had not been allowed to join us, could get something to eat.

That said, the food was mostly excellent. Although some of the vegetables were very bland (especially the fried okra), I enjoyed the sampler plate immensely. It included very flavorful red beans and rice as well as excellent jambalaya with real andouille sausage -- a rarity outside of Louisiana. If you really crave authentic Louisiana food in New York, it might be worth braving the staff, but I would recommend taking your business elsewhere!

You get friendlier service at the DMV – I can't believe how we were treated. We were told we couldn't have any desserts that were warm because they needed our table for another party coming in. Then when we asked for change for a $20 they refused to until we paid for the entire check first saying they were afraid that we would run out on the check. One of our party is pregnant and all of us ranged in ages from our late 20's to early 40's and the tiny restaurant had their cashier right by the only exit.

Delicious BBQ – In a city where either overpriced or mediocre BBQ restaurants are a the norm, it's refreshing to find a delicious place that's reasonably priced. It's tricky though, because it's easy to get caught up in the options that by the time dessert and after-dinner bourbon come around, you've run up quite the bill. The selection of unusual Louisiana draft beers doesn't hurt either. Mara herself served us and took the time to recommend food/sauce combinations from a selection of condiments that she makes herself. The Ultimate Combo plate is great for sharing and includes a bit of everything. The mac n' cheese is especially dazzling. The brisket, fabulous. The interior is a bit tight and the decor strange but in the low light of the evening can be surprisingly romantic. We LOVE this place.

really unpleasant – The first thing that I noticed was the smell. I do not mind the smell of fresh fish or seafood but this was neither. It smelled like a clogged drain pipe. The food tasted like the recipes were clipped from a bad womens magazine. I wonder If "Mara" knows what Homemade means. Adding creole seasoning to store bought mayo does not make a homemade remoulade . The chicken gumbo tasted decent but was obviously made from a concentrated chicken base. The Barbecue was very dry and tasted like it had been reheated several times. Mara's has food like grandma makes, if grandma works for Stouffer's or Lean Cuisine. There are a lot of great Cajun places in New York so do not waste time or money at this place.

More Than The Great Food - Mara's Makes Us Feel Like Family – Mara's is our favorite place in all of Manhattan for a relaxing, comforting and truly satisfying meal. Unlike so many sterile, over-designed places in NYC, Mara's feels like you've been invited to a friendly neighbor's house for a feast of real Southern cooking. David at the bar always remembers our regular drinks and has introduced us to new favorites, and Mara offers hugs and the solace of her real home-style cooking to soothe our nerves after a busy work week. Nothing is frozen, hastily prepared or microwaved-to-death in her kitchen: the crawfish and alligator are the freshest we've eaten since our last New Orleans visit, and the BBQ is moist and tender with a perfect smoky flavor. We love the spicy shrimp creole, which is made from the old family recipe of David's grandmother. Everything is made with care and love, from the sublime BBQ sauce to the amazing corn pudding to the absolutely sinful desserts. We've seen heads turn at other tables as the smell of the dark chocolate sauce hitting our warm chocolate souffle fills the room. Don't let the strangely negative reviews here put you off - we honestly haven't had a single bad experience of any kind at Mara's, and we eat here almost every week. Their prices are entirely reasonable for the portion sizes, freshness and quality ingredients of the food. Even at their busiest, we've never had cause to complain and our food always arrived perfectly prepared. One night David seemed oddly disappointed by the cornbread we were served (it tasted great to us) and he popped into the kitchen, returning with a dish of shrimp etouffee that he poured over the cornbread, elevating the already satisfying side dish to the point of sheer decadence. Mara's is a true gem among all the fool's gold of Manhattan restaurants.

TAKE OUT ONLY- if you must. – This is a great example of a place that could be good if somebody else was running it. They send out mass emails at least weekly BEGGING you to come in.. threatening that they will have to close if you do not..( how inviting!! ) One of the most recent emails asked customers to email Mara with suggestions on how they could get people to start coming back in again..

DO THEY NOT READ CITY SEARCH?? Maybe they should spend more time considering all of the reviews below mine, instead of posting defensive responses to each of them. As a person who has given up on this place, here is why take out is the only option here: the place smells like mildew (they say it is fish, I disagree- either way- it stinks, people are complaining- figure it out, FIX IT.) The prices are very high for dishes with a sprinkling of frozen popcorn shrimp on top (the Creole, etc..) The atmosphere is like eating in a fast food place (florescent lights, limited character.) But the main problem for us has been the attitude of the very over whelmed family who owns this place.

There used to be a girl there that we loved, but she seems to have realized she could do better. Only Mara remains, and she just doesn't understand customer service. We have actually seen Mara and her husband (?) yelling at each other in the middle of the "dining room" as if they were alone at home. It was so awkward that we haven't returned.

So do yourself a favor and if you must try this particular BBQ place. order take out.

Avoid unless you're looking for some real authentic Southern Hospitality – This is a good one. So four dark-skinned Indian folk walk into Mara's Homemade on a weeknight, I think a Tuesday. Mara's in the main entrance room, unpacking boxes, restaurant supplies, or something at one of the tables, and it reeks of old fish. "Hi. table for four," we say. Mara says "Do you have a reservation?" Us, "no." She's like "Hold on a minute." A man storms in shortly therefater (I suppose her hubby), "May I help you?" in a loud, disturbed voice, as if we didn't belong there. Before we answer, Mara butts in. " Table of four. NO RESERVATIONS." Mind you, the only ones in there were a family of light skinned folk in one of the secluded back rooms. Two or three other back room tables are empty. Mara finally leads us to a table in the fish stinking main room, where she's unpacking boxes on the next table. We politely decline, and proceed to walk out, "Um, Thank you but that's alright." She screams at us, "Um, What's wroong with this. " So apparently, even on a street teeming with Indian restaurants, in the heart of New York, you can find some good ol' Southern hospitality.

Thanks for keeping it real, Mara's Homemade.

This is a horribly dumpy east village spot apparently obsessed with reservations. Avoid.

The color of someones skin does not make any difference to us. The night that this party (which was NOT a Tuesday, since we are closed) came in we were booked with reservations. A restaurant may look empty when a party walks in, but if there are reservations over the next two hours the tables can not be used because they would not be available for the customer with the reservations. Thus, when someone walks in we ask, "Do you have a reservation?" We then check our tables and seat accordingly.

We have two rooms in our restaurant, the bar room and main dining room, with a total of 16 tables.

When these customers walked in the kitchen had just completed preparing the menu for the night, which includes going thru the soft and hard shell crabs for any that might have died. Within a few minutes the fish smell was out and no one else complained.

What a gem! – Cute cute cute & the food was delish! It was crowded, but friendly with really attentive service. Loved the meatloaf and the crawfish. Can't wait to go back!


Mara's Homemade (Reported Closed)

I also know what New Orleans food is suppose to at least emulate, THIS IS NOT THE PLACE i would NEVER go again .

From the crappy jalapeno cornbread to the soggy jambalaya,, the shrimp feast was horrid they were soggy spongy shrimp that are claimed to be shipped from the bayou,cooked FOUR ways and ,covered in zatarans crab boil mix , butter oil and crappy seasoning , the craw fish ettoufou was the worst thing i have eaten in my life the chef does not know how to make a proper roux or sauce , the craw fish were gray and tiny after a bite that was it for me, dont go near the specially flown in red snapper with creole mustad sauce (basically mustard and white wine )to smother this horrible quality fish ,flownin "I dont think so"

Did i mention i am also a commercial fisherman !

Last the was the the Cocky derby wearing guy with his stained shirt that he has probably worn for the previous 5 days who ran the place! With his decaying teeth and "make you want to puke smile", and total control freak attitude who had basically no control over his kitchen or wait staff. GOD HELP SYOSSET ! I totally agree with Amal D. So go if you want to pay for bad taste in you mouth for years !

Homemade fun. – I challenge you to find someone who would not consider the atmosphere charming. And the food is quite good, at reasonable prices.

Maras Homemade-just like home – I've been living in NYC since 2000. Originally I'm from South Mississippi where Crawfish is a part of our weekly diet. It took some time but my wife finally uncovered a GOLD MINE for me. Mara's is now my FAVORITE place to eat in all of NYC. The crawfish comes in a bucket with potatos, corn on the cobb and mushrooms - JUST LIKE BACK HOME!! There's even SAINTS (who dat!) Posters adorning the walls. No place is better.

Best Restaurant in the City, hands down. – I've been dining here for years. Ive read all thr reviews about the staff being rude, mean or rushing people out. Ive NEVER EVER experienced any of these.

The staff has ALWAYS been courteous to me and my wife.Ive had birthday parties here and family gatherings. Ive taken half the restaurant and Ive taken a single table by myself, Ive always enjoyed myself. Food has always been spot on (especially the BBQ). After eating BBQ here, Ive been looking for better. Ive been to Northern Cali, Miami, Orlando, Boston THIS IS STILL MY FAVE!

Prices have gone up, but considering how good it is, its always worth the splurge.

Mara also does cooking classes which seem interesting.

Will not be returning – Went there last night to meet a friend for dinner and was asked to leave after inquiring about a table and a fifteen minute seating wait (with 3 tables avail). I was told that a big party was leaving and that we would get two seats up front. Those tables were cleared and they sat others waiting who had arrived after. I asked about our seat, reminding that we were also waiting, and was told, "Probably will not be able to please you, it would be best if you would leave" by owner David. A personal first to be asked to leave a restaurant after inquiring about seating! Suggest those with interest read posts here and on other sites before deciding on Mara's- odd behavior from owners and poor service are both common if you read through comments.

Funky cajun joint specializes in crawfish. – Despite its East Village locale, Mara's homemade has an undeniable Arkansas/Louisiana authenticity. For some patrons, it may be too authentic, given how messy and anatomically challenging the crawfish dinners can be. But on the other hand, the jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, pepper cornbread and other southern specialties are well-made, cheap and arrive in copious portions. The room is as raucous and homey as a roadside joint on Highway 3, which makes it a favorite of the young crowd that lives and hangs out nearby.

Key Lime Goodness! – It's hard to find good Key Lime Pie in the City. Too often, the taste is wrong, the texture is off or worse: it tastes pre-packaged. That's why it was a delight to discover the perfect Key Lime pie at Mara's Homemade!

The taste is sweet with the right balance of key lime. The texture is firm but creamy, complimented by a thin graham crust. Best of all, there's no whipped cream or other frippery to distract you from the subtle nuances of this rare treat. It succeeds on its own, as the best pies do.

If you're in the mood for a Southern delight done right, head over to Mara's and grab a slice of Key Lime Pie. You won't be disappointed!

Smells like a public TOILET. – I can't believe this place is once again a top NYC BBQ spot. The restaurant smelled like an open sewer when my brother and I went last summer after it had just made the list. The food is horrible, the drinks weak, and the atmosphere like something out of a Third Avenue, frat-boy nightmare.

Anyone who thinks that this is good BBQ has never had it. and has no palate.

Never AGAIN!! – I do not recommend this place to anyone. It was by far the most awkward dining experience of my life. First, they couldn?t seat us right away even though we made reservations (no biggie, pretty normal). But, literally 5 minutes after we were seated, both Mara and her husband came to our table yelling at us because we had not ordered yet. On top of that, it took 20 minutes for our drinks to come, not to mention, they were brought one by one in 5 minute increments. They then proceeded to tell us that we could not leave the table or go outside to make a phone call or have a cigarette and that the next person to leave would not only not be able to come back in, but would also have the cops called on them. We were then told that we could not use the bathroom because of a ?recent theft??I don?t even know what that means I guess someone stole toilet paper? Mara and her husband both need a serious attitude adjustment. We are not guests in your home (thank God), we are paying customers, learn how to run a business. I don?t know if they treat all of their customers like this, or just parties of 12 spending over $700. Oh, and the food was just ok, nothing special at all.

BEST PO BOYS IN THE TRISTATE AREA! – Mara has inspired me to write my 1st review on CitySearch in 8 years of using the site. If you are looking for the best po boys short of going to the Washington metro area, RUN to Mara's. Being a New Orleans (N.O.) BK transplant, I have tried them at most other other New York area restaurants (Cooking with Jazz, Mardi Gras, Delta Grill, Stan's Place, Bayou, ect) and another that has since closed in Hell's Kitchen.

I'm so happy some else appreciates Gulf Coast seafood besides me (oysters from anywhere else taste totally different plus they have a bunch of green yucky stuff in them and if I get one more shrimp po boy made from breaded frozen shrimp, I'm going to beat them. then tar and feather them. That's a mortal sin in South Louisiana (LA). Mara's does it right with fresh seafood fried using corn meal/flour on a french baguette - the closest thing you can get to N.O. style french bread in NYC - at a great price especially when you consider that she imports seafood and has to have fresh bread available 7 days a week. The jambalaya wasn't bad either.

Just one more thing, her restaurant smells fine. Anyone who grew up in an area where you eat seafood frequently year round (South LA, Coastal Maine) knows you can't have fresh seafood with some odor. That's why grandma made paran clean the fresh catfish we used to catch in the backyard.

They are the most authentic Creole/Cajun restaurant, I have been to so far in the tri-state area, You will have to take a 2.5 hr flight to N.O. to get anything better.

PS - They have Abita Root Beer brewed in LA and sweetened with LA Sugar cane syrup not HFCS for all you Root Beer/Specialty Soda heads out there it's sweet n smooth.

Best Etouffe, Hurricanes & Barbecue - Friedliness Abound – We love Mara's for the great New Orleans food & barbecue. We also enjoy being there because we are always welcomed by Mara & her husband David & usually served by daughter Hannah. What more can you ask for?! This cute little restaurant serves great food that ishard to find anywhere else in the city - like crawfish boil and crawfish etouffe. One bite and it takes you back to New Orleans - pre-Katrina! The barbecue is excellent also, but we usually go there for the hurricanes and Cajun/Creole cuisines. You will never be disappointed.

So Much for "Southern Hospitality" – Upon arriving to this restaurant, we were rushed to sit down because another party was coming to take our place at 7pm. we arrived around 5:15pm. The woman seating and serving us was very nasty. whom we believed to be Mara herself. The food was authentic according to my good friend from New Orleans who was in our party, but extremely overpriced. Mara acted like it was a chore to wait on our party of 8 and tried to rush everything along. I did witness her abusing one of her employees by slamming the walk in freezer door in his face and yelling at him. This is definately a family-own/run business. When it came time for dessert Mara rushed us and said that we could not look at the menu but were welcome to take a whole Key Lime Pie home for $15. Every dessert someone in our party mentioned Mara replied with. "Yes, TO GO!" All in all it was a horrible experience and I don't care how authentic the food was, the awful service will keep me from going back to Mara's Homemade. Oh, one last note. we paid mostly in cash. our bill for 8 people came out to over $400 and we put in $333 cash and the rest on one person's credit card. Mara came back to the table with the receipt for the card to sign reflecting that only $313 in cash was given. The cash was counted a number of times and was definately $333, somehow $20 of our cash payment didn't make it from our table to the register. I don't understand how this place has so many great reviews. don't believe them! This is the truth!

Best Crab Fingers, Great Seafood and BBQ – My husband and I have been coming to Mara's for years. As a native NYer, I've seen family owned and historic buisnesses get shut down and replaced by fashionable- yet terrible- overpriced establishments.

Mara's is the real deal, a great mom and pop restaurant with family recipies you will not find from any celebrity chef. You might have to wait a little longer (small family wait-staff), but it's well worth it. They work hard and take pride in getting the best seafood from Fulton market.

The only problem is that you will be tempted to fill up on the great assortment of appetizers before you even get to the entree, and then get so stuffed you can't move at the end of the meal.

Personal faves: Crab fingers (must dip bread in marinade), artichoke dip, pulled pork and the beignets.

Seasonal specialties: soft shell crabs, crawfish and steamers.

* I'd also like to comment on the bad reviews- this ISN't a Yuppie East Village restaurant with a professional kiss-your-tuchus wait staff and interior design- Mara and her family are nice, but if you're 20 minutes late for your reservation, they're not going to bend over backwords to seat you and delay the next party's reservation after you. The food isn't sitting around waiting to be microwaved for your order, so yeah, you might have to wait till it's cooked.

Amazing BBQ in NYC – I'm a first time writer, but thoughtful and objective. The meal I had at Mara's Homemade was one of the top 10 best meals I've ever tasted. I'm not an expert on BBQ, but to the chagrin of my wife and doctor it is what I would choose to eat just about every night. Closer to the late Pies N' Thighs than Blue Smoke in atmosphere. I ordered the pulled pork platter - a delicious smoked meat plate with a well-crafted rub. Although it was equally scrumptious, I was able to use as little sauce as I wanted, as it came on the side - a big plus. The meat was so moist, it really didn't need sauce at all. The homemade sweet tea tasted more like candy than tea, and there was no weak link, with perfect corn pudding and potato salad. For dessert, I had Bluegrass Pie - a chocolate pecan bourbon masterpiece in a graham cracker crust.

The staff is a trip. I found them to be pretty New-York-straight-forward. Some people interpret this as "poor customer service," but I strongly disagree. Mara was a sweetheart who was short staffed the night we went, but the food came out promptly and her amazing deadpan humor kept us laughing. Strongly recommended if you like BBQ and characters.

Average Ribs, Good Service – I ordered the rib combo (half raack St. Louis, half raack baby back). They are served with the sauce on the side, which I fully endorse. Why drown the ribs with sauce? While the ribs have a somewhat smoky taste and are very tender, they are not very tasty. I'm not sure if it's the way they are seasoned. But with a dousing of BBQ sauce, they were somewhat better . although I believe ribs should be tasty without the sauce. Comparing with other BBQ places in the city, this was quite avg/mediocre. Smoked corn on the cob and mashed potatoes were interesting.

The place is very small. The service was fine, they are very nice friendly people. On a warm summer night, the front door was open and that affected the A/C.

Its ok – In reading the many complaints about service, I would have to disagree based on my one (and probably only) time at Mara's. The wait staff was pleasant and friendly but it was the food and the portions that earned my three star rating. I always associate southern food with big, hearty portions and my friend and I opened our mouths in surprise when we saw how few pieces we had on our Fisherman's Platter. We also had the fried okra and the jambalaya, which we didn't finish even though I wasn't very full. I did notice the smell of seafood as soon as I walked into the restaurant but it wasn't malodorous to the point that I wanted to walk out. In summary, the food at Mara's provided my meal for that evening but it was far from a culinary experience.

Good food, but hardly worth it! – Although the food at Mara's was mostly excellent and some of the only authentic cajun/southern food I've found in NYC, the rude service ruined our experience. We had reservations. Two of our party were running late and after only about 10-15 minutes after we arrived, they took their chairs, saying the needed space for another party. Because our party was mostly young (in our 20's) it seemed the staff assumed the worst about us from the beginning. They demanded that we order immediately, before we'd really had a chance to read through the menu. Some members of our party wanted to order multiple side dishes instead of entres, and even though the cost came out to about the same, the staff accused us of trying to bankrupt them! They told us we were not spending enough money (we spent about $20 per person) and made my friends extremely uncomfortable. If they had an official minimum per-person charge, we would have paid it, but instead, they just decided to spring on the pressure when we were ordering. Moreover, we would have spent more money anyway, but they were all out of a number of menu items we tried to order and our options were very limited. It also took 20 minutes to get them to bring us a glass of water, and the space was extremely cramped and noisy. We had originally planned to stay for dessert, but the service was so intolerable we ate and left as quickly as possible and just went to a diner so our late friends, who had not been allowed to join us, could get something to eat.

That said, the food was mostly excellent. Although some of the vegetables were very bland (especially the fried okra), I enjoyed the sampler plate immensely. It included very flavorful red beans and rice as well as excellent jambalaya with real andouille sausage -- a rarity outside of Louisiana. If you really crave authentic Louisiana food in New York, it might be worth braving the staff, but I would recommend taking your business elsewhere!

You get friendlier service at the DMV – I can't believe how we were treated. We were told we couldn't have any desserts that were warm because they needed our table for another party coming in. Then when we asked for change for a $20 they refused to until we paid for the entire check first saying they were afraid that we would run out on the check. One of our party is pregnant and all of us ranged in ages from our late 20's to early 40's and the tiny restaurant had their cashier right by the only exit.

Delicious BBQ – In a city where either overpriced or mediocre BBQ restaurants are a the norm, it's refreshing to find a delicious place that's reasonably priced. It's tricky though, because it's easy to get caught up in the options that by the time dessert and after-dinner bourbon come around, you've run up quite the bill. The selection of unusual Louisiana draft beers doesn't hurt either. Mara herself served us and took the time to recommend food/sauce combinations from a selection of condiments that she makes herself. The Ultimate Combo plate is great for sharing and includes a bit of everything. The mac n' cheese is especially dazzling. The brisket, fabulous. The interior is a bit tight and the decor strange but in the low light of the evening can be surprisingly romantic. We LOVE this place.

really unpleasant – The first thing that I noticed was the smell. I do not mind the smell of fresh fish or seafood but this was neither. It smelled like a clogged drain pipe. The food tasted like the recipes were clipped from a bad womens magazine. I wonder If "Mara" knows what Homemade means. Adding creole seasoning to store bought mayo does not make a homemade remoulade . The chicken gumbo tasted decent but was obviously made from a concentrated chicken base. The Barbecue was very dry and tasted like it had been reheated several times. Mara's has food like grandma makes, if grandma works for Stouffer's or Lean Cuisine. There are a lot of great Cajun places in New York so do not waste time or money at this place.

More Than The Great Food - Mara's Makes Us Feel Like Family – Mara's is our favorite place in all of Manhattan for a relaxing, comforting and truly satisfying meal. Unlike so many sterile, over-designed places in NYC, Mara's feels like you've been invited to a friendly neighbor's house for a feast of real Southern cooking. David at the bar always remembers our regular drinks and has introduced us to new favorites, and Mara offers hugs and the solace of her real home-style cooking to soothe our nerves after a busy work week. Nothing is frozen, hastily prepared or microwaved-to-death in her kitchen: the crawfish and alligator are the freshest we've eaten since our last New Orleans visit, and the BBQ is moist and tender with a perfect smoky flavor. We love the spicy shrimp creole, which is made from the old family recipe of David's grandmother. Everything is made with care and love, from the sublime BBQ sauce to the amazing corn pudding to the absolutely sinful desserts. We've seen heads turn at other tables as the smell of the dark chocolate sauce hitting our warm chocolate souffle fills the room. Don't let the strangely negative reviews here put you off - we honestly haven't had a single bad experience of any kind at Mara's, and we eat here almost every week. Their prices are entirely reasonable for the portion sizes, freshness and quality ingredients of the food. Even at their busiest, we've never had cause to complain and our food always arrived perfectly prepared. One night David seemed oddly disappointed by the cornbread we were served (it tasted great to us) and he popped into the kitchen, returning with a dish of shrimp etouffee that he poured over the cornbread, elevating the already satisfying side dish to the point of sheer decadence. Mara's is a true gem among all the fool's gold of Manhattan restaurants.

TAKE OUT ONLY- if you must. – This is a great example of a place that could be good if somebody else was running it. They send out mass emails at least weekly BEGGING you to come in.. threatening that they will have to close if you do not..( how inviting!! ) One of the most recent emails asked customers to email Mara with suggestions on how they could get people to start coming back in again..

DO THEY NOT READ CITY SEARCH?? Maybe they should spend more time considering all of the reviews below mine, instead of posting defensive responses to each of them. As a person who has given up on this place, here is why take out is the only option here: the place smells like mildew (they say it is fish, I disagree- either way- it stinks, people are complaining- figure it out, FIX IT.) The prices are very high for dishes with a sprinkling of frozen popcorn shrimp on top (the Creole, etc..) The atmosphere is like eating in a fast food place (florescent lights, limited character.) But the main problem for us has been the attitude of the very over whelmed family who owns this place.

There used to be a girl there that we loved, but she seems to have realized she could do better. Only Mara remains, and she just doesn't understand customer service. We have actually seen Mara and her husband (?) yelling at each other in the middle of the "dining room" as if they were alone at home. It was so awkward that we haven't returned.

So do yourself a favor and if you must try this particular BBQ place. order take out.

Avoid unless you're looking for some real authentic Southern Hospitality – This is a good one. So four dark-skinned Indian folk walk into Mara's Homemade on a weeknight, I think a Tuesday. Mara's in the main entrance room, unpacking boxes, restaurant supplies, or something at one of the tables, and it reeks of old fish. "Hi. table for four," we say. Mara says "Do you have a reservation?" Us, "no." She's like "Hold on a minute." A man storms in shortly therefater (I suppose her hubby), "May I help you?" in a loud, disturbed voice, as if we didn't belong there. Before we answer, Mara butts in. " Table of four. NO RESERVATIONS." Mind you, the only ones in there were a family of light skinned folk in one of the secluded back rooms. Two or three other back room tables are empty. Mara finally leads us to a table in the fish stinking main room, where she's unpacking boxes on the next table. We politely decline, and proceed to walk out, "Um, Thank you but that's alright." She screams at us, "Um, What's wroong with this. " So apparently, even on a street teeming with Indian restaurants, in the heart of New York, you can find some good ol' Southern hospitality.

Thanks for keeping it real, Mara's Homemade.

This is a horribly dumpy east village spot apparently obsessed with reservations. Avoid.

The color of someones skin does not make any difference to us. The night that this party (which was NOT a Tuesday, since we are closed) came in we were booked with reservations. A restaurant may look empty when a party walks in, but if there are reservations over the next two hours the tables can not be used because they would not be available for the customer with the reservations. Thus, when someone walks in we ask, "Do you have a reservation?" We then check our tables and seat accordingly.

We have two rooms in our restaurant, the bar room and main dining room, with a total of 16 tables.

When these customers walked in the kitchen had just completed preparing the menu for the night, which includes going thru the soft and hard shell crabs for any that might have died. Within a few minutes the fish smell was out and no one else complained.

What a gem! – Cute cute cute & the food was delish! It was crowded, but friendly with really attentive service. Loved the meatloaf and the crawfish. Can't wait to go back!


Mara's Homemade (Reported Closed)

I also know what New Orleans food is suppose to at least emulate, THIS IS NOT THE PLACE i would NEVER go again .

From the crappy jalapeno cornbread to the soggy jambalaya,, the shrimp feast was horrid they were soggy spongy shrimp that are claimed to be shipped from the bayou,cooked FOUR ways and ,covered in zatarans crab boil mix , butter oil and crappy seasoning , the craw fish ettoufou was the worst thing i have eaten in my life the chef does not know how to make a proper roux or sauce , the craw fish were gray and tiny after a bite that was it for me, dont go near the specially flown in red snapper with creole mustad sauce (basically mustard and white wine )to smother this horrible quality fish ,flownin "I dont think so"

Did i mention i am also a commercial fisherman !

Last the was the the Cocky derby wearing guy with his stained shirt that he has probably worn for the previous 5 days who ran the place! With his decaying teeth and "make you want to puke smile", and total control freak attitude who had basically no control over his kitchen or wait staff. GOD HELP SYOSSET ! I totally agree with Amal D. So go if you want to pay for bad taste in you mouth for years !

Homemade fun. – I challenge you to find someone who would not consider the atmosphere charming. And the food is quite good, at reasonable prices.

Maras Homemade-just like home – I've been living in NYC since 2000. Originally I'm from South Mississippi where Crawfish is a part of our weekly diet. It took some time but my wife finally uncovered a GOLD MINE for me. Mara's is now my FAVORITE place to eat in all of NYC. The crawfish comes in a bucket with potatos, corn on the cobb and mushrooms - JUST LIKE BACK HOME!! There's even SAINTS (who dat!) Posters adorning the walls. No place is better.

Best Restaurant in the City, hands down. – I've been dining here for years. Ive read all thr reviews about the staff being rude, mean or rushing people out. Ive NEVER EVER experienced any of these.

The staff has ALWAYS been courteous to me and my wife.Ive had birthday parties here and family gatherings. Ive taken half the restaurant and Ive taken a single table by myself, Ive always enjoyed myself. Food has always been spot on (especially the BBQ). After eating BBQ here, Ive been looking for better. Ive been to Northern Cali, Miami, Orlando, Boston THIS IS STILL MY FAVE!

Prices have gone up, but considering how good it is, its always worth the splurge.

Mara also does cooking classes which seem interesting.

Will not be returning – Went there last night to meet a friend for dinner and was asked to leave after inquiring about a table and a fifteen minute seating wait (with 3 tables avail). I was told that a big party was leaving and that we would get two seats up front. Those tables were cleared and they sat others waiting who had arrived after. I asked about our seat, reminding that we were also waiting, and was told, "Probably will not be able to please you, it would be best if you would leave" by owner David. A personal first to be asked to leave a restaurant after inquiring about seating! Suggest those with interest read posts here and on other sites before deciding on Mara's- odd behavior from owners and poor service are both common if you read through comments.

Funky cajun joint specializes in crawfish. – Despite its East Village locale, Mara's homemade has an undeniable Arkansas/Louisiana authenticity. For some patrons, it may be too authentic, given how messy and anatomically challenging the crawfish dinners can be. But on the other hand, the jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, pepper cornbread and other southern specialties are well-made, cheap and arrive in copious portions. The room is as raucous and homey as a roadside joint on Highway 3, which makes it a favorite of the young crowd that lives and hangs out nearby.

Key Lime Goodness! – It's hard to find good Key Lime Pie in the City. Too often, the taste is wrong, the texture is off or worse: it tastes pre-packaged. That's why it was a delight to discover the perfect Key Lime pie at Mara's Homemade!

The taste is sweet with the right balance of key lime. The texture is firm but creamy, complimented by a thin graham crust. Best of all, there's no whipped cream or other frippery to distract you from the subtle nuances of this rare treat. It succeeds on its own, as the best pies do.

If you're in the mood for a Southern delight done right, head over to Mara's and grab a slice of Key Lime Pie. You won't be disappointed!

Smells like a public TOILET. – I can't believe this place is once again a top NYC BBQ spot. The restaurant smelled like an open sewer when my brother and I went last summer after it had just made the list. The food is horrible, the drinks weak, and the atmosphere like something out of a Third Avenue, frat-boy nightmare.

Anyone who thinks that this is good BBQ has never had it. and has no palate.

Never AGAIN!! – I do not recommend this place to anyone. It was by far the most awkward dining experience of my life. First, they couldn?t seat us right away even though we made reservations (no biggie, pretty normal). But, literally 5 minutes after we were seated, both Mara and her husband came to our table yelling at us because we had not ordered yet. On top of that, it took 20 minutes for our drinks to come, not to mention, they were brought one by one in 5 minute increments. They then proceeded to tell us that we could not leave the table or go outside to make a phone call or have a cigarette and that the next person to leave would not only not be able to come back in, but would also have the cops called on them. We were then told that we could not use the bathroom because of a ?recent theft??I don?t even know what that means I guess someone stole toilet paper? Mara and her husband both need a serious attitude adjustment. We are not guests in your home (thank God), we are paying customers, learn how to run a business. I don?t know if they treat all of their customers like this, or just parties of 12 spending over $700. Oh, and the food was just ok, nothing special at all.

BEST PO BOYS IN THE TRISTATE AREA! – Mara has inspired me to write my 1st review on CitySearch in 8 years of using the site. If you are looking for the best po boys short of going to the Washington metro area, RUN to Mara's. Being a New Orleans (N.O.) BK transplant, I have tried them at most other other New York area restaurants (Cooking with Jazz, Mardi Gras, Delta Grill, Stan's Place, Bayou, ect) and another that has since closed in Hell's Kitchen.

I'm so happy some else appreciates Gulf Coast seafood besides me (oysters from anywhere else taste totally different plus they have a bunch of green yucky stuff in them and if I get one more shrimp po boy made from breaded frozen shrimp, I'm going to beat them. then tar and feather them. That's a mortal sin in South Louisiana (LA). Mara's does it right with fresh seafood fried using corn meal/flour on a french baguette - the closest thing you can get to N.O. style french bread in NYC - at a great price especially when you consider that she imports seafood and has to have fresh bread available 7 days a week. The jambalaya wasn't bad either.

Just one more thing, her restaurant smells fine. Anyone who grew up in an area where you eat seafood frequently year round (South LA, Coastal Maine) knows you can't have fresh seafood with some odor. That's why grandma made paran clean the fresh catfish we used to catch in the backyard.

They are the most authentic Creole/Cajun restaurant, I have been to so far in the tri-state area, You will have to take a 2.5 hr flight to N.O. to get anything better.

PS - They have Abita Root Beer brewed in LA and sweetened with LA Sugar cane syrup not HFCS for all you Root Beer/Specialty Soda heads out there it's sweet n smooth.

Best Etouffe, Hurricanes & Barbecue - Friedliness Abound – We love Mara's for the great New Orleans food & barbecue. We also enjoy being there because we are always welcomed by Mara & her husband David & usually served by daughter Hannah. What more can you ask for?! This cute little restaurant serves great food that ishard to find anywhere else in the city - like crawfish boil and crawfish etouffe. One bite and it takes you back to New Orleans - pre-Katrina! The barbecue is excellent also, but we usually go there for the hurricanes and Cajun/Creole cuisines. You will never be disappointed.

So Much for "Southern Hospitality" – Upon arriving to this restaurant, we were rushed to sit down because another party was coming to take our place at 7pm. we arrived around 5:15pm. The woman seating and serving us was very nasty. whom we believed to be Mara herself. The food was authentic according to my good friend from New Orleans who was in our party, but extremely overpriced. Mara acted like it was a chore to wait on our party of 8 and tried to rush everything along. I did witness her abusing one of her employees by slamming the walk in freezer door in his face and yelling at him. This is definately a family-own/run business. When it came time for dessert Mara rushed us and said that we could not look at the menu but were welcome to take a whole Key Lime Pie home for $15. Every dessert someone in our party mentioned Mara replied with. "Yes, TO GO!" All in all it was a horrible experience and I don't care how authentic the food was, the awful service will keep me from going back to Mara's Homemade. Oh, one last note. we paid mostly in cash. our bill for 8 people came out to over $400 and we put in $333 cash and the rest on one person's credit card. Mara came back to the table with the receipt for the card to sign reflecting that only $313 in cash was given. The cash was counted a number of times and was definately $333, somehow $20 of our cash payment didn't make it from our table to the register. I don't understand how this place has so many great reviews. don't believe them! This is the truth!

Best Crab Fingers, Great Seafood and BBQ – My husband and I have been coming to Mara's for years. As a native NYer, I've seen family owned and historic buisnesses get shut down and replaced by fashionable- yet terrible- overpriced establishments.

Mara's is the real deal, a great mom and pop restaurant with family recipies you will not find from any celebrity chef. You might have to wait a little longer (small family wait-staff), but it's well worth it. They work hard and take pride in getting the best seafood from Fulton market.

The only problem is that you will be tempted to fill up on the great assortment of appetizers before you even get to the entree, and then get so stuffed you can't move at the end of the meal.

Personal faves: Crab fingers (must dip bread in marinade), artichoke dip, pulled pork and the beignets.

Seasonal specialties: soft shell crabs, crawfish and steamers.

* I'd also like to comment on the bad reviews- this ISN't a Yuppie East Village restaurant with a professional kiss-your-tuchus wait staff and interior design- Mara and her family are nice, but if you're 20 minutes late for your reservation, they're not going to bend over backwords to seat you and delay the next party's reservation after you. The food isn't sitting around waiting to be microwaved for your order, so yeah, you might have to wait till it's cooked.

Amazing BBQ in NYC – I'm a first time writer, but thoughtful and objective. The meal I had at Mara's Homemade was one of the top 10 best meals I've ever tasted. I'm not an expert on BBQ, but to the chagrin of my wife and doctor it is what I would choose to eat just about every night. Closer to the late Pies N' Thighs than Blue Smoke in atmosphere. I ordered the pulled pork platter - a delicious smoked meat plate with a well-crafted rub. Although it was equally scrumptious, I was able to use as little sauce as I wanted, as it came on the side - a big plus. The meat was so moist, it really didn't need sauce at all. The homemade sweet tea tasted more like candy than tea, and there was no weak link, with perfect corn pudding and potato salad. For dessert, I had Bluegrass Pie - a chocolate pecan bourbon masterpiece in a graham cracker crust.

The staff is a trip. I found them to be pretty New-York-straight-forward. Some people interpret this as "poor customer service," but I strongly disagree. Mara was a sweetheart who was short staffed the night we went, but the food came out promptly and her amazing deadpan humor kept us laughing. Strongly recommended if you like BBQ and characters.

Average Ribs, Good Service – I ordered the rib combo (half raack St. Louis, half raack baby back). They are served with the sauce on the side, which I fully endorse. Why drown the ribs with sauce? While the ribs have a somewhat smoky taste and are very tender, they are not very tasty. I'm not sure if it's the way they are seasoned. But with a dousing of BBQ sauce, they were somewhat better . although I believe ribs should be tasty without the sauce. Comparing with other BBQ places in the city, this was quite avg/mediocre. Smoked corn on the cob and mashed potatoes were interesting.

The place is very small. The service was fine, they are very nice friendly people. On a warm summer night, the front door was open and that affected the A/C.

Its ok – In reading the many complaints about service, I would have to disagree based on my one (and probably only) time at Mara's. The wait staff was pleasant and friendly but it was the food and the portions that earned my three star rating. I always associate southern food with big, hearty portions and my friend and I opened our mouths in surprise when we saw how few pieces we had on our Fisherman's Platter. We also had the fried okra and the jambalaya, which we didn't finish even though I wasn't very full. I did notice the smell of seafood as soon as I walked into the restaurant but it wasn't malodorous to the point that I wanted to walk out. In summary, the food at Mara's provided my meal for that evening but it was far from a culinary experience.

Good food, but hardly worth it! – Although the food at Mara's was mostly excellent and some of the only authentic cajun/southern food I've found in NYC, the rude service ruined our experience. We had reservations. Two of our party were running late and after only about 10-15 minutes after we arrived, they took their chairs, saying the needed space for another party. Because our party was mostly young (in our 20's) it seemed the staff assumed the worst about us from the beginning. They demanded that we order immediately, before we'd really had a chance to read through the menu. Some members of our party wanted to order multiple side dishes instead of entres, and even though the cost came out to about the same, the staff accused us of trying to bankrupt them! They told us we were not spending enough money (we spent about $20 per person) and made my friends extremely uncomfortable. If they had an official minimum per-person charge, we would have paid it, but instead, they just decided to spring on the pressure when we were ordering. Moreover, we would have spent more money anyway, but they were all out of a number of menu items we tried to order and our options were very limited. It also took 20 minutes to get them to bring us a glass of water, and the space was extremely cramped and noisy. We had originally planned to stay for dessert, but the service was so intolerable we ate and left as quickly as possible and just went to a diner so our late friends, who had not been allowed to join us, could get something to eat.

That said, the food was mostly excellent. Although some of the vegetables were very bland (especially the fried okra), I enjoyed the sampler plate immensely. It included very flavorful red beans and rice as well as excellent jambalaya with real andouille sausage -- a rarity outside of Louisiana. If you really crave authentic Louisiana food in New York, it might be worth braving the staff, but I would recommend taking your business elsewhere!

You get friendlier service at the DMV – I can't believe how we were treated. We were told we couldn't have any desserts that were warm because they needed our table for another party coming in. Then when we asked for change for a $20 they refused to until we paid for the entire check first saying they were afraid that we would run out on the check. One of our party is pregnant and all of us ranged in ages from our late 20's to early 40's and the tiny restaurant had their cashier right by the only exit.

Delicious BBQ – In a city where either overpriced or mediocre BBQ restaurants are a the norm, it's refreshing to find a delicious place that's reasonably priced. It's tricky though, because it's easy to get caught up in the options that by the time dessert and after-dinner bourbon come around, you've run up quite the bill. The selection of unusual Louisiana draft beers doesn't hurt either. Mara herself served us and took the time to recommend food/sauce combinations from a selection of condiments that she makes herself. The Ultimate Combo plate is great for sharing and includes a bit of everything. The mac n' cheese is especially dazzling. The brisket, fabulous. The interior is a bit tight and the decor strange but in the low light of the evening can be surprisingly romantic. We LOVE this place.

really unpleasant – The first thing that I noticed was the smell. I do not mind the smell of fresh fish or seafood but this was neither. It smelled like a clogged drain pipe. The food tasted like the recipes were clipped from a bad womens magazine. I wonder If "Mara" knows what Homemade means. Adding creole seasoning to store bought mayo does not make a homemade remoulade . The chicken gumbo tasted decent but was obviously made from a concentrated chicken base. The Barbecue was very dry and tasted like it had been reheated several times. Mara's has food like grandma makes, if grandma works for Stouffer's or Lean Cuisine. There are a lot of great Cajun places in New York so do not waste time or money at this place.

More Than The Great Food - Mara's Makes Us Feel Like Family – Mara's is our favorite place in all of Manhattan for a relaxing, comforting and truly satisfying meal. Unlike so many sterile, over-designed places in NYC, Mara's feels like you've been invited to a friendly neighbor's house for a feast of real Southern cooking. David at the bar always remembers our regular drinks and has introduced us to new favorites, and Mara offers hugs and the solace of her real home-style cooking to soothe our nerves after a busy work week. Nothing is frozen, hastily prepared or microwaved-to-death in her kitchen: the crawfish and alligator are the freshest we've eaten since our last New Orleans visit, and the BBQ is moist and tender with a perfect smoky flavor. We love the spicy shrimp creole, which is made from the old family recipe of David's grandmother. Everything is made with care and love, from the sublime BBQ sauce to the amazing corn pudding to the absolutely sinful desserts. We've seen heads turn at other tables as the smell of the dark chocolate sauce hitting our warm chocolate souffle fills the room. Don't let the strangely negative reviews here put you off - we honestly haven't had a single bad experience of any kind at Mara's, and we eat here almost every week. Their prices are entirely reasonable for the portion sizes, freshness and quality ingredients of the food. Even at their busiest, we've never had cause to complain and our food always arrived perfectly prepared. One night David seemed oddly disappointed by the cornbread we were served (it tasted great to us) and he popped into the kitchen, returning with a dish of shrimp etouffee that he poured over the cornbread, elevating the already satisfying side dish to the point of sheer decadence. Mara's is a true gem among all the fool's gold of Manhattan restaurants.

TAKE OUT ONLY- if you must. – This is a great example of a place that could be good if somebody else was running it. They send out mass emails at least weekly BEGGING you to come in.. threatening that they will have to close if you do not..( how inviting!! ) One of the most recent emails asked customers to email Mara with suggestions on how they could get people to start coming back in again..

DO THEY NOT READ CITY SEARCH?? Maybe they should spend more time considering all of the reviews below mine, instead of posting defensive responses to each of them. As a person who has given up on this place, here is why take out is the only option here: the place smells like mildew (they say it is fish, I disagree- either way- it stinks, people are complaining- figure it out, FIX IT.) The prices are very high for dishes with a sprinkling of frozen popcorn shrimp on top (the Creole, etc..) The atmosphere is like eating in a fast food place (florescent lights, limited character.) But the main problem for us has been the attitude of the very over whelmed family who owns this place.

There used to be a girl there that we loved, but she seems to have realized she could do better. Only Mara remains, and she just doesn't understand customer service. We have actually seen Mara and her husband (?) yelling at each other in the middle of the "dining room" as if they were alone at home. It was so awkward that we haven't returned.

So do yourself a favor and if you must try this particular BBQ place. order take out.

Avoid unless you're looking for some real authentic Southern Hospitality – This is a good one. So four dark-skinned Indian folk walk into Mara's Homemade on a weeknight, I think a Tuesday. Mara's in the main entrance room, unpacking boxes, restaurant supplies, or something at one of the tables, and it reeks of old fish. "Hi. table for four," we say. Mara says "Do you have a reservation?" Us, "no." She's like "Hold on a minute." A man storms in shortly therefater (I suppose her hubby), "May I help you?" in a loud, disturbed voice, as if we didn't belong there. Before we answer, Mara butts in. " Table of four. NO RESERVATIONS." Mind you, the only ones in there were a family of light skinned folk in one of the secluded back rooms. Two or three other back room tables are empty. Mara finally leads us to a table in the fish stinking main room, where she's unpacking boxes on the next table. We politely decline, and proceed to walk out, "Um, Thank you but that's alright." She screams at us, "Um, What's wroong with this. " So apparently, even on a street teeming with Indian restaurants, in the heart of New York, you can find some good ol' Southern hospitality.

Thanks for keeping it real, Mara's Homemade.

This is a horribly dumpy east village spot apparently obsessed with reservations. Avoid.

The color of someones skin does not make any difference to us. The night that this party (which was NOT a Tuesday, since we are closed) came in we were booked with reservations. A restaurant may look empty when a party walks in, but if there are reservations over the next two hours the tables can not be used because they would not be available for the customer with the reservations. Thus, when someone walks in we ask, "Do you have a reservation?" We then check our tables and seat accordingly.

We have two rooms in our restaurant, the bar room and main dining room, with a total of 16 tables.

When these customers walked in the kitchen had just completed preparing the menu for the night, which includes going thru the soft and hard shell crabs for any that might have died. Within a few minutes the fish smell was out and no one else complained.

What a gem! – Cute cute cute & the food was delish! It was crowded, but friendly with really attentive service. Loved the meatloaf and the crawfish. Can't wait to go back!


Mara's Homemade (Reported Closed)

I also know what New Orleans food is suppose to at least emulate, THIS IS NOT THE PLACE i would NEVER go again .

From the crappy jalapeno cornbread to the soggy jambalaya,, the shrimp feast was horrid they were soggy spongy shrimp that are claimed to be shipped from the bayou,cooked FOUR ways and ,covered in zatarans crab boil mix , butter oil and crappy seasoning , the craw fish ettoufou was the worst thing i have eaten in my life the chef does not know how to make a proper roux or sauce , the craw fish were gray and tiny after a bite that was it for me, dont go near the specially flown in red snapper with creole mustad sauce (basically mustard and white wine )to smother this horrible quality fish ,flownin "I dont think so"

Did i mention i am also a commercial fisherman !

Last the was the the Cocky derby wearing guy with his stained shirt that he has probably worn for the previous 5 days who ran the place! With his decaying teeth and "make you want to puke smile", and total control freak attitude who had basically no control over his kitchen or wait staff. GOD HELP SYOSSET ! I totally agree with Amal D. So go if you want to pay for bad taste in you mouth for years !

Homemade fun. – I challenge you to find someone who would not consider the atmosphere charming. And the food is quite good, at reasonable prices.

Maras Homemade-just like home – I've been living in NYC since 2000. Originally I'm from South Mississippi where Crawfish is a part of our weekly diet. It took some time but my wife finally uncovered a GOLD MINE for me. Mara's is now my FAVORITE place to eat in all of NYC. The crawfish comes in a bucket with potatos, corn on the cobb and mushrooms - JUST LIKE BACK HOME!! There's even SAINTS (who dat!) Posters adorning the walls. No place is better.

Best Restaurant in the City, hands down. – I've been dining here for years. Ive read all thr reviews about the staff being rude, mean or rushing people out. Ive NEVER EVER experienced any of these.

The staff has ALWAYS been courteous to me and my wife.Ive had birthday parties here and family gatherings. Ive taken half the restaurant and Ive taken a single table by myself, Ive always enjoyed myself. Food has always been spot on (especially the BBQ). After eating BBQ here, Ive been looking for better. Ive been to Northern Cali, Miami, Orlando, Boston THIS IS STILL MY FAVE!

Prices have gone up, but considering how good it is, its always worth the splurge.

Mara also does cooking classes which seem interesting.

Will not be returning – Went there last night to meet a friend for dinner and was asked to leave after inquiring about a table and a fifteen minute seating wait (with 3 tables avail). I was told that a big party was leaving and that we would get two seats up front. Those tables were cleared and they sat others waiting who had arrived after. I asked about our seat, reminding that we were also waiting, and was told, "Probably will not be able to please you, it would be best if you would leave" by owner David. A personal first to be asked to leave a restaurant after inquiring about seating! Suggest those with interest read posts here and on other sites before deciding on Mara's- odd behavior from owners and poor service are both common if you read through comments.

Funky cajun joint specializes in crawfish. – Despite its East Village locale, Mara's homemade has an undeniable Arkansas/Louisiana authenticity. For some patrons, it may be too authentic, given how messy and anatomically challenging the crawfish dinners can be. But on the other hand, the jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, pepper cornbread and other southern specialties are well-made, cheap and arrive in copious portions. The room is as raucous and homey as a roadside joint on Highway 3, which makes it a favorite of the young crowd that lives and hangs out nearby.

Key Lime Goodness! – It's hard to find good Key Lime Pie in the City. Too often, the taste is wrong, the texture is off or worse: it tastes pre-packaged. That's why it was a delight to discover the perfect Key Lime pie at Mara's Homemade!

The taste is sweet with the right balance of key lime. The texture is firm but creamy, complimented by a thin graham crust. Best of all, there's no whipped cream or other frippery to distract you from the subtle nuances of this rare treat. It succeeds on its own, as the best pies do.

If you're in the mood for a Southern delight done right, head over to Mara's and grab a slice of Key Lime Pie. You won't be disappointed!

Smells like a public TOILET. – I can't believe this place is once again a top NYC BBQ spot. The restaurant smelled like an open sewer when my brother and I went last summer after it had just made the list. The food is horrible, the drinks weak, and the atmosphere like something out of a Third Avenue, frat-boy nightmare.

Anyone who thinks that this is good BBQ has never had it. and has no palate.

Never AGAIN!! – I do not recommend this place to anyone. It was by far the most awkward dining experience of my life. First, they couldn?t seat us right away even though we made reservations (no biggie, pretty normal). But, literally 5 minutes after we were seated, both Mara and her husband came to our table yelling at us because we had not ordered yet. On top of that, it took 20 minutes for our drinks to come, not to mention, they were brought one by one in 5 minute increments. They then proceeded to tell us that we could not leave the table or go outside to make a phone call or have a cigarette and that the next person to leave would not only not be able to come back in, but would also have the cops called on them. We were then told that we could not use the bathroom because of a ?recent theft??I don?t even know what that means I guess someone stole toilet paper? Mara and her husband both need a serious attitude adjustment. We are not guests in your home (thank God), we are paying customers, learn how to run a business. I don?t know if they treat all of their customers like this, or just parties of 12 spending over $700. Oh, and the food was just ok, nothing special at all.

BEST PO BOYS IN THE TRISTATE AREA! – Mara has inspired me to write my 1st review on CitySearch in 8 years of using the site. If you are looking for the best po boys short of going to the Washington metro area, RUN to Mara's. Being a New Orleans (N.O.) BK transplant, I have tried them at most other other New York area restaurants (Cooking with Jazz, Mardi Gras, Delta Grill, Stan's Place, Bayou, ect) and another that has since closed in Hell's Kitchen.

I'm so happy some else appreciates Gulf Coast seafood besides me (oysters from anywhere else taste totally different plus they have a bunch of green yucky stuff in them and if I get one more shrimp po boy made from breaded frozen shrimp, I'm going to beat them. then tar and feather them. That's a mortal sin in South Louisiana (LA). Mara's does it right with fresh seafood fried using corn meal/flour on a french baguette - the closest thing you can get to N.O. style french bread in NYC - at a great price especially when you consider that she imports seafood and has to have fresh bread available 7 days a week. The jambalaya wasn't bad either.

Just one more thing, her restaurant smells fine. Anyone who grew up in an area where you eat seafood frequently year round (South LA, Coastal Maine) knows you can't have fresh seafood with some odor. That's why grandma made paran clean the fresh catfish we used to catch in the backyard.

They are the most authentic Creole/Cajun restaurant, I have been to so far in the tri-state area, You will have to take a 2.5 hr flight to N.O. to get anything better.

PS - They have Abita Root Beer brewed in LA and sweetened with LA Sugar cane syrup not HFCS for all you Root Beer/Specialty Soda heads out there it's sweet n smooth.

Best Etouffe, Hurricanes & Barbecue - Friedliness Abound – We love Mara's for the great New Orleans food & barbecue. We also enjoy being there because we are always welcomed by Mara & her husband David & usually served by daughter Hannah. What more can you ask for?! This cute little restaurant serves great food that ishard to find anywhere else in the city - like crawfish boil and crawfish etouffe. One bite and it takes you back to New Orleans - pre-Katrina! The barbecue is excellent also, but we usually go there for the hurricanes and Cajun/Creole cuisines. You will never be disappointed.

So Much for "Southern Hospitality" – Upon arriving to this restaurant, we were rushed to sit down because another party was coming to take our place at 7pm. we arrived around 5:15pm. The woman seating and serving us was very nasty. whom we believed to be Mara herself. The food was authentic according to my good friend from New Orleans who was in our party, but extremely overpriced. Mara acted like it was a chore to wait on our party of 8 and tried to rush everything along. I did witness her abusing one of her employees by slamming the walk in freezer door in his face and yelling at him. This is definately a family-own/run business. When it came time for dessert Mara rushed us and said that we could not look at the menu but were welcome to take a whole Key Lime Pie home for $15. Every dessert someone in our party mentioned Mara replied with. "Yes, TO GO!" All in all it was a horrible experience and I don't care how authentic the food was, the awful service will keep me from going back to Mara's Homemade. Oh, one last note. we paid mostly in cash. our bill for 8 people came out to over $400 and we put in $333 cash and the rest on one person's credit card. Mara came back to the table with the receipt for the card to sign reflecting that only $313 in cash was given. The cash was counted a number of times and was definately $333, somehow $20 of our cash payment didn't make it from our table to the register. I don't understand how this place has so many great reviews. don't believe them! This is the truth!

Best Crab Fingers, Great Seafood and BBQ – My husband and I have been coming to Mara's for years. As a native NYer, I've seen family owned and historic buisnesses get shut down and replaced by fashionable- yet terrible- overpriced establishments.

Mara's is the real deal, a great mom and pop restaurant with family recipies you will not find from any celebrity chef. You might have to wait a little longer (small family wait-staff), but it's well worth it. They work hard and take pride in getting the best seafood from Fulton market.

The only problem is that you will be tempted to fill up on the great assortment of appetizers before you even get to the entree, and then get so stuffed you can't move at the end of the meal.

Personal faves: Crab fingers (must dip bread in marinade), artichoke dip, pulled pork and the beignets.

Seasonal specialties: soft shell crabs, crawfish and steamers.

* I'd also like to comment on the bad reviews- this ISN't a Yuppie East Village restaurant with a professional kiss-your-tuchus wait staff and interior design- Mara and her family are nice, but if you're 20 minutes late for your reservation, they're not going to bend over backwords to seat you and delay the next party's reservation after you. The food isn't sitting around waiting to be microwaved for your order, so yeah, you might have to wait till it's cooked.

Amazing BBQ in NYC – I'm a first time writer, but thoughtful and objective. The meal I had at Mara's Homemade was one of the top 10 best meals I've ever tasted. I'm not an expert on BBQ, but to the chagrin of my wife and doctor it is what I would choose to eat just about every night. Closer to the late Pies N' Thighs than Blue Smoke in atmosphere. I ordered the pulled pork platter - a delicious smoked meat plate with a well-crafted rub. Although it was equally scrumptious, I was able to use as little sauce as I wanted, as it came on the side - a big plus. The meat was so moist, it really didn't need sauce at all. The homemade sweet tea tasted more like candy than tea, and there was no weak link, with perfect corn pudding and potato salad. For dessert, I had Bluegrass Pie - a chocolate pecan bourbon masterpiece in a graham cracker crust.

The staff is a trip. I found them to be pretty New-York-straight-forward. Some people interpret this as "poor customer service," but I strongly disagree. Mara was a sweetheart who was short staffed the night we went, but the food came out promptly and her amazing deadpan humor kept us laughing. Strongly recommended if you like BBQ and characters.

Average Ribs, Good Service – I ordered the rib combo (half raack St. Louis, half raack baby back). They are served with the sauce on the side, which I fully endorse. Why drown the ribs with sauce? While the ribs have a somewhat smoky taste and are very tender, they are not very tasty. I'm not sure if it's the way they are seasoned. But with a dousing of BBQ sauce, they were somewhat better . although I believe ribs should be tasty without the sauce. Comparing with other BBQ places in the city, this was quite avg/mediocre. Smoked corn on the cob and mashed potatoes were interesting.

The place is very small. The service was fine, they are very nice friendly people. On a warm summer night, the front door was open and that affected the A/C.

Its ok – In reading the many complaints about service, I would have to disagree based on my one (and probably only) time at Mara's. The wait staff was pleasant and friendly but it was the food and the portions that earned my three star rating. I always associate southern food with big, hearty portions and my friend and I opened our mouths in surprise when we saw how few pieces we had on our Fisherman's Platter. We also had the fried okra and the jambalaya, which we didn't finish even though I wasn't very full. I did notice the smell of seafood as soon as I walked into the restaurant but it wasn't malodorous to the point that I wanted to walk out. In summary, the food at Mara's provided my meal for that evening but it was far from a culinary experience.

Good food, but hardly worth it! – Although the food at Mara's was mostly excellent and some of the only authentic cajun/southern food I've found in NYC, the rude service ruined our experience. We had reservations. Two of our party were running late and after only about 10-15 minutes after we arrived, they took their chairs, saying the needed space for another party. Because our party was mostly young (in our 20's) it seemed the staff assumed the worst about us from the beginning. They demanded that we order immediately, before we'd really had a chance to read through the menu. Some members of our party wanted to order multiple side dishes instead of entres, and even though the cost came out to about the same, the staff accused us of trying to bankrupt them! They told us we were not spending enough money (we spent about $20 per person) and made my friends extremely uncomfortable. If they had an official minimum per-person charge, we would have paid it, but instead, they just decided to spring on the pressure when we were ordering. Moreover, we would have spent more money anyway, but they were all out of a number of menu items we tried to order and our options were very limited. It also took 20 minutes to get them to bring us a glass of water, and the space was extremely cramped and noisy. We had originally planned to stay for dessert, but the service was so intolerable we ate and left as quickly as possible and just went to a diner so our late friends, who had not been allowed to join us, could get something to eat.

That said, the food was mostly excellent. Although some of the vegetables were very bland (especially the fried okra), I enjoyed the sampler plate immensely. It included very flavorful red beans and rice as well as excellent jambalaya with real andouille sausage -- a rarity outside of Louisiana. If you really crave authentic Louisiana food in New York, it might be worth braving the staff, but I would recommend taking your business elsewhere!

You get friendlier service at the DMV – I can't believe how we were treated. We were told we couldn't have any desserts that were warm because they needed our table for another party coming in. Then when we asked for change for a $20 they refused to until we paid for the entire check first saying they were afraid that we would run out on the check. One of our party is pregnant and all of us ranged in ages from our late 20's to early 40's and the tiny restaurant had their cashier right by the only exit.

Delicious BBQ – In a city where either overpriced or mediocre BBQ restaurants are a the norm, it's refreshing to find a delicious place that's reasonably priced. It's tricky though, because it's easy to get caught up in the options that by the time dessert and after-dinner bourbon come around, you've run up quite the bill. The selection of unusual Louisiana draft beers doesn't hurt either. Mara herself served us and took the time to recommend food/sauce combinations from a selection of condiments that she makes herself. The Ultimate Combo plate is great for sharing and includes a bit of everything. The mac n' cheese is especially dazzling. The brisket, fabulous. The interior is a bit tight and the decor strange but in the low light of the evening can be surprisingly romantic. We LOVE this place.

really unpleasant – The first thing that I noticed was the smell. I do not mind the smell of fresh fish or seafood but this was neither. It smelled like a clogged drain pipe. The food tasted like the recipes were clipped from a bad womens magazine. I wonder If "Mara" knows what Homemade means. Adding creole seasoning to store bought mayo does not make a homemade remoulade . The chicken gumbo tasted decent but was obviously made from a concentrated chicken base. The Barbecue was very dry and tasted like it had been reheated several times. Mara's has food like grandma makes, if grandma works for Stouffer's or Lean Cuisine. There are a lot of great Cajun places in New York so do not waste time or money at this place.

More Than The Great Food - Mara's Makes Us Feel Like Family – Mara's is our favorite place in all of Manhattan for a relaxing, comforting and truly satisfying meal. Unlike so many sterile, over-designed places in NYC, Mara's feels like you've been invited to a friendly neighbor's house for a feast of real Southern cooking. David at the bar always remembers our regular drinks and has introduced us to new favorites, and Mara offers hugs and the solace of her real home-style cooking to soothe our nerves after a busy work week. Nothing is frozen, hastily prepared or microwaved-to-death in her kitchen: the crawfish and alligator are the freshest we've eaten since our last New Orleans visit, and the BBQ is moist and tender with a perfect smoky flavor. We love the spicy shrimp creole, which is made from the old family recipe of David's grandmother. Everything is made with care and love, from the sublime BBQ sauce to the amazing corn pudding to the absolutely sinful desserts. We've seen heads turn at other tables as the smell of the dark chocolate sauce hitting our warm chocolate souffle fills the room. Don't let the strangely negative reviews here put you off - we honestly haven't had a single bad experience of any kind at Mara's, and we eat here almost every week. Their prices are entirely reasonable for the portion sizes, freshness and quality ingredients of the food. Even at their busiest, we've never had cause to complain and our food always arrived perfectly prepared. One night David seemed oddly disappointed by the cornbread we were served (it tasted great to us) and he popped into the kitchen, returning with a dish of shrimp etouffee that he poured over the cornbread, elevating the already satisfying side dish to the point of sheer decadence. Mara's is a true gem among all the fool's gold of Manhattan restaurants.

TAKE OUT ONLY- if you must. – This is a great example of a place that could be good if somebody else was running it. They send out mass emails at least weekly BEGGING you to come in.. threatening that they will have to close if you do not..( how inviting!! ) One of the most recent emails asked customers to email Mara with suggestions on how they could get people to start coming back in again..

DO THEY NOT READ CITY SEARCH?? Maybe they should spend more time considering all of the reviews below mine, instead of posting defensive responses to each of them. As a person who has given up on this place, here is why take out is the only option here: the place smells like mildew (they say it is fish, I disagree- either way- it stinks, people are complaining- figure it out, FIX IT.) The prices are very high for dishes with a sprinkling of frozen popcorn shrimp on top (the Creole, etc..) The atmosphere is like eating in a fast food place (florescent lights, limited character.) But the main problem for us has been the attitude of the very over whelmed family who owns this place.

There used to be a girl there that we loved, but she seems to have realized she could do better. Only Mara remains, and she just doesn't understand customer service. We have actually seen Mara and her husband (?) yelling at each other in the middle of the "dining room" as if they were alone at home. It was so awkward that we haven't returned.

So do yourself a favor and if you must try this particular BBQ place. order take out.

Avoid unless you're looking for some real authentic Southern Hospitality – This is a good one. So four dark-skinned Indian folk walk into Mara's Homemade on a weeknight, I think a Tuesday. Mara's in the main entrance room, unpacking boxes, restaurant supplies, or something at one of the tables, and it reeks of old fish. "Hi. table for four," we say. Mara says "Do you have a reservation?" Us, "no." She's like "Hold on a minute." A man storms in shortly therefater (I suppose her hubby), "May I help you?" in a loud, disturbed voice, as if we didn't belong there. Before we answer, Mara butts in. " Table of four. NO RESERVATIONS." Mind you, the only ones in there were a family of light skinned folk in one of the secluded back rooms. Two or three other back room tables are empty. Mara finally leads us to a table in the fish stinking main room, where she's unpacking boxes on the next table. We politely decline, and proceed to walk out, "Um, Thank you but that's alright." She screams at us, "Um, What's wroong with this. " So apparently, even on a street teeming with Indian restaurants, in the heart of New York, you can find some good ol' Southern hospitality.

Thanks for keeping it real, Mara's Homemade.

This is a horribly dumpy east village spot apparently obsessed with reservations. Avoid.

The color of someones skin does not make any difference to us. The night that this party (which was NOT a Tuesday, since we are closed) came in we were booked with reservations. A restaurant may look empty when a party walks in, but if there are reservations over the next two hours the tables can not be used because they would not be available for the customer with the reservations. Thus, when someone walks in we ask, "Do you have a reservation?" We then check our tables and seat accordingly.

We have two rooms in our restaurant, the bar room and main dining room, with a total of 16 tables.

When these customers walked in the kitchen had just completed preparing the menu for the night, which includes going thru the soft and hard shell crabs for any that might have died. Within a few minutes the fish smell was out and no one else complained.

What a gem! – Cute cute cute & the food was delish! It was crowded, but friendly with really attentive service. Loved the meatloaf and the crawfish. Can't wait to go back!


Mara's Homemade (Reported Closed)

I also know what New Orleans food is suppose to at least emulate, THIS IS NOT THE PLACE i would NEVER go again .

From the crappy jalapeno cornbread to the soggy jambalaya,, the shrimp feast was horrid they were soggy spongy shrimp that are claimed to be shipped from the bayou,cooked FOUR ways and ,covered in zatarans crab boil mix , butter oil and crappy seasoning , the craw fish ettoufou was the worst thing i have eaten in my life the chef does not know how to make a proper roux or sauce , the craw fish were gray and tiny after a bite that was it for me, dont go near the specially flown in red snapper with creole mustad sauce (basically mustard and white wine )to smother this horrible quality fish ,flownin "I dont think so"

Did i mention i am also a commercial fisherman !

Last the was the the Cocky derby wearing guy with his stained shirt that he has probably worn for the previous 5 days who ran the place! With his decaying teeth and "make you want to puke smile", and total control freak attitude who had basically no control over his kitchen or wait staff. GOD HELP SYOSSET ! I totally agree with Amal D. So go if you want to pay for bad taste in you mouth for years !

Homemade fun. – I challenge you to find someone who would not consider the atmosphere charming. And the food is quite good, at reasonable prices.

Maras Homemade-just like home – I've been living in NYC since 2000. Originally I'm from South Mississippi where Crawfish is a part of our weekly diet. It took some time but my wife finally uncovered a GOLD MINE for me. Mara's is now my FAVORITE place to eat in all of NYC. The crawfish comes in a bucket with potatos, corn on the cobb and mushrooms - JUST LIKE BACK HOME!! There's even SAINTS (who dat!) Posters adorning the walls. No place is better.

Best Restaurant in the City, hands down. – I've been dining here for years. Ive read all thr reviews about the staff being rude, mean or rushing people out. Ive NEVER EVER experienced any of these.

The staff has ALWAYS been courteous to me and my wife.Ive had birthday parties here and family gatherings. Ive taken half the restaurant and Ive taken a single table by myself, Ive always enjoyed myself. Food has always been spot on (especially the BBQ). After eating BBQ here, Ive been looking for better. Ive been to Northern Cali, Miami, Orlando, Boston THIS IS STILL MY FAVE!

Prices have gone up, but considering how good it is, its always worth the splurge.

Mara also does cooking classes which seem interesting.

Will not be returning – Went there last night to meet a friend for dinner and was asked to leave after inquiring about a table and a fifteen minute seating wait (with 3 tables avail). I was told that a big party was leaving and that we would get two seats up front. Those tables were cleared and they sat others waiting who had arrived after. I asked about our seat, reminding that we were also waiting, and was told, "Probably will not be able to please you, it would be best if you would leave" by owner David. A personal first to be asked to leave a restaurant after inquiring about seating! Suggest those with interest read posts here and on other sites before deciding on Mara's- odd behavior from owners and poor service are both common if you read through comments.

Funky cajun joint specializes in crawfish. – Despite its East Village locale, Mara's homemade has an undeniable Arkansas/Louisiana authenticity. For some patrons, it may be too authentic, given how messy and anatomically challenging the crawfish dinners can be. But on the other hand, the jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, pepper cornbread and other southern specialties are well-made, cheap and arrive in copious portions. The room is as raucous and homey as a roadside joint on Highway 3, which makes it a favorite of the young crowd that lives and hangs out nearby.

Key Lime Goodness! – It's hard to find good Key Lime Pie in the City. Too often, the taste is wrong, the texture is off or worse: it tastes pre-packaged. That's why it was a delight to discover the perfect Key Lime pie at Mara's Homemade!

The taste is sweet with the right balance of key lime. The texture is firm but creamy, complimented by a thin graham crust. Best of all, there's no whipped cream or other frippery to distract you from the subtle nuances of this rare treat. It succeeds on its own, as the best pies do.

If you're in the mood for a Southern delight done right, head over to Mara's and grab a slice of Key Lime Pie. You won't be disappointed!

Smells like a public TOILET. – I can't believe this place is once again a top NYC BBQ spot. The restaurant smelled like an open sewer when my brother and I went last summer after it had just made the list. The food is horrible, the drinks weak, and the atmosphere like something out of a Third Avenue, frat-boy nightmare.

Anyone who thinks that this is good BBQ has never had it. and has no palate.

Never AGAIN!! – I do not recommend this place to anyone. It was by far the most awkward dining experience of my life. First, they couldn?t seat us right away even though we made reservations (no biggie, pretty normal). But, literally 5 minutes after we were seated, both Mara and her husband came to our table yelling at us because we had not ordered yet. On top of that, it took 20 minutes for our drinks to come, not to mention, they were brought one by one in 5 minute increments. They then proceeded to tell us that we could not leave the table or go outside to make a phone call or have a cigarette and that the next person to leave would not only not be able to come back in, but would also have the cops called on them. We were then told that we could not use the bathroom because of a ?recent theft??I don?t even know what that means I guess someone stole toilet paper? Mara and her husband both need a serious attitude adjustment. We are not guests in your home (thank God), we are paying customers, learn how to run a business. I don?t know if they treat all of their customers like this, or just parties of 12 spending over $700. Oh, and the food was just ok, nothing special at all.

BEST PO BOYS IN THE TRISTATE AREA! – Mara has inspired me to write my 1st review on CitySearch in 8 years of using the site. If you are looking for the best po boys short of going to the Washington metro area, RUN to Mara's. Being a New Orleans (N.O.) BK transplant, I have tried them at most other other New York area restaurants (Cooking with Jazz, Mardi Gras, Delta Grill, Stan's Place, Bayou, ect) and another that has since closed in Hell's Kitchen.

I'm so happy some else appreciates Gulf Coast seafood besides me (oysters from anywhere else taste totally different plus they have a bunch of green yucky stuff in them and if I get one more shrimp po boy made from breaded frozen shrimp, I'm going to beat them. then tar and feather them. That's a mortal sin in South Louisiana (LA). Mara's does it right with fresh seafood fried using corn meal/flour on a french baguette - the closest thing you can get to N.O. style french bread in NYC - at a great price especially when you consider that she imports seafood and has to have fresh bread available 7 days a week. The jambalaya wasn't bad either.

Just one more thing, her restaurant smells fine. Anyone who grew up in an area where you eat seafood frequently year round (South LA, Coastal Maine) knows you can't have fresh seafood with some odor. That's why grandma made paran clean the fresh catfish we used to catch in the backyard.

They are the most authentic Creole/Cajun restaurant, I have been to so far in the tri-state area, You will have to take a 2.5 hr flight to N.O. to get anything better.

PS - They have Abita Root Beer brewed in LA and sweetened with LA Sugar cane syrup not HFCS for all you Root Beer/Specialty Soda heads out there it's sweet n smooth.

Best Etouffe, Hurricanes & Barbecue - Friedliness Abound – We love Mara's for the great New Orleans food & barbecue. We also enjoy being there because we are always welcomed by Mara & her husband David & usually served by daughter Hannah. What more can you ask for?! This cute little restaurant serves great food that ishard to find anywhere else in the city - like crawfish boil and crawfish etouffe. One bite and it takes you back to New Orleans - pre-Katrina! The barbecue is excellent also, but we usually go there for the hurricanes and Cajun/Creole cuisines. You will never be disappointed.

So Much for "Southern Hospitality" – Upon arriving to this restaurant, we were rushed to sit down because another party was coming to take our place at 7pm. we arrived around 5:15pm. The woman seating and serving us was very nasty. whom we believed to be Mara herself. The food was authentic according to my good friend from New Orleans who was in our party, but extremely overpriced. Mara acted like it was a chore to wait on our party of 8 and tried to rush everything along. I did witness her abusing one of her employees by slamming the walk in freezer door in his face and yelling at him. This is definately a family-own/run business. When it came time for dessert Mara rushed us and said that we could not look at the menu but were welcome to take a whole Key Lime Pie home for $15. Every dessert someone in our party mentioned Mara replied with. "Yes, TO GO!" All in all it was a horrible experience and I don't care how authentic the food was, the awful service will keep me from going back to Mara's Homemade. Oh, one last note. we paid mostly in cash. our bill for 8 people came out to over $400 and we put in $333 cash and the rest on one person's credit card. Mara came back to the table with the receipt for the card to sign reflecting that only $313 in cash was given. The cash was counted a number of times and was definately $333, somehow $20 of our cash payment didn't make it from our table to the register. I don't understand how this place has so many great reviews. don't believe them! This is the truth!

Best Crab Fingers, Great Seafood and BBQ – My husband and I have been coming to Mara's for years. As a native NYer, I've seen family owned and historic buisnesses get shut down and replaced by fashionable- yet terrible- overpriced establishments.

Mara's is the real deal, a great mom and pop restaurant with family recipies you will not find from any celebrity chef. You might have to wait a little longer (small family wait-staff), but it's well worth it. They work hard and take pride in getting the best seafood from Fulton market.

The only problem is that you will be tempted to fill up on the great assortment of appetizers before you even get to the entree, and then get so stuffed you can't move at the end of the meal.

Personal faves: Crab fingers (must dip bread in marinade), artichoke dip, pulled pork and the beignets.

Seasonal specialties: soft shell crabs, crawfish and steamers.

* I'd also like to comment on the bad reviews- this ISN't a Yuppie East Village restaurant with a professional kiss-your-tuchus wait staff and interior design- Mara and her family are nice, but if you're 20 minutes late for your reservation, they're not going to bend over backwords to seat you and delay the next party's reservation after you. The food isn't sitting around waiting to be microwaved for your order, so yeah, you might have to wait till it's cooked.

Amazing BBQ in NYC – I'm a first time writer, but thoughtful and objective. The meal I had at Mara's Homemade was one of the top 10 best meals I've ever tasted. I'm not an expert on BBQ, but to the chagrin of my wife and doctor it is what I would choose to eat just about every night. Closer to the late Pies N' Thighs than Blue Smoke in atmosphere. I ordered the pulled pork platter - a delicious smoked meat plate with a well-crafted rub. Although it was equally scrumptious, I was able to use as little sauce as I wanted, as it came on the side - a big plus. The meat was so moist, it really didn't need sauce at all. The homemade sweet tea tasted more like candy than tea, and there was no weak link, with perfect corn pudding and potato salad. For dessert, I had Bluegrass Pie - a chocolate pecan bourbon masterpiece in a graham cracker crust.

The staff is a trip. I found them to be pretty New-York-straight-forward. Some people interpret this as "poor customer service," but I strongly disagree. Mara was a sweetheart who was short staffed the night we went, but the food came out promptly and her amazing deadpan humor kept us laughing. Strongly recommended if you like BBQ and characters.

Average Ribs, Good Service – I ordered the rib combo (half raack St. Louis, half raack baby back). They are served with the sauce on the side, which I fully endorse. Why drown the ribs with sauce? While the ribs have a somewhat smoky taste and are very tender, they are not very tasty. I'm not sure if it's the way they are seasoned. But with a dousing of BBQ sauce, they were somewhat better . although I believe ribs should be tasty without the sauce. Comparing with other BBQ places in the city, this was quite avg/mediocre. Smoked corn on the cob and mashed potatoes were interesting.

The place is very small. The service was fine, they are very nice friendly people. On a warm summer night, the front door was open and that affected the A/C.

Its ok – In reading the many complaints about service, I would have to disagree based on my one (and probably only) time at Mara's. The wait staff was pleasant and friendly but it was the food and the portions that earned my three star rating. I always associate southern food with big, hearty portions and my friend and I opened our mouths in surprise when we saw how few pieces we had on our Fisherman's Platter. We also had the fried okra and the jambalaya, which we didn't finish even though I wasn't very full. I did notice the smell of seafood as soon as I walked into the restaurant but it wasn't malodorous to the point that I wanted to walk out. In summary, the food at Mara's provided my meal for that evening but it was far from a culinary experience.

Good food, but hardly worth it! – Although the food at Mara's was mostly excellent and some of the only authentic cajun/southern food I've found in NYC, the rude service ruined our experience. We had reservations. Two of our party were running late and after only about 10-15 minutes after we arrived, they took their chairs, saying the needed space for another party. Because our party was mostly young (in our 20's) it seemed the staff assumed the worst about us from the beginning. They demanded that we order immediately, before we'd really had a chance to read through the menu. Some members of our party wanted to order multiple side dishes instead of entres, and even though the cost came out to about the same, the staff accused us of trying to bankrupt them! They told us we were not spending enough money (we spent about $20 per person) and made my friends extremely uncomfortable. If they had an official minimum per-person charge, we would have paid it, but instead, they just decided to spring on the pressure when we were ordering. Moreover, we would have spent more money anyway, but they were all out of a number of menu items we tried to order and our options were very limited. It also took 20 minutes to get them to bring us a glass of water, and the space was extremely cramped and noisy. We had originally planned to stay for dessert, but the service was so intolerable we ate and left as quickly as possible and just went to a diner so our late friends, who had not been allowed to join us, could get something to eat.

That said, the food was mostly excellent. Although some of the vegetables were very bland (especially the fried okra), I enjoyed the sampler plate immensely. It included very flavorful red beans and rice as well as excellent jambalaya with real andouille sausage -- a rarity outside of Louisiana. If you really crave authentic Louisiana food in New York, it might be worth braving the staff, but I would recommend taking your business elsewhere!

You get friendlier service at the DMV – I can't believe how we were treated. We were told we couldn't have any desserts that were warm because they needed our table for another party coming in. Then when we asked for change for a $20 they refused to until we paid for the entire check first saying they were afraid that we would run out on the check. One of our party is pregnant and all of us ranged in ages from our late 20's to early 40's and the tiny restaurant had their cashier right by the only exit.

Delicious BBQ – In a city where either overpriced or mediocre BBQ restaurants are a the norm, it's refreshing to find a delicious place that's reasonably priced. It's tricky though, because it's easy to get caught up in the options that by the time dessert and after-dinner bourbon come around, you've run up quite the bill. The selection of unusual Louisiana draft beers doesn't hurt either. Mara herself served us and took the time to recommend food/sauce combinations from a selection of condiments that she makes herself. The Ultimate Combo plate is great for sharing and includes a bit of everything. The mac n' cheese is especially dazzling. The brisket, fabulous. The interior is a bit tight and the decor strange but in the low light of the evening can be surprisingly romantic. We LOVE this place.

really unpleasant – The first thing that I noticed was the smell. I do not mind the smell of fresh fish or seafood but this was neither. It smelled like a clogged drain pipe. The food tasted like the recipes were clipped from a bad womens magazine. I wonder If "Mara" knows what Homemade means. Adding creole seasoning to store bought mayo does not make a homemade remoulade . The chicken gumbo tasted decent but was obviously made from a concentrated chicken base. The Barbecue was very dry and tasted like it had been reheated several times. Mara's has food like grandma makes, if grandma works for Stouffer's or Lean Cuisine. There are a lot of great Cajun places in New York so do not waste time or money at this place.

More Than The Great Food - Mara's Makes Us Feel Like Family – Mara's is our favorite place in all of Manhattan for a relaxing, comforting and truly satisfying meal. Unlike so many sterile, over-designed places in NYC, Mara's feels like you've been invited to a friendly neighbor's house for a feast of real Southern cooking. David at the bar always remembers our regular drinks and has introduced us to new favorites, and Mara offers hugs and the solace of her real home-style cooking to soothe our nerves after a busy work week. Nothing is frozen, hastily prepared or microwaved-to-death in her kitchen: the crawfish and alligator are the freshest we've eaten since our last New Orleans visit, and the BBQ is moist and tender with a perfect smoky flavor. We love the spicy shrimp creole, which is made from the old family recipe of David's grandmother. Everything is made with care and love, from the sublime BBQ sauce to the amazing corn pudding to the absolutely sinful desserts. We've seen heads turn at other tables as the smell of the dark chocolate sauce hitting our warm chocolate souffle fills the room. Don't let the strangely negative reviews here put you off - we honestly haven't had a single bad experience of any kind at Mara's, and we eat here almost every week. Their prices are entirely reasonable for the portion sizes, freshness and quality ingredients of the food. Even at their busiest, we've never had cause to complain and our food always arrived perfectly prepared. One night David seemed oddly disappointed by the cornbread we were served (it tasted great to us) and he popped into the kitchen, returning with a dish of shrimp etouffee that he poured over the cornbread, elevating the already satisfying side dish to the point of sheer decadence. Mara's is a true gem among all the fool's gold of Manhattan restaurants.

TAKE OUT ONLY- if you must. – This is a great example of a place that could be good if somebody else was running it. They send out mass emails at least weekly BEGGING you to come in.. threatening that they will have to close if you do not..( how inviting!! ) One of the most recent emails asked customers to email Mara with suggestions on how they could get people to start coming back in again..

DO THEY NOT READ CITY SEARCH?? Maybe they should spend more time considering all of the reviews below mine, instead of posting defensive responses to each of them. As a person who has given up on this place, here is why take out is the only option here: the place smells like mildew (they say it is fish, I disagree- either way- it stinks, people are complaining- figure it out, FIX IT.) The prices are very high for dishes with a sprinkling of frozen popcorn shrimp on top (the Creole, etc..) The atmosphere is like eating in a fast food place (florescent lights, limited character.) But the main problem for us has been the attitude of the very over whelmed family who owns this place.

There used to be a girl there that we loved, but she seems to have realized she could do better. Only Mara remains, and she just doesn't understand customer service. We have actually seen Mara and her husband (?) yelling at each other in the middle of the "dining room" as if they were alone at home. It was so awkward that we haven't returned.

So do yourself a favor and if you must try this particular BBQ place. order take out.

Avoid unless you're looking for some real authentic Southern Hospitality – This is a good one. So four dark-skinned Indian folk walk into Mara's Homemade on a weeknight, I think a Tuesday. Mara's in the main entrance room, unpacking boxes, restaurant supplies, or something at one of the tables, and it reeks of old fish. "Hi. table for four," we say. Mara says "Do you have a reservation?" Us, "no." She's like "Hold on a minute." A man storms in shortly therefater (I suppose her hubby), "May I help you?" in a loud, disturbed voice, as if we didn't belong there. Before we answer, Mara butts in. " Table of four. NO RESERVATIONS." Mind you, the only ones in there were a family of light skinned folk in one of the secluded back rooms. Two or three other back room tables are empty. Mara finally leads us to a table in the fish stinking main room, where she's unpacking boxes on the next table. We politely decline, and proceed to walk out, "Um, Thank you but that's alright." She screams at us, "Um, What's wroong with this. " So apparently, even on a street teeming with Indian restaurants, in the heart of New York, you can find some good ol' Southern hospitality.

Thanks for keeping it real, Mara's Homemade.

This is a horribly dumpy east village spot apparently obsessed with reservations. Avoid.

The color of someones skin does not make any difference to us. The night that this party (which was NOT a Tuesday, since we are closed) came in we were booked with reservations. A restaurant may look empty when a party walks in, but if there are reservations over the next two hours the tables can not be used because they would not be available for the customer with the reservations. Thus, when someone walks in we ask, "Do you have a reservation?" We then check our tables and seat accordingly.

We have two rooms in our restaurant, the bar room and main dining room, with a total of 16 tables.

When these customers walked in the kitchen had just completed preparing the menu for the night, which includes going thru the soft and hard shell crabs for any that might have died. Within a few minutes the fish smell was out and no one else complained.

What a gem! – Cute cute cute & the food was delish! It was crowded, but friendly with really attentive service. Loved the meatloaf and the crawfish. Can't wait to go back!


Mara's Homemade (Reported Closed)

I also know what New Orleans food is suppose to at least emulate, THIS IS NOT THE PLACE i would NEVER go again .

From the crappy jalapeno cornbread to the soggy jambalaya,, the shrimp feast was horrid they were soggy spongy shrimp that are claimed to be shipped from the bayou,cooked FOUR ways and ,covered in zatarans crab boil mix , butter oil and crappy seasoning , the craw fish ettoufou was the worst thing i have eaten in my life the chef does not know how to make a proper roux or sauce , the craw fish were gray and tiny after a bite that was it for me, dont go near the specially flown in red snapper with creole mustad sauce (basically mustard and white wine )to smother this horrible quality fish ,flownin "I dont think so"

Did i mention i am also a commercial fisherman !

Last the was the the Cocky derby wearing guy with his stained shirt that he has probably worn for the previous 5 days who ran the place! With his decaying teeth and "make you want to puke smile", and total control freak attitude who had basically no control over his kitchen or wait staff. GOD HELP SYOSSET ! I totally agree with Amal D. So go if you want to pay for bad taste in you mouth for years !

Homemade fun. – I challenge you to find someone who would not consider the atmosphere charming. And the food is quite good, at reasonable prices.

Maras Homemade-just like home – I've been living in NYC since 2000. Originally I'm from South Mississippi where Crawfish is a part of our weekly diet. It took some time but my wife finally uncovered a GOLD MINE for me. Mara's is now my FAVORITE place to eat in all of NYC. The crawfish comes in a bucket with potatos, corn on the cobb and mushrooms - JUST LIKE BACK HOME!! There's even SAINTS (who dat!) Posters adorning the walls. No place is better.

Best Restaurant in the City, hands down. – I've been dining here for years. Ive read all thr reviews about the staff being rude, mean or rushing people out. Ive NEVER EVER experienced any of these.

The staff has ALWAYS been courteous to me and my wife.Ive had birthday parties here and family gatherings. Ive taken half the restaurant and Ive taken a single table by myself, Ive always enjoyed myself. Food has always been spot on (especially the BBQ). After eating BBQ here, Ive been looking for better. Ive been to Northern Cali, Miami, Orlando, Boston THIS IS STILL MY FAVE!

Prices have gone up, but considering how good it is, its always worth the splurge.

Mara also does cooking classes which seem interesting.

Will not be returning – Went there last night to meet a friend for dinner and was asked to leave after inquiring about a table and a fifteen minute seating wait (with 3 tables avail). I was told that a big party was leaving and that we would get two seats up front. Those tables were cleared and they sat others waiting who had arrived after. I asked about our seat, reminding that we were also waiting, and was told, "Probably will not be able to please you, it would be best if you would leave" by owner David. A personal first to be asked to leave a restaurant after inquiring about seating! Suggest those with interest read posts here and on other sites before deciding on Mara's- odd behavior from owners and poor service are both common if you read through comments.

Funky cajun joint specializes in crawfish. – Despite its East Village locale, Mara's homemade has an undeniable Arkansas/Louisiana authenticity. For some patrons, it may be too authentic, given how messy and anatomically challenging the crawfish dinners can be. But on the other hand, the jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, pepper cornbread and other southern specialties are well-made, cheap and arrive in copious portions. The room is as raucous and homey as a roadside joint on Highway 3, which makes it a favorite of the young crowd that lives and hangs out nearby.

Key Lime Goodness! – It's hard to find good Key Lime Pie in the City. Too often, the taste is wrong, the texture is off or worse: it tastes pre-packaged. That's why it was a delight to discover the perfect Key Lime pie at Mara's Homemade!

The taste is sweet with the right balance of key lime. The texture is firm but creamy, complimented by a thin graham crust. Best of all, there's no whipped cream or other frippery to distract you from the subtle nuances of this rare treat. It succeeds on its own, as the best pies do.

If you're in the mood for a Southern delight done right, head over to Mara's and grab a slice of Key Lime Pie. You won't be disappointed!

Smells like a public TOILET. – I can't believe this place is once again a top NYC BBQ spot. The restaurant smelled like an open sewer when my brother and I went last summer after it had just made the list. The food is horrible, the drinks weak, and the atmosphere like something out of a Third Avenue, frat-boy nightmare.

Anyone who thinks that this is good BBQ has never had it. and has no palate.

Never AGAIN!! – I do not recommend this place to anyone. It was by far the most awkward dining experience of my life. First, they couldn?t seat us right away even though we made reservations (no biggie, pretty normal). But, literally 5 minutes after we were seated, both Mara and her husband came to our table yelling at us because we had not ordered yet. On top of that, it took 20 minutes for our drinks to come, not to mention, they were brought one by one in 5 minute increments. They then proceeded to tell us that we could not leave the table or go outside to make a phone call or have a cigarette and that the next person to leave would not only not be able to come back in, but would also have the cops called on them. We were then told that we could not use the bathroom because of a ?recent theft??I don?t even know what that means I guess someone stole toilet paper? Mara and her husband both need a serious attitude adjustment. We are not guests in your home (thank God), we are paying customers, learn how to run a business. I don?t know if they treat all of their customers like this, or just parties of 12 spending over $700. Oh, and the food was just ok, nothing special at all.

BEST PO BOYS IN THE TRISTATE AREA! – Mara has inspired me to write my 1st review on CitySearch in 8 years of using the site. If you are looking for the best po boys short of going to the Washington metro area, RUN to Mara's. Being a New Orleans (N.O.) BK transplant, I have tried them at most other other New York area restaurants (Cooking with Jazz, Mardi Gras, Delta Grill, Stan's Place, Bayou, ect) and another that has since closed in Hell's Kitchen.

I'm so happy some else appreciates Gulf Coast seafood besides me (oysters from anywhere else taste totally different plus they have a bunch of green yucky stuff in them and if I get one more shrimp po boy made from breaded frozen shrimp, I'm going to beat them. then tar and feather them. That's a mortal sin in South Louisiana (LA). Mara's does it right with fresh seafood fried using corn meal/flour on a french baguette - the closest thing you can get to N.O. style french bread in NYC - at a great price especially when you consider that she imports seafood and has to have fresh bread available 7 days a week. The jambalaya wasn't bad either.

Just one more thing, her restaurant smells fine. Anyone who grew up in an area where you eat seafood frequently year round (South LA, Coastal Maine) knows you can't have fresh seafood with some odor. That's why grandma made paran clean the fresh catfish we used to catch in the backyard.

They are the most authentic Creole/Cajun restaurant, I have been to so far in the tri-state area, You will have to take a 2.5 hr flight to N.O. to get anything better.

PS - They have Abita Root Beer brewed in LA and sweetened with LA Sugar cane syrup not HFCS for all you Root Beer/Specialty Soda heads out there it's sweet n smooth.

Best Etouffe, Hurricanes & Barbecue - Friedliness Abound – We love Mara's for the great New Orleans food & barbecue. We also enjoy being there because we are always welcomed by Mara & her husband David & usually served by daughter Hannah. What more can you ask for?! This cute little restaurant serves great food that ishard to find anywhere else in the city - like crawfish boil and crawfish etouffe. One bite and it takes you back to New Orleans - pre-Katrina! The barbecue is excellent also, but we usually go there for the hurricanes and Cajun/Creole cuisines. You will never be disappointed.

So Much for "Southern Hospitality" – Upon arriving to this restaurant, we were rushed to sit down because another party was coming to take our place at 7pm. we arrived around 5:15pm. The woman seating and serving us was very nasty. whom we believed to be Mara herself. The food was authentic according to my good friend from New Orleans who was in our party, but extremely overpriced. Mara acted like it was a chore to wait on our party of 8 and tried to rush everything along. I did witness her abusing one of her employees by slamming the walk in freezer door in his face and yelling at him. This is definately a family-own/run business. When it came time for dessert Mara rushed us and said that we could not look at the menu but were welcome to take a whole Key Lime Pie home for $15. Every dessert someone in our party mentioned Mara replied with. "Yes, TO GO!" All in all it was a horrible experience and I don't care how authentic the food was, the awful service will keep me from going back to Mara's Homemade. Oh, one last note. we paid mostly in cash. our bill for 8 people came out to over $400 and we put in $333 cash and the rest on one person's credit card. Mara came back to the table with the receipt for the card to sign reflecting that only $313 in cash was given. The cash was counted a number of times and was definately $333, somehow $20 of our cash payment didn't make it from our table to the register. I don't understand how this place has so many great reviews. don't believe them! This is the truth!

Best Crab Fingers, Great Seafood and BBQ – My husband and I have been coming to Mara's for years. As a native NYer, I've seen family owned and historic buisnesses get shut down and replaced by fashionable- yet terrible- overpriced establishments.

Mara's is the real deal, a great mom and pop restaurant with family recipies you will not find from any celebrity chef. You might have to wait a little longer (small family wait-staff), but it's well worth it. They work hard and take pride in getting the best seafood from Fulton market.

The only problem is that you will be tempted to fill up on the great assortment of appetizers before you even get to the entree, and then get so stuffed you can't move at the end of the meal.

Personal faves: Crab fingers (must dip bread in marinade), artichoke dip, pulled pork and the beignets.

Seasonal specialties: soft shell crabs, crawfish and steamers.

* I'd also like to comment on the bad reviews- this ISN't a Yuppie East Village restaurant with a professional kiss-your-tuchus wait staff and interior design- Mara and her family are nice, but if you're 20 minutes late for your reservation, they're not going to bend over backwords to seat you and delay the next party's reservation after you. The food isn't sitting around waiting to be microwaved for your order, so yeah, you might have to wait till it's cooked.

Amazing BBQ in NYC – I'm a first time writer, but thoughtful and objective. The meal I had at Mara's Homemade was one of the top 10 best meals I've ever tasted. I'm not an expert on BBQ, but to the chagrin of my wife and doctor it is what I would choose to eat just about every night. Closer to the late Pies N' Thighs than Blue Smoke in atmosphere. I ordered the pulled pork platter - a delicious smoked meat plate with a well-crafted rub. Although it was equally scrumptious, I was able to use as little sauce as I wanted, as it came on the side - a big plus. The meat was so moist, it really didn't need sauce at all. The homemade sweet tea tasted more like candy than tea, and there was no weak link, with perfect corn pudding and potato salad. For dessert, I had Bluegrass Pie - a chocolate pecan bourbon masterpiece in a graham cracker crust.

The staff is a trip. I found them to be pretty New-York-straight-forward. Some people interpret this as "poor customer service," but I strongly disagree. Mara was a sweetheart who was short staffed the night we went, but the food came out promptly and her amazing deadpan humor kept us laughing. Strongly recommended if you like BBQ and characters.

Average Ribs, Good Service – I ordered the rib combo (half raack St. Louis, half raack baby back). They are served with the sauce on the side, which I fully endorse. Why drown the ribs with sauce? While the ribs have a somewhat smoky taste and are very tender, they are not very tasty. I'm not sure if it's the way they are seasoned. But with a dousing of BBQ sauce, they were somewhat better . although I believe ribs should be tasty without the sauce. Comparing with other BBQ places in the city, this was quite avg/mediocre. Smoked corn on the cob and mashed potatoes were interesting.

The place is very small. The service was fine, they are very nice friendly people. On a warm summer night, the front door was open and that affected the A/C.

Its ok – In reading the many complaints about service, I would have to disagree based on my one (and probably only) time at Mara's. The wait staff was pleasant and friendly but it was the food and the portions that earned my three star rating. I always associate southern food with big, hearty portions and my friend and I opened our mouths in surprise when we saw how few pieces we had on our Fisherman's Platter. We also had the fried okra and the jambalaya, which we didn't finish even though I wasn't very full. I did notice the smell of seafood as soon as I walked into the restaurant but it wasn't malodorous to the point that I wanted to walk out. In summary, the food at Mara's provided my meal for that evening but it was far from a culinary experience.

Good food, but hardly worth it! – Although the food at Mara's was mostly excellent and some of the only authentic cajun/southern food I've found in NYC, the rude service ruined our experience. We had reservations. Two of our party were running late and after only about 10-15 minutes after we arrived, they took their chairs, saying the needed space for another party. Because our party was mostly young (in our 20's) it seemed the staff assumed the worst about us from the beginning. They demanded that we order immediately, before we'd really had a chance to read through the menu. Some members of our party wanted to order multiple side dishes instead of entres, and even though the cost came out to about the same, the staff accused us of trying to bankrupt them! They told us we were not spending enough money (we spent about $20 per person) and made my friends extremely uncomfortable. If they had an official minimum per-person charge, we would have paid it, but instead, they just decided to spring on the pressure when we were ordering. Moreover, we would have spent more money anyway, but they were all out of a number of menu items we tried to order and our options were very limited. It also took 20 minutes to get them to bring us a glass of water, and the space was extremely cramped and noisy. We had originally planned to stay for dessert, but the service was so intolerable we ate and left as quickly as possible and just went to a diner so our late friends, who had not been allowed to join us, could get something to eat.

That said, the food was mostly excellent. Although some of the vegetables were very bland (especially the fried okra), I enjoyed the sampler plate immensely. It included very flavorful red beans and rice as well as excellent jambalaya with real andouille sausage -- a rarity outside of Louisiana. If you really crave authentic Louisiana food in New York, it might be worth braving the staff, but I would recommend taking your business elsewhere!

You get friendlier service at the DMV – I can't believe how we were treated. We were told we couldn't have any desserts that were warm because they needed our table for another party coming in. Then when we asked for change for a $20 they refused to until we paid for the entire check first saying they were afraid that we would run out on the check. One of our party is pregnant and all of us ranged in ages from our late 20's to early 40's and the tiny restaurant had their cashier right by the only exit.

Delicious BBQ – In a city where either overpriced or mediocre BBQ restaurants are a the norm, it's refreshing to find a delicious place that's reasonably priced. It's tricky though, because it's easy to get caught up in the options that by the time dessert and after-dinner bourbon come around, you've run up quite the bill. The selection of unusual Louisiana draft beers doesn't hurt either. Mara herself served us and took the time to recommend food/sauce combinations from a selection of condiments that she makes herself. The Ultimate Combo plate is great for sharing and includes a bit of everything. The mac n' cheese is especially dazzling. The brisket, fabulous. The interior is a bit tight and the decor strange but in the low light of the evening can be surprisingly romantic. We LOVE this place.

really unpleasant – The first thing that I noticed was the smell. I do not mind the smell of fresh fish or seafood but this was neither. It smelled like a clogged drain pipe. The food tasted like the recipes were clipped from a bad womens magazine. I wonder If "Mara" knows what Homemade means. Adding creole seasoning to store bought mayo does not make a homemade remoulade . The chicken gumbo tasted decent but was obviously made from a concentrated chicken base. The Barbecue was very dry and tasted like it had been reheated several times. Mara's has food like grandma makes, if grandma works for Stouffer's or Lean Cuisine. There are a lot of great Cajun places in New York so do not waste time or money at this place.

More Than The Great Food - Mara's Makes Us Feel Like Family – Mara's is our favorite place in all of Manhattan for a relaxing, comforting and truly satisfying meal. Unlike so many sterile, over-designed places in NYC, Mara's feels like you've been invited to a friendly neighbor's house for a feast of real Southern cooking. David at the bar always remembers our regular drinks and has introduced us to new favorites, and Mara offers hugs and the solace of her real home-style cooking to soothe our nerves after a busy work week. Nothing is frozen, hastily prepared or microwaved-to-death in her kitchen: the crawfish and alligator are the freshest we've eaten since our last New Orleans visit, and the BBQ is moist and tender with a perfect smoky flavor. We love the spicy shrimp creole, which is made from the old family recipe of David's grandmother. Everything is made with care and love, from the sublime BBQ sauce to the amazing corn pudding to the absolutely sinful desserts. We've seen heads turn at other tables as the smell of the dark chocolate sauce hitting our warm chocolate souffle fills the room. Don't let the strangely negative reviews here put you off - we honestly haven't had a single bad experience of any kind at Mara's, and we eat here almost every week. Their prices are entirely reasonable for the portion sizes, freshness and quality ingredients of the food. Even at their busiest, we've never had cause to complain and our food always arrived perfectly prepared. One night David seemed oddly disappointed by the cornbread we were served (it tasted great to us) and he popped into the kitchen, returning with a dish of shrimp etouffee that he poured over the cornbread, elevating the already satisfying side dish to the point of sheer decadence. Mara's is a true gem among all the fool's gold of Manhattan restaurants.

TAKE OUT ONLY- if you must. – This is a great example of a place that could be good if somebody else was running it. They send out mass emails at least weekly BEGGING you to come in.. threatening that they will have to close if you do not..( how inviting!! ) One of the most recent emails asked customers to email Mara with suggestions on how they could get people to start coming back in again..

DO THEY NOT READ CITY SEARCH?? Maybe they should spend more time considering all of the reviews below mine, instead of posting defensive responses to each of them. As a person who has given up on this place, here is why take out is the only option here: the place smells like mildew (they say it is fish, I disagree- either way- it stinks, people are complaining- figure it out, FIX IT.) The prices are very high for dishes with a sprinkling of frozen popcorn shrimp on top (the Creole, etc..) The atmosphere is like eating in a fast food place (florescent lights, limited character.) But the main problem for us has been the attitude of the very over whelmed family who owns this place.

There used to be a girl there that we loved, but she seems to have realized she could do better. Only Mara remains, and she just doesn't understand customer service. We have actually seen Mara and her husband (?) yelling at each other in the middle of the "dining room" as if they were alone at home. It was so awkward that we haven't returned.

So do yourself a favor and if you must try this particular BBQ place. order take out.

Avoid unless you're looking for some real authentic Southern Hospitality – This is a good one. So four dark-skinned Indian folk walk into Mara's Homemade on a weeknight, I think a Tuesday. Mara's in the main entrance room, unpacking boxes, restaurant supplies, or something at one of the tables, and it reeks of old fish. "Hi. table for four," we say. Mara says "Do you have a reservation?" Us, "no." She's like "Hold on a minute." A man storms in shortly therefater (I suppose her hubby), "May I help you?" in a loud, disturbed voice, as if we didn't belong there. Before we answer, Mara butts in. " Table of four. NO RESERVATIONS." Mind you, the only ones in there were a family of light skinned folk in one of the secluded back rooms. Two or three other back room tables are empty. Mara finally leads us to a table in the fish stinking main room, where she's unpacking boxes on the next table. We politely decline, and proceed to walk out, "Um, Thank you but that's alright." She screams at us, "Um, What's wroong with this. " So apparently, even on a street teeming with Indian restaurants, in the heart of New York, you can find some good ol' Southern hospitality.

Thanks for keeping it real, Mara's Homemade.

This is a horribly dumpy east village spot apparently obsessed with reservations. Avoid.

The color of someones skin does not make any difference to us. The night that this party (which was NOT a Tuesday, since we are closed) came in we were booked with reservations. A restaurant may look empty when a party walks in, but if there are reservations over the next two hours the tables can not be used because they would not be available for the customer with the reservations. Thus, when someone walks in we ask, "Do you have a reservation?" We then check our tables and seat accordingly.

We have two rooms in our restaurant, the bar room and main dining room, with a total of 16 tables.

When these customers walked in the kitchen had just completed preparing the menu for the night, which includes going thru the soft and hard shell crabs for any that might have died. Within a few minutes the fish smell was out and no one else complained.

What a gem! – Cute cute cute & the food was delish! It was crowded, but friendly with really attentive service. Loved the meatloaf and the crawfish. Can't wait to go back!


Mara's Homemade (Reported Closed)

I also know what New Orleans food is suppose to at least emulate, THIS IS NOT THE PLACE i would NEVER go again .

From the crappy jalapeno cornbread to the soggy jambalaya,, the shrimp feast was horrid they were soggy spongy shrimp that are claimed to be shipped from the bayou,cooked FOUR ways and ,covered in zatarans crab boil mix , butter oil and crappy seasoning , the craw fish ettoufou was the worst thing i have eaten in my life the chef does not know how to make a proper roux or sauce , the craw fish were gray and tiny after a bite that was it for me, dont go near the specially flown in red snapper with creole mustad sauce (basically mustard and white wine )to smother this horrible quality fish ,flownin "I dont think so"

Did i mention i am also a commercial fisherman !

Last the was the the Cocky derby wearing guy with his stained shirt that he has probably worn for the previous 5 days who ran the place! With his decaying teeth and "make you want to puke smile", and total control freak attitude who had basically no control over his kitchen or wait staff. GOD HELP SYOSSET ! I totally agree with Amal D. So go if you want to pay for bad taste in you mouth for years !

Homemade fun. – I challenge you to find someone who would not consider the atmosphere charming. And the food is quite good, at reasonable prices.

Maras Homemade-just like home – I've been living in NYC since 2000. Originally I'm from South Mississippi where Crawfish is a part of our weekly diet. It took some time but my wife finally uncovered a GOLD MINE for me. Mara's is now my FAVORITE place to eat in all of NYC. The crawfish comes in a bucket with potatos, corn on the cobb and mushrooms - JUST LIKE BACK HOME!! There's even SAINTS (who dat!) Posters adorning the walls. No place is better.

Best Restaurant in the City, hands down. – I've been dining here for years. Ive read all thr reviews about the staff being rude, mean or rushing people out. Ive NEVER EVER experienced any of these.

The staff has ALWAYS been courteous to me and my wife.Ive had birthday parties here and family gatherings. Ive taken half the restaurant and Ive taken a single table by myself, Ive always enjoyed myself. Food has always been spot on (especially the BBQ). After eating BBQ here, Ive been looking for better. Ive been to Northern Cali, Miami, Orlando, Boston THIS IS STILL MY FAVE!

Prices have gone up, but considering how good it is, its always worth the splurge.

Mara also does cooking classes which seem interesting.

Will not be returning – Went there last night to meet a friend for dinner and was asked to leave after inquiring about a table and a fifteen minute seating wait (with 3 tables avail). I was told that a big party was leaving and that we would get two seats up front. Those tables were cleared and they sat others waiting who had arrived after. I asked about our seat, reminding that we were also waiting, and was told, "Probably will not be able to please you, it would be best if you would leave" by owner David. A personal first to be asked to leave a restaurant after inquiring about seating! Suggest those with interest read posts here and on other sites before deciding on Mara's- odd behavior from owners and poor service are both common if you read through comments.

Funky cajun joint specializes in crawfish. – Despite its East Village locale, Mara's homemade has an undeniable Arkansas/Louisiana authenticity. For some patrons, it may be too authentic, given how messy and anatomically challenging the crawfish dinners can be. But on the other hand, the jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, pepper cornbread and other southern specialties are well-made, cheap and arrive in copious portions. The room is as raucous and homey as a roadside joint on Highway 3, which makes it a favorite of the young crowd that lives and hangs out nearby.

Key Lime Goodness! – It's hard to find good Key Lime Pie in the City. Too often, the taste is wrong, the texture is off or worse: it tastes pre-packaged. That's why it was a delight to discover the perfect Key Lime pie at Mara's Homemade!

The taste is sweet with the right balance of key lime. The texture is firm but creamy, complimented by a thin graham crust. Best of all, there's no whipped cream or other frippery to distract you from the subtle nuances of this rare treat. It succeeds on its own, as the best pies do.

If you're in the mood for a Southern delight done right, head over to Mara's and grab a slice of Key Lime Pie. You won't be disappointed!

Smells like a public TOILET. – I can't believe this place is once again a top NYC BBQ spot. The restaurant smelled like an open sewer when my brother and I went last summer after it had just made the list. The food is horrible, the drinks weak, and the atmosphere like something out of a Third Avenue, frat-boy nightmare.

Anyone who thinks that this is good BBQ has never had it. and has no palate.

Never AGAIN!! – I do not recommend this place to anyone. It was by far the most awkward dining experience of my life. First, they couldn?t seat us right away even though we made reservations (no biggie, pretty normal). But, literally 5 minutes after we were seated, both Mara and her husband came to our table yelling at us because we had not ordered yet. On top of that, it took 20 minutes for our drinks to come, not to mention, they were brought one by one in 5 minute increments. They then proceeded to tell us that we could not leave the table or go outside to make a phone call or have a cigarette and that the next person to leave would not only not be able to come back in, but would also have the cops called on them. We were then told that we could not use the bathroom because of a ?recent theft??I don?t even know what that means I guess someone stole toilet paper? Mara and her husband both need a serious attitude adjustment. We are not guests in your home (thank God), we are paying customers, learn how to run a business. I don?t know if they treat all of their customers like this, or just parties of 12 spending over $700. Oh, and the food was just ok, nothing special at all.

BEST PO BOYS IN THE TRISTATE AREA! – Mara has inspired me to write my 1st review on CitySearch in 8 years of using the site. If you are looking for the best po boys short of going to the Washington metro area, RUN to Mara's. Being a New Orleans (N.O.) BK transplant, I have tried them at most other other New York area restaurants (Cooking with Jazz, Mardi Gras, Delta Grill, Stan's Place, Bayou, ect) and another that has since closed in Hell's Kitchen.

I'm so happy some else appreciates Gulf Coast seafood besides me (oysters from anywhere else taste totally different plus they have a bunch of green yucky stuff in them and if I get one more shrimp po boy made from breaded frozen shrimp, I'm going to beat them. then tar and feather them. That's a mortal sin in South Louisiana (LA). Mara's does it right with fresh seafood fried using corn meal/flour on a french baguette - the closest thing you can get to N.O. style french bread in NYC - at a great price especially when you consider that she imports seafood and has to have fresh bread available 7 days a week. The jambalaya wasn't bad either.

Just one more thing, her restaurant smells fine. Anyone who grew up in an area where you eat seafood frequently year round (South LA, Coastal Maine) knows you can't have fresh seafood with some odor. That's why grandma made paran clean the fresh catfish we used to catch in the backyard.

They are the most authentic Creole/Cajun restaurant, I have been to so far in the tri-state area, You will have to take a 2.5 hr flight to N.O. to get anything better.

PS - They have Abita Root Beer brewed in LA and sweetened with LA Sugar cane syrup not HFCS for all you Root Beer/Specialty Soda heads out there it's sweet n smooth.

Best Etouffe, Hurricanes & Barbecue - Friedliness Abound – We love Mara's for the great New Orleans food & barbecue. We also enjoy being there because we are always welcomed by Mara & her husband David & usually served by daughter Hannah. What more can you ask for?! This cute little restaurant serves great food that ishard to find anywhere else in the city - like crawfish boil and crawfish etouffe. One bite and it takes you back to New Orleans - pre-Katrina! The barbecue is excellent also, but we usually go there for the hurricanes and Cajun/Creole cuisines. You will never be disappointed.

So Much for "Southern Hospitality" – Upon arriving to this restaurant, we were rushed to sit down because another party was coming to take our place at 7pm. we arrived around 5:15pm. The woman seating and serving us was very nasty. whom we believed to be Mara herself. The food was authentic according to my good friend from New Orleans who was in our party, but extremely overpriced. Mara acted like it was a chore to wait on our party of 8 and tried to rush everything along. I did witness her abusing one of her employees by slamming the walk in freezer door in his face and yelling at him. This is definately a family-own/run business. When it came time for dessert Mara rushed us and said that we could not look at the menu but were welcome to take a whole Key Lime Pie home for $15. Every dessert someone in our party mentioned Mara replied with. "Yes, TO GO!" All in all it was a horrible experience and I don't care how authentic the food was, the awful service will keep me from going back to Mara's Homemade. Oh, one last note. we paid mostly in cash. our bill for 8 people came out to over $400 and we put in $333 cash and the rest on one person's credit card. Mara came back to the table with the receipt for the card to sign reflecting that only $313 in cash was given. The cash was counted a number of times and was definately $333, somehow $20 of our cash payment didn't make it from our table to the register. I don't understand how this place has so many great reviews. don't believe them! This is the truth!

Best Crab Fingers, Great Seafood and BBQ – My husband and I have been coming to Mara's for years. As a native NYer, I've seen family owned and historic buisnesses get shut down and replaced by fashionable- yet terrible- overpriced establishments.

Mara's is the real deal, a great mom and pop restaurant with family recipies you will not find from any celebrity chef. You might have to wait a little longer (small family wait-staff), but it's well worth it. They work hard and take pride in getting the best seafood from Fulton market.

The only problem is that you will be tempted to fill up on the great assortment of appetizers before you even get to the entree, and then get so stuffed you can't move at the end of the meal.

Personal faves: Crab fingers (must dip bread in marinade), artichoke dip, pulled pork and the beignets.

Seasonal specialties: soft shell crabs, crawfish and steamers.

* I'd also like to comment on the bad reviews- this ISN't a Yuppie East Village restaurant with a professional kiss-your-tuchus wait staff and interior design- Mara and her family are nice, but if you're 20 minutes late for your reservation, they're not going to bend over backwords to seat you and delay the next party's reservation after you. The food isn't sitting around waiting to be microwaved for your order, so yeah, you might have to wait till it's cooked.

Amazing BBQ in NYC – I'm a first time writer, but thoughtful and objective. The meal I had at Mara's Homemade was one of the top 10 best meals I've ever tasted. I'm not an expert on BBQ, but to the chagrin of my wife and doctor it is what I would choose to eat just about every night. Closer to the late Pies N' Thighs than Blue Smoke in atmosphere. I ordered the pulled pork platter - a delicious smoked meat plate with a well-crafted rub. Although it was equally scrumptious, I was able to use as little sauce as I wanted, as it came on the side - a big plus. The meat was so moist, it really didn't need sauce at all. The homemade sweet tea tasted more like candy than tea, and there was no weak link, with perfect corn pudding and potato salad. For dessert, I had Bluegrass Pie - a chocolate pecan bourbon masterpiece in a graham cracker crust.

The staff is a trip. I found them to be pretty New-York-straight-forward. Some people interpret this as "poor customer service," but I strongly disagree. Mara was a sweetheart who was short staffed the night we went, but the food came out promptly and her amazing deadpan humor kept us laughing. Strongly recommended if you like BBQ and characters.

Average Ribs, Good Service – I ordered the rib combo (half raack St. Louis, half raack baby back). They are served with the sauce on the side, which I fully endorse. Why drown the ribs with sauce? While the ribs have a somewhat smoky taste and are very tender, they are not very tasty. I'm not sure if it's the way they are seasoned. But with a dousing of BBQ sauce, they were somewhat better . although I believe ribs should be tasty without the sauce. Comparing with other BBQ places in the city, this was quite avg/mediocre. Smoked corn on the cob and mashed potatoes were interesting.

The place is very small. The service was fine, they are very nice friendly people. On a warm summer night, the front door was open and that affected the A/C.

Its ok – In reading the many complaints about service, I would have to disagree based on my one (and probably only) time at Mara's. The wait staff was pleasant and friendly but it was the food and the portions that earned my three star rating. I always associate southern food with big, hearty portions and my friend and I opened our mouths in surprise when we saw how few pieces we had on our Fisherman's Platter. We also had the fried okra and the jambalaya, which we didn't finish even though I wasn't very full. I did notice the smell of seafood as soon as I walked into the restaurant but it wasn't malodorous to the point that I wanted to walk out. In summary, the food at Mara's provided my meal for that evening but it was far from a culinary experience.

Good food, but hardly worth it! – Although the food at Mara's was mostly excellent and some of the only authentic cajun/southern food I've found in NYC, the rude service ruined our experience. We had reservations. Two of our party were running late and after only about 10-15 minutes after we arrived, they took their chairs, saying the needed space for another party. Because our party was mostly young (in our 20's) it seemed the staff assumed the worst about us from the beginning. They demanded that we order immediately, before we'd really had a chance to read through the menu. Some members of our party wanted to order multiple side dishes instead of entres, and even though the cost came out to about the same, the staff accused us of trying to bankrupt them! They told us we were not spending enough money (we spent about $20 per person) and made my friends extremely uncomfortable. If they had an official minimum per-person charge, we would have paid it, but instead, they just decided to spring on the pressure when we were ordering. Moreover, we would have spent more money anyway, but they were all out of a number of menu items we tried to order and our options were very limited. It also took 20 minutes to get them to bring us a glass of water, and the space was extremely cramped and noisy. We had originally planned to stay for dessert, but the service was so intolerable we ate and left as quickly as possible and just went to a diner so our late friends, who had not been allowed to join us, could get something to eat.

That said, the food was mostly excellent. Although some of the vegetables were very bland (especially the fried okra), I enjoyed the sampler plate immensely. It included very flavorful red beans and rice as well as excellent jambalaya with real andouille sausage -- a rarity outside of Louisiana. If you really crave authentic Louisiana food in New York, it might be worth braving the staff, but I would recommend taking your business elsewhere!

You get friendlier service at the DMV – I can't believe how we were treated. We were told we couldn't have any desserts that were warm because they needed our table for another party coming in. Then when we asked for change for a $20 they refused to until we paid for the entire check first saying they were afraid that we would run out on the check. One of our party is pregnant and all of us ranged in ages from our late 20's to early 40's and the tiny restaurant had their cashier right by the only exit.

Delicious BBQ – In a city where either overpriced or mediocre BBQ restaurants are a the norm, it's refreshing to find a delicious place that's reasonably priced. It's tricky though, because it's easy to get caught up in the options that by the time dessert and after-dinner bourbon come around, you've run up quite the bill. The selection of unusual Louisiana draft beers doesn't hurt either. Mara herself served us and took the time to recommend food/sauce combinations from a selection of condiments that she makes herself. The Ultimate Combo plate is great for sharing and includes a bit of everything. The mac n' cheese is especially dazzling. The brisket, fabulous. The interior is a bit tight and the decor strange but in the low light of the evening can be surprisingly romantic. We LOVE this place.

really unpleasant – The first thing that I noticed was the smell. I do not mind the smell of fresh fish or seafood but this was neither. It smelled like a clogged drain pipe. The food tasted like the recipes were clipped from a bad womens magazine. I wonder If "Mara" knows what Homemade means. Adding creole seasoning to store bought mayo does not make a homemade remoulade . The chicken gumbo tasted decent but was obviously made from a concentrated chicken base. The Barbecue was very dry and tasted like it had been reheated several times. Mara's has food like grandma makes, if grandma works for Stouffer's or Lean Cuisine. There are a lot of great Cajun places in New York so do not waste time or money at this place.

More Than The Great Food - Mara's Makes Us Feel Like Family – Mara's is our favorite place in all of Manhattan for a relaxing, comforting and truly satisfying meal. Unlike so many sterile, over-designed places in NYC, Mara's feels like you've been invited to a friendly neighbor's house for a feast of real Southern cooking. David at the bar always remembers our regular drinks and has introduced us to new favorites, and Mara offers hugs and the solace of her real home-style cooking to soothe our nerves after a busy work week. Nothing is frozen, hastily prepared or microwaved-to-death in her kitchen: the crawfish and alligator are the freshest we've eaten since our last New Orleans visit, and the BBQ is moist and tender with a perfect smoky flavor. We love the spicy shrimp creole, which is made from the old family recipe of David's grandmother. Everything is made with care and love, from the sublime BBQ sauce to the amazing corn pudding to the absolutely sinful desserts. We've seen heads turn at other tables as the smell of the dark chocolate sauce hitting our warm chocolate souffle fills the room. Don't let the strangely negative reviews here put you off - we honestly haven't had a single bad experience of any kind at Mara's, and we eat here almost every week. Their prices are entirely reasonable for the portion sizes, freshness and quality ingredients of the food. Even at their busiest, we've never had cause to complain and our food always arrived perfectly prepared. One night David seemed oddly disappointed by the cornbread we were served (it tasted great to us) and he popped into the kitchen, returning with a dish of shrimp etouffee that he poured over the cornbread, elevating the already satisfying side dish to the point of sheer decadence. Mara's is a true gem among all the fool's gold of Manhattan restaurants.

TAKE OUT ONLY- if you must. – This is a great example of a place that could be good if somebody else was running it. They send out mass emails at least weekly BEGGING you to come in.. threatening that they will have to close if you do not..( how inviting!! ) One of the most recent emails asked customers to email Mara with suggestions on how they could get people to start coming back in again..

DO THEY NOT READ CITY SEARCH?? Maybe they should spend more time considering all of the reviews below mine, instead of posting defensive responses to each of them. As a person who has given up on this place, here is why take out is the only option here: the place smells like mildew (they say it is fish, I disagree- either way- it stinks, people are complaining- figure it out, FIX IT.) The prices are very high for dishes with a sprinkling of frozen popcorn shrimp on top (the Creole, etc..) The atmosphere is like eating in a fast food place (florescent lights, limited character.) But the main problem for us has been the attitude of the very over whelmed family who owns this place.

There used to be a girl there that we loved, but she seems to have realized she could do better. Only Mara remains, and she just doesn't understand customer service. We have actually seen Mara and her husband (?) yelling at each other in the middle of the "dining room" as if they were alone at home. It was so awkward that we haven't returned.

So do yourself a favor and if you must try this particular BBQ place. order take out.

Avoid unless you're looking for some real authentic Southern Hospitality – This is a good one. So four dark-skinned Indian folk walk into Mara's Homemade on a weeknight, I think a Tuesday. Mara's in the main entrance room, unpacking boxes, restaurant supplies, or something at one of the tables, and it reeks of old fish. "Hi. table for four," we say. Mara says "Do you have a reservation?" Us, "no." She's like "Hold on a minute." A man storms in shortly therefater (I suppose her hubby), "May I help you?" in a loud, disturbed voice, as if we didn't belong there. Before we answer, Mara butts in. " Table of four. NO RESERVATIONS." Mind you, the only ones in there were a family of light skinned folk in one of the secluded back rooms. Two or three other back room tables are empty. Mara finally leads us to a table in the fish stinking main room, where she's unpacking boxes on the next table. We politely decline, and proceed to walk out, "Um, Thank you but that's alright." She screams at us, "Um, What's wroong with this. " So apparently, even on a street teeming with Indian restaurants, in the heart of New York, you can find some good ol' Southern hospitality.

Thanks for keeping it real, Mara's Homemade.

This is a horribly dumpy east village spot apparently obsessed with reservations. Avoid.

The color of someones skin does not make any difference to us. The night that this party (which was NOT a Tuesday, since we are closed) came in we were booked with reservations. A restaurant may look empty when a party walks in, but if there are reservations over the next two hours the tables can not be used because they would not be available for the customer with the reservations. Thus, when someone walks in we ask, "Do you have a reservation?" We then check our tables and seat accordingly.

We have two rooms in our restaurant, the bar room and main dining room, with a total of 16 tables.

When these customers walked in the kitchen had just completed preparing the menu for the night, which includes going thru the soft and hard shell crabs for any that might have died. Within a few minutes the fish smell was out and no one else complained.

What a gem! – Cute cute cute & the food was delish! It was crowded, but friendly with really attentive service. Loved the meatloaf and the crawfish. Can't wait to go back!


Mara's Homemade (Reported Closed)

I also know what New Orleans food is suppose to at least emulate, THIS IS NOT THE PLACE i would NEVER go again .

From the crappy jalapeno cornbread to the soggy jambalaya,, the shrimp feast was horrid they were soggy spongy shrimp that are claimed to be shipped from the bayou,cooked FOUR ways and ,covered in zatarans crab boil mix , butter oil and crappy seasoning , the craw fish ettoufou was the worst thing i have eaten in my life the chef does not know how to make a proper roux or sauce , the craw fish were gray and tiny after a bite that was it for me, dont go near the specially flown in red snapper with creole mustad sauce (basically mustard and white wine )to smother this horrible quality fish ,flownin "I dont think so"

Did i mention i am also a commercial fisherman !

Last the was the the Cocky derby wearing guy with his stained shirt that he has probably worn for the previous 5 days who ran the place! With his decaying teeth and "make you want to puke smile", and total control freak attitude who had basically no control over his kitchen or wait staff. GOD HELP SYOSSET ! I totally agree with Amal D. So go if you want to pay for bad taste in you mouth for years !

Homemade fun. – I challenge you to find someone who would not consider the atmosphere charming. And the food is quite good, at reasonable prices.

Maras Homemade-just like home – I've been living in NYC since 2000. Originally I'm from South Mississippi where Crawfish is a part of our weekly diet. It took some time but my wife finally uncovered a GOLD MINE for me. Mara's is now my FAVORITE place to eat in all of NYC. The crawfish comes in a bucket with potatos, corn on the cobb and mushrooms - JUST LIKE BACK HOME!! There's even SAINTS (who dat!) Posters adorning the walls. No place is better.

Best Restaurant in the City, hands down. – I've been dining here for years. Ive read all thr reviews about the staff being rude, mean or rushing people out. Ive NEVER EVER experienced any of these.

The staff has ALWAYS been courteous to me and my wife.Ive had birthday parties here and family gatherings. Ive taken half the restaurant and Ive taken a single table by myself, Ive always enjoyed myself. Food has always been spot on (especially the BBQ). After eating BBQ here, Ive been looking for better. Ive been to Northern Cali, Miami, Orlando, Boston THIS IS STILL MY FAVE!

Prices have gone up, but considering how good it is, its always worth the splurge.

Mara also does cooking classes which seem interesting.

Will not be returning – Went there last night to meet a friend for dinner and was asked to leave after inquiring about a table and a fifteen minute seating wait (with 3 tables avail). I was told that a big party was leaving and that we would get two seats up front. Those tables were cleared and they sat others waiting who had arrived after. I asked about our seat, reminding that we were also waiting, and was told, "Probably will not be able to please you, it would be best if you would leave" by owner David. A personal first to be asked to leave a restaurant after inquiring about seating! Suggest those with interest read posts here and on other sites before deciding on Mara's- odd behavior from owners and poor service are both common if you read through comments.

Funky cajun joint specializes in crawfish. – Despite its East Village locale, Mara's homemade has an undeniable Arkansas/Louisiana authenticity. For some patrons, it may be too authentic, given how messy and anatomically challenging the crawfish dinners can be. But on the other hand, the jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, pepper cornbread and other southern specialties are well-made, cheap and arrive in copious portions. The room is as raucous and homey as a roadside joint on Highway 3, which makes it a favorite of the young crowd that lives and hangs out nearby.

Key Lime Goodness! – It's hard to find good Key Lime Pie in the City. Too often, the taste is wrong, the texture is off or worse: it tastes pre-packaged. That's why it was a delight to discover the perfect Key Lime pie at Mara's Homemade!

The taste is sweet with the right balance of key lime. The texture is firm but creamy, complimented by a thin graham crust. Best of all, there's no whipped cream or other frippery to distract you from the subtle nuances of this rare treat. It succeeds on its own, as the best pies do.

If you're in the mood for a Southern delight done right, head over to Mara's and grab a slice of Key Lime Pie. You won't be disappointed!

Smells like a public TOILET. – I can't believe this place is once again a top NYC BBQ spot. The restaurant smelled like an open sewer when my brother and I went last summer after it had just made the list. The food is horrible, the drinks weak, and the atmosphere like something out of a Third Avenue, frat-boy nightmare.

Anyone who thinks that this is good BBQ has never had it. and has no palate.

Never AGAIN!! – I do not recommend this place to anyone. It was by far the most awkward dining experience of my life. First, they couldn?t seat us right away even though we made reservations (no biggie, pretty normal). But, literally 5 minutes after we were seated, both Mara and her husband came to our table yelling at us because we had not ordered yet. On top of that, it took 20 minutes for our drinks to come, not to mention, they were brought one by one in 5 minute increments. They then proceeded to tell us that we could not leave the table or go outside to make a phone call or have a cigarette and that the next person to leave would not only not be able to come back in, but would also have the cops called on them. We were then told that we could not use the bathroom because of a ?recent theft??I don?t even know what that means I guess someone stole toilet paper? Mara and her husband both need a serious attitude adjustment. We are not guests in your home (thank God), we are paying customers, learn how to run a business. I don?t know if they treat all of their customers like this, or just parties of 12 spending over $700. Oh, and the food was just ok, nothing special at all.

BEST PO BOYS IN THE TRISTATE AREA! – Mara has inspired me to write my 1st review on CitySearch in 8 years of using the site. If you are looking for the best po boys short of going to the Washington metro area, RUN to Mara's. Being a New Orleans (N.O.) BK transplant, I have tried them at most other other New York area restaurants (Cooking with Jazz, Mardi Gras, Delta Grill, Stan's Place, Bayou, ect) and another that has since closed in Hell's Kitchen.

I'm so happy some else appreciates Gulf Coast seafood besides me (oysters from anywhere else taste totally different plus they have a bunch of green yucky stuff in them and if I get one more shrimp po boy made from breaded frozen shrimp, I'm going to beat them. then tar and feather them. That's a mortal sin in South Louisiana (LA). Mara's does it right with fresh seafood fried using corn meal/flour on a french baguette - the closest thing you can get to N.O. style french bread in NYC - at a great price especially when you consider that she imports seafood and has to have fresh bread available 7 days a week. The jambalaya wasn't bad either.

Just one more thing, her restaurant smells fine. Anyone who grew up in an area where you eat seafood frequently year round (South LA, Coastal Maine) knows you can't have fresh seafood with some odor. That's why grandma made paran clean the fresh catfish we used to catch in the backyard.

They are the most authentic Creole/Cajun restaurant, I have been to so far in the tri-state area, You will have to take a 2.5 hr flight to N.O. to get anything better.

PS - They have Abita Root Beer brewed in LA and sweetened with LA Sugar cane syrup not HFCS for all you Root Beer/Specialty Soda heads out there it's sweet n smooth.

Best Etouffe, Hurricanes & Barbecue - Friedliness Abound – We love Mara's for the great New Orleans food & barbecue. We also enjoy being there because we are always welcomed by Mara & her husband David & usually served by daughter Hannah. What more can you ask for?! This cute little restaurant serves great food that ishard to find anywhere else in the city - like crawfish boil and crawfish etouffe. One bite and it takes you back to New Orleans - pre-Katrina! The barbecue is excellent also, but we usually go there for the hurricanes and Cajun/Creole cuisines. You will never be disappointed.

So Much for "Southern Hospitality" – Upon arriving to this restaurant, we were rushed to sit down because another party was coming to take our place at 7pm. we arrived around 5:15pm. The woman seating and serving us was very nasty. whom we believed to be Mara herself. The food was authentic according to my good friend from New Orleans who was in our party, but extremely overpriced. Mara acted like it was a chore to wait on our party of 8 and tried to rush everything along. I did witness her abusing one of her employees by slamming the walk in freezer door in his face and yelling at him. This is definately a family-own/run business. When it came time for dessert Mara rushed us and said that we could not look at the menu but were welcome to take a whole Key Lime Pie home for $15. Every dessert someone in our party mentioned Mara replied with. "Yes, TO GO!" All in all it was a horrible experience and I don't care how authentic the food was, the awful service will keep me from going back to Mara's Homemade. Oh, one last note. we paid mostly in cash. our bill for 8 people came out to over $400 and we put in $333 cash and the rest on one person's credit card. Mara came back to the table with the receipt for the card to sign reflecting that only $313 in cash was given. The cash was counted a number of times and was definately $333, somehow $20 of our cash payment didn't make it from our table to the register. I don't understand how this place has so many great reviews. don't believe them! This is the truth!

Best Crab Fingers, Great Seafood and BBQ – My husband and I have been coming to Mara's for years. As a native NYer, I've seen family owned and historic buisnesses get shut down and replaced by fashionable- yet terrible- overpriced establishments.

Mara's is the real deal, a great mom and pop restaurant with family recipies you will not find from any celebrity chef. You might have to wait a little longer (small family wait-staff), but it's well worth it. They work hard and take pride in getting the best seafood from Fulton market.

The only problem is that you will be tempted to fill up on the great assortment of appetizers before you even get to the entree, and then get so stuffed you can't move at the end of the meal.

Personal faves: Crab fingers (must dip bread in marinade), artichoke dip, pulled pork and the beignets.

Seasonal specialties: soft shell crabs, crawfish and steamers.

* I'd also like to comment on the bad reviews- this ISN't a Yuppie East Village restaurant with a professional kiss-your-tuchus wait staff and interior design- Mara and her family are nice, but if you're 20 minutes late for your reservation, they're not going to bend over backwords to seat you and delay the next party's reservation after you. The food isn't sitting around waiting to be microwaved for your order, so yeah, you might have to wait till it's cooked.

Amazing BBQ in NYC – I'm a first time writer, but thoughtful and objective. The meal I had at Mara's Homemade was one of the top 10 best meals I've ever tasted. I'm not an expert on BBQ, but to the chagrin of my wife and doctor it is what I would choose to eat just about every night. Closer to the late Pies N' Thighs than Blue Smoke in atmosphere. I ordered the pulled pork platter - a delicious smoked meat plate with a well-crafted rub. Although it was equally scrumptious, I was able to use as little sauce as I wanted, as it came on the side - a big plus. The meat was so moist, it really didn't need sauce at all. The homemade sweet tea tasted more like candy than tea, and there was no weak link, with perfect corn pudding and potato salad. For dessert, I had Bluegrass Pie - a chocolate pecan bourbon masterpiece in a graham cracker crust.

The staff is a trip. I found them to be pretty New-York-straight-forward. Some people interpret this as "poor customer service," but I strongly disagree. Mara was a sweetheart who was short staffed the night we went, but the food came out promptly and her amazing deadpan humor kept us laughing. Strongly recommended if you like BBQ and characters.

Average Ribs, Good Service – I ordered the rib combo (half raack St. Louis, half raack baby back). They are served with the sauce on the side, which I fully endorse. Why drown the ribs with sauce? While the ribs have a somewhat smoky taste and are very tender, they are not very tasty. I'm not sure if it's the way they are seasoned. But with a dousing of BBQ sauce, they were somewhat better . although I believe ribs should be tasty without the sauce. Comparing with other BBQ places in the city, this was quite avg/mediocre. Smoked corn on the cob and mashed potatoes were interesting.

The place is very small. The service was fine, they are very nice friendly people. On a warm summer night, the front door was open and that affected the A/C.

Its ok – In reading the many complaints about service, I would have to disagree based on my one (and probably only) time at Mara's. The wait staff was pleasant and friendly but it was the food and the portions that earned my three star rating. I always associate southern food with big, hearty portions and my friend and I opened our mouths in surprise when we saw how few pieces we had on our Fisherman's Platter. We also had the fried okra and the jambalaya, which we didn't finish even though I wasn't very full. I did notice the smell of seafood as soon as I walked into the restaurant but it wasn't malodorous to the point that I wanted to walk out. In summary, the food at Mara's provided my meal for that evening but it was far from a culinary experience.

Good food, but hardly worth it! – Although the food at Mara's was mostly excellent and some of the only authentic cajun/southern food I've found in NYC, the rude service ruined our experience. We had reservations. Two of our party were running late and after only about 10-15 minutes after we arrived, they took their chairs, saying the needed space for another party. Because our party was mostly young (in our 20's) it seemed the staff assumed the worst about us from the beginning. They demanded that we order immediately, before we'd really had a chance to read through the menu. Some members of our party wanted to order multiple side dishes instead of entres, and even though the cost came out to about the same, the staff accused us of trying to bankrupt them! They told us we were not spending enough money (we spent about $20 per person) and made my friends extremely uncomfortable. If they had an official minimum per-person charge, we would have paid it, but instead, they just decided to spring on the pressure when we were ordering. Moreover, we would have spent more money anyway, but they were all out of a number of menu items we tried to order and our options were very limited. It also took 20 minutes to get them to bring us a glass of water, and the space was extremely cramped and noisy. We had originally planned to stay for dessert, but the service was so intolerable we ate and left as quickly as possible and just went to a diner so our late friends, who had not been allowed to join us, could get something to eat.

That said, the food was mostly excellent. Although some of the vegetables were very bland (especially the fried okra), I enjoyed the sampler plate immensely. It included very flavorful red beans and rice as well as excellent jambalaya with real andouille sausage -- a rarity outside of Louisiana. If you really crave authentic Louisiana food in New York, it might be worth braving the staff, but I would recommend taking your business elsewhere!

You get friendlier service at the DMV – I can't believe how we were treated. We were told we couldn't have any desserts that were warm because they needed our table for another party coming in. Then when we asked for change for a $20 they refused to until we paid for the entire check first saying they were afraid that we would run out on the check. One of our party is pregnant and all of us ranged in ages from our late 20's to early 40's and the tiny restaurant had their cashier right by the only exit.

Delicious BBQ – In a city where either overpriced or mediocre BBQ restaurants are a the norm, it's refreshing to find a delicious place that's reasonably priced. It's tricky though, because it's easy to get caught up in the options that by the time dessert and after-dinner bourbon come around, you've run up quite the bill. The selection of unusual Louisiana draft beers doesn't hurt either. Mara herself served us and took the time to recommend food/sauce combinations from a selection of condiments that she makes herself. The Ultimate Combo plate is great for sharing and includes a bit of everything. The mac n' cheese is especially dazzling. The brisket, fabulous. The interior is a bit tight and the decor strange but in the low light of the evening can be surprisingly romantic. We LOVE this place.

really unpleasant – The first thing that I noticed was the smell. I do not mind the smell of fresh fish or seafood but this was neither. It smelled like a clogged drain pipe. The food tasted like the recipes were clipped from a bad womens magazine. I wonder If "Mara" knows what Homemade means. Adding creole seasoning to store bought mayo does not make a homemade remoulade . The chicken gumbo tasted decent but was obviously made from a concentrated chicken base. The Barbecue was very dry and tasted like it had been reheated several times. Mara's has food like grandma makes, if grandma works for Stouffer's or Lean Cuisine. There are a lot of great Cajun places in New York so do not waste time or money at this place.

More Than The Great Food - Mara's Makes Us Feel Like Family – Mara's is our favorite place in all of Manhattan for a relaxing, comforting and truly satisfying meal. Unlike so many sterile, over-designed places in NYC, Mara's feels like you've been invited to a friendly neighbor's house for a feast of real Southern cooking. David at the bar always remembers our regular drinks and has introduced us to new favorites, and Mara offers hugs and the solace of her real home-style cooking to soothe our nerves after a busy work week. Nothing is frozen, hastily prepared or microwaved-to-death in her kitchen: the crawfish and alligator are the freshest we've eaten since our last New Orleans visit, and the BBQ is moist and tender with a perfect smoky flavor. We love the spicy shrimp creole, which is made from the old family recipe of David's grandmother. Everything is made with care and love, from the sublime BBQ sauce to the amazing corn pudding to the absolutely sinful desserts. We've seen heads turn at other tables as the smell of the dark chocolate sauce hitting our warm chocolate souffle fills the room. Don't let the strangely negative reviews here put you off - we honestly haven't had a single bad experience of any kind at Mara's, and we eat here almost every week. Their prices are entirely reasonable for the portion sizes, freshness and quality ingredients of the food. Even at their busiest, we've never had cause to complain and our food always arrived perfectly prepared. One night David seemed oddly disappointed by the cornbread we were served (it tasted great to us) and he popped into the kitchen, returning with a dish of shrimp etouffee that he poured over the cornbread, elevating the already satisfying side dish to the point of sheer decadence. Mara's is a true gem among all the fool's gold of Manhattan restaurants.

TAKE OUT ONLY- if you must. – This is a great example of a place that could be good if somebody else was running it. They send out mass emails at least weekly BEGGING you to come in.. threatening that they will have to close if you do not..( how inviting!! ) One of the most recent emails asked customers to email Mara with suggestions on how they could get people to start coming back in again..

DO THEY NOT READ CITY SEARCH?? Maybe they should spend more time considering all of the reviews below mine, instead of posting defensive responses to each of them. As a person who has given up on this place, here is why take out is the only option here: the place smells like mildew (they say it is fish, I disagree- either way- it stinks, people are complaining- figure it out, FIX IT.) The prices are very high for dishes with a sprinkling of frozen popcorn shrimp on top (the Creole, etc..) The atmosphere is like eating in a fast food place (florescent lights, limited character.) But the main problem for us has been the attitude of the very over whelmed family who owns this place.

There used to be a girl there that we loved, but she seems to have realized she could do better. Only Mara remains, and she just doesn't understand customer service. We have actually seen Mara and her husband (?) yelling at each other in the middle of the "dining room" as if they were alone at home. It was so awkward that we haven't returned.

So do yourself a favor and if you must try this particular BBQ place. order take out.

Avoid unless you're looking for some real authentic Southern Hospitality – This is a good one. So four dark-skinned Indian folk walk into Mara's Homemade on a weeknight, I think a Tuesday. Mara's in the main entrance room, unpacking boxes, restaurant supplies, or something at one of the tables, and it reeks of old fish. "Hi. table for four," we say. Mara says "Do you have a reservation?" Us, "no." She's like "Hold on a minute." A man storms in shortly therefater (I suppose her hubby), "May I help you?" in a loud, disturbed voice, as if we didn't belong there. Before we answer, Mara butts in. " Table of four. NO RESERVATIONS." Mind you, the only ones in there were a family of light skinned folk in one of the secluded back rooms. Two or three other back room tables are empty. Mara finally leads us to a table in the fish stinking main room, where she's unpacking boxes on the next table. We politely decline, and proceed to walk out, "Um, Thank you but that's alright." She screams at us, "Um, What's wroong with this. " So apparently, even on a street teeming with Indian restaurants, in the heart of New York, you can find some good ol' Southern hospitality.

Thanks for keeping it real, Mara's Homemade.

This is a horribly dumpy east village spot apparently obsessed with reservations. Avoid.

The color of someones skin does not make any difference to us. The night that this party (which was NOT a Tuesday, since we are closed) came in we were booked with reservations. A restaurant may look empty when a party walks in, but if there are reservations over the next two hours the tables can not be used because they would not be available for the customer with the reservations. Thus, when someone walks in we ask, "Do you have a reservation?" We then check our tables and seat accordingly.

We have two rooms in our restaurant, the bar room and main dining room, with a total of 16 tables.

When these customers walked in the kitchen had just completed preparing the menu for the night, which includes going thru the soft and hard shell crabs for any that might have died. Within a few minutes the fish smell was out and no one else complained.

What a gem! – Cute cute cute & the food was delish! It was crowded, but friendly with really attentive service. Loved the meatloaf and the crawfish. Can't wait to go back!


Mara's Homemade (Reported Closed)

I also know what New Orleans food is suppose to at least emulate, THIS IS NOT THE PLACE i would NEVER go again .

From the crappy jalapeno cornbread to the soggy jambalaya,, the shrimp feast was horrid they were soggy spongy shrimp that are claimed to be shipped from the bayou,cooked FOUR ways and ,covered in zatarans crab boil mix , butter oil and crappy seasoning , the craw fish ettoufou was the worst thing i have eaten in my life the chef does not know how to make a proper roux or sauce , the craw fish were gray and tiny after a bite that was it for me, dont go near the specially flown in red snapper with creole mustad sauce (basically mustard and white wine )to smother this horrible quality fish ,flownin "I dont think so"

Did i mention i am also a commercial fisherman !

Last the was the the Cocky derby wearing guy with his stained shirt that he has probably worn for the previous 5 days who ran the place! With his decaying teeth and "make you want to puke smile", and total control freak attitude who had basically no control over his kitchen or wait staff. GOD HELP SYOSSET ! I totally agree with Amal D. So go if you want to pay for bad taste in you mouth for years !

Homemade fun. – I challenge you to find someone who would not consider the atmosphere charming. And the food is quite good, at reasonable prices.

Maras Homemade-just like home – I've been living in NYC since 2000. Originally I'm from South Mississippi where Crawfish is a part of our weekly diet. It took some time but my wife finally uncovered a GOLD MINE for me. Mara's is now my FAVORITE place to eat in all of NYC. The crawfish comes in a bucket with potatos, corn on the cobb and mushrooms - JUST LIKE BACK HOME!! There's even SAINTS (who dat!) Posters adorning the walls. No place is better.

Best Restaurant in the City, hands down. – I've been dining here for years. Ive read all thr reviews about the staff being rude, mean or rushing people out. Ive NEVER EVER experienced any of these.

The staff has ALWAYS been courteous to me and my wife.Ive had birthday parties here and family gatherings. Ive taken half the restaurant and Ive taken a single table by myself, Ive always enjoyed myself. Food has always been spot on (especially the BBQ). After eating BBQ here, Ive been looking for better. Ive been to Northern Cali, Miami, Orlando, Boston THIS IS STILL MY FAVE!

Prices have gone up, but considering how good it is, its always worth the splurge.

Mara also does cooking classes which seem interesting.

Will not be returning – Went there last night to meet a friend for dinner and was asked to leave after inquiring about a table and a fifteen minute seating wait (with 3 tables avail). I was told that a big party was leaving and that we would get two seats up front. Those tables were cleared and they sat others waiting who had arrived after. I asked about our seat, reminding that we were also waiting, and was told, "Probably will not be able to please you, it would be best if you would leave" by owner David. A personal first to be asked to leave a restaurant after inquiring about seating! Suggest those with interest read posts here and on other sites before deciding on Mara's- odd behavior from owners and poor service are both common if you read through comments.

Funky cajun joint specializes in crawfish. – Despite its East Village locale, Mara's homemade has an undeniable Arkansas/Louisiana authenticity. For some patrons, it may be too authentic, given how messy and anatomically challenging the crawfish dinners can be. But on the other hand, the jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, pepper cornbread and other southern specialties are well-made, cheap and arrive in copious portions. The room is as raucous and homey as a roadside joint on Highway 3, which makes it a favorite of the young crowd that lives and hangs out nearby.

Key Lime Goodness! – It's hard to find good Key Lime Pie in the City. Too often, the taste is wrong, the texture is off or worse: it tastes pre-packaged. That's why it was a delight to discover the perfect Key Lime pie at Mara's Homemade!

The taste is sweet with the right balance of key lime. The texture is firm but creamy, complimented by a thin graham crust. Best of all, there's no whipped cream or other frippery to distract you from the subtle nuances of this rare treat. It succeeds on its own, as the best pies do.

If you're in the mood for a Southern delight done right, head over to Mara's and grab a slice of Key Lime Pie. You won't be disappointed!

Smells like a public TOILET. – I can't believe this place is once again a top NYC BBQ spot. The restaurant smelled like an open sewer when my brother and I went last summer after it had just made the list. The food is horrible, the drinks weak, and the atmosphere like something out of a Third Avenue, frat-boy nightmare.

Anyone who thinks that this is good BBQ has never had it. and has no palate.

Never AGAIN!! – I do not recommend this place to anyone. It was by far the most awkward dining experience of my life. First, they couldn?t seat us right away even though we made reservations (no biggie, pretty normal). But, literally 5 minutes after we were seated, both Mara and her husband came to our table yelling at us because we had not ordered yet. On top of that, it took 20 minutes for our drinks to come, not to mention, they were brought one by one in 5 minute increments. They then proceeded to tell us that we could not leave the table or go outside to make a phone call or have a cigarette and that the next person to leave would not only not be able to come back in, but would also have the cops called on them. We were then told that we could not use the bathroom because of a ?recent theft??I don?t even know what that means I guess someone stole toilet paper? Mara and her husband both need a serious attitude adjustment. We are not guests in your home (thank God), we are paying customers, learn how to run a business. I don?t know if they treat all of their customers like this, or just parties of 12 spending over $700. Oh, and the food was just ok, nothing special at all.

BEST PO BOYS IN THE TRISTATE AREA! – Mara has inspired me to write my 1st review on CitySearch in 8 years of using the site. If you are looking for the best po boys short of going to the Washington metro area, RUN to Mara's. Being a New Orleans (N.O.) BK transplant, I have tried them at most other other New York area restaurants (Cooking with Jazz, Mardi Gras, Delta Grill, Stan's Place, Bayou, ect) and another that has since closed in Hell's Kitchen.

I'm so happy some else appreciates Gulf Coast seafood besides me (oysters from anywhere else taste totally different plus they have a bunch of green yucky stuff in them and if I get one more shrimp po boy made from breaded frozen shrimp, I'm going to beat them. then tar and feather them. That's a mortal sin in South Louisiana (LA). Mara's does it right with fresh seafood fried using corn meal/flour on a french baguette - the closest thing you can get to N.O. style french bread in NYC - at a great price especially when you consider that she imports seafood and has to have fresh bread available 7 days a week. The jambalaya wasn't bad either.

Just one more thing, her restaurant smells fine. Anyone who grew up in an area where you eat seafood frequently year round (South LA, Coastal Maine) knows you can't have fresh seafood with some odor. That's why grandma made paran clean the fresh catfish we used to catch in the backyard.

They are the most authentic Creole/Cajun restaurant, I have been to so far in the tri-state area, You will have to take a 2.5 hr flight to N.O. to get anything better.

PS - They have Abita Root Beer brewed in LA and sweetened with LA Sugar cane syrup not HFCS for all you Root Beer/Specialty Soda heads out there it's sweet n smooth.

Best Etouffe, Hurricanes & Barbecue - Friedliness Abound – We love Mara's for the great New Orleans food & barbecue. We also enjoy being there because we are always welcomed by Mara & her husband David & usually served by daughter Hannah. What more can you ask for?! This cute little restaurant serves great food that ishard to find anywhere else in the city - like crawfish boil and crawfish etouffe. One bite and it takes you back to New Orleans - pre-Katrina! The barbecue is excellent also, but we usually go there for the hurricanes and Cajun/Creole cuisines. You will never be disappointed.

So Much for "Southern Hospitality" – Upon arriving to this restaurant, we were rushed to sit down because another party was coming to take our place at 7pm. we arrived around 5:15pm. The woman seating and serving us was very nasty. whom we believed to be Mara herself. The food was authentic according to my good friend from New Orleans who was in our party, but extremely overpriced. Mara acted like it was a chore to wait on our party of 8 and tried to rush everything along. I did witness her abusing one of her employees by slamming the walk in freezer door in his face and yelling at him. This is definately a family-own/run business. When it came time for dessert Mara rushed us and said that we could not look at the menu but were welcome to take a whole Key Lime Pie home for $15. Every dessert someone in our party mentioned Mara replied with. "Yes, TO GO!" All in all it was a horrible experience and I don't care how authentic the food was, the awful service will keep me from going back to Mara's Homemade. Oh, one last note. we paid mostly in cash. our bill for 8 people came out to over $400 and we put in $333 cash and the rest on one person's credit card. Mara came back to the table with the receipt for the card to sign reflecting that only $313 in cash was given. The cash was counted a number of times and was definately $333, somehow $20 of our cash payment didn't make it from our table to the register. I don't understand how this place has so many great reviews. don't believe them! This is the truth!

Best Crab Fingers, Great Seafood and BBQ – My husband and I have been coming to Mara's for years. As a native NYer, I've seen family owned and historic buisnesses get shut down and replaced by fashionable- yet terrible- overpriced establishments.

Mara's is the real deal, a great mom and pop restaurant with family recipies you will not find from any celebrity chef. You might have to wait a little longer (small family wait-staff), but it's well worth it. They work hard and take pride in getting the best seafood from Fulton market.

The only problem is that you will be tempted to fill up on the great assortment of appetizers before you even get to the entree, and then get so stuffed you can't move at the end of the meal.

Personal faves: Crab fingers (must dip bread in marinade), artichoke dip, pulled pork and the beignets.

Seasonal specialties: soft shell crabs, crawfish and steamers.

* I'd also like to comment on the bad reviews- this ISN't a Yuppie East Village restaurant with a professional kiss-your-tuchus wait staff and interior design- Mara and her family are nice, but if you're 20 minutes late for your reservation, they're not going to bend over backwords to seat you and delay the next party's reservation after you. The food isn't sitting around waiting to be microwaved for your order, so yeah, you might have to wait till it's cooked.

Amazing BBQ in NYC – I'm a first time writer, but thoughtful and objective. The meal I had at Mara's Homemade was one of the top 10 best meals I've ever tasted. I'm not an expert on BBQ, but to the chagrin of my wife and doctor it is what I would choose to eat just about every night. Closer to the late Pies N' Thighs than Blue Smoke in atmosphere. I ordered the pulled pork platter - a delicious smoked meat plate with a well-crafted rub. Although it was equally scrumptious, I was able to use as little sauce as I wanted, as it came on the side - a big plus. The meat was so moist, it really didn't need sauce at all. The homemade sweet tea tasted more like candy than tea, and there was no weak link, with perfect corn pudding and potato salad. For dessert, I had Bluegrass Pie - a chocolate pecan bourbon masterpiece in a graham cracker crust.

The staff is a trip. I found them to be pretty New-York-straight-forward. Some people interpret this as "poor customer service," but I strongly disagree. Mara was a sweetheart who was short staffed the night we went, but the food came out promptly and her amazing deadpan humor kept us laughing. Strongly recommended if you like BBQ and characters.

Average Ribs, Good Service – I ordered the rib combo (half raack St. Louis, half raack baby back). They are served with the sauce on the side, which I fully endorse. Why drown the ribs with sauce? While the ribs have a somewhat smoky taste and are very tender, they are not very tasty. I'm not sure if it's the way they are seasoned. But with a dousing of BBQ sauce, they were somewhat better . although I believe ribs should be tasty without the sauce. Comparing with other BBQ places in the city, this was quite avg/mediocre. Smoked corn on the cob and mashed potatoes were interesting.

The place is very small. The service was fine, they are very nice friendly people. On a warm summer night, the front door was open and that affected the A/C.

Its ok – In reading the many complaints about service, I would have to disagree based on my one (and probably only) time at Mara's. The wait staff was pleasant and friendly but it was the food and the portions that earned my three star rating. I always associate southern food with big, hearty portions and my friend and I opened our mouths in surprise when we saw how few pieces we had on our Fisherman's Platter. We also had the fried okra and the jambalaya, which we didn't finish even though I wasn't very full. I did notice the smell of seafood as soon as I walked into the restaurant but it wasn't malodorous to the point that I wanted to walk out. In summary, the food at Mara's provided my meal for that evening but it was far from a culinary experience.

Good food, but hardly worth it! – Although the food at Mara's was mostly excellent and some of the only authentic cajun/southern food I've found in NYC, the rude service ruined our experience. We had reservations. Two of our party were running late and after only about 10-15 minutes after we arrived, they took their chairs, saying the needed space for another party. Because our party was mostly young (in our 20's) it seemed the staff assumed the worst about us from the beginning. They demanded that we order immediately, before we'd really had a chance to read through the menu. Some members of our party wanted to order multiple side dishes instead of entres, and even though the cost came out to about the same, the staff accused us of trying to bankrupt them! They told us we were not spending enough money (we spent about $20 per person) and made my friends extremely uncomfortable. If they had an official minimum per-person charge, we would have paid it, but instead, they just decided to spring on the pressure when we were ordering. Moreover, we would have spent more money anyway, but they were all out of a number of menu items we tried to order and our options were very limited. It also took 20 minutes to get them to bring us a glass of water, and the space was extremely cramped and noisy. We had originally planned to stay for dessert, but the service was so intolerable we ate and left as quickly as possible and just went to a diner so our late friends, who had not been allowed to join us, could get something to eat.

That said, the food was mostly excellent. Although some of the vegetables were very bland (especially the fried okra), I enjoyed the sampler plate immensely. It included very flavorful red beans and rice as well as excellent jambalaya with real andouille sausage -- a rarity outside of Louisiana. If you really crave authentic Louisiana food in New York, it might be worth braving the staff, but I would recommend taking your business elsewhere!

You get friendlier service at the DMV – I can't believe how we were treated. We were told we couldn't have any desserts that were warm because they needed our table for another party coming in. Then when we asked for change for a $20 they refused to until we paid for the entire check first saying they were afraid that we would run out on the check. One of our party is pregnant and all of us ranged in ages from our late 20's to early 40's and the tiny restaurant had their cashier right by the only exit.

Delicious BBQ – In a city where either overpriced or mediocre BBQ restaurants are a the norm, it's refreshing to find a delicious place that's reasonably priced. It's tricky though, because it's easy to get caught up in the options that by the time dessert and after-dinner bourbon come around, you've run up quite the bill. The selection of unusual Louisiana draft beers doesn't hurt either. Mara herself served us and took the time to recommend food/sauce combinations from a selection of condiments that she makes herself. The Ultimate Combo plate is great for sharing and includes a bit of everything. The mac n' cheese is especially dazzling. The brisket, fabulous. The interior is a bit tight and the decor strange but in the low light of the evening can be surprisingly romantic. We LOVE this place.

really unpleasant – The first thing that I noticed was the smell. I do not mind the smell of fresh fish or seafood but this was neither. It smelled like a clogged drain pipe. The food tasted like the recipes were clipped from a bad womens magazine. I wonder If "Mara" knows what Homemade means. Adding creole seasoning to store bought mayo does not make a homemade remoulade . The chicken gumbo tasted decent but was obviously made from a concentrated chicken base. The Barbecue was very dry and tasted like it had been reheated several times. Mara's has food like grandma makes, if grandma works for Stouffer's or Lean Cuisine. There are a lot of great Cajun places in New York so do not waste time or money at this place.

More Than The Great Food - Mara's Makes Us Feel Like Family – Mara's is our favorite place in all of Manhattan for a relaxing, comforting and truly satisfying meal. Unlike so many sterile, over-designed places in NYC, Mara's feels like you've been invited to a friendly neighbor's house for a feast of real Southern cooking. David at the bar always remembers our regular drinks and has introduced us to new favorites, and Mara offers hugs and the solace of her real home-style cooking to soothe our nerves after a busy work week. Nothing is frozen, hastily prepared or microwaved-to-death in her kitchen: the crawfish and alligator are the freshest we've eaten since our last New Orleans visit, and the BBQ is moist and tender with a perfect smoky flavor. We love the spicy shrimp creole, which is made from the old family recipe of David's grandmother. Everything is made with care and love, from the sublime BBQ sauce to the amazing corn pudding to the absolutely sinful desserts. We've seen heads turn at other tables as the smell of the dark chocolate sauce hitting our warm chocolate souffle fills the room. Don't let the strangely negative reviews here put you off - we honestly haven't had a single bad experience of any kind at Mara's, and we eat here almost every week. Their prices are entirely reasonable for the portion sizes, freshness and quality ingredients of the food. Even at their busiest, we've never had cause to complain and our food always arrived perfectly prepared. One night David seemed oddly disappointed by the cornbread we were served (it tasted great to us) and he popped into the kitchen, returning with a dish of shrimp etouffee that he poured over the cornbread, elevating the already satisfying side dish to the point of sheer decadence. Mara's is a true gem among all the fool's gold of Manhattan restaurants.

TAKE OUT ONLY- if you must. – This is a great example of a place that could be good if somebody else was running it. They send out mass emails at least weekly BEGGING you to come in.. threatening that they will have to close if you do not..( how inviting!! ) One of the most recent emails asked customers to email Mara with suggestions on how they could get people to start coming back in again..

DO THEY NOT READ CITY SEARCH?? Maybe they should spend more time considering all of the reviews below mine, instead of posting defensive responses to each of them. As a person who has given up on this place, here is why take out is the only option here: the place smells like mildew (they say it is fish, I disagree- either way- it stinks, people are complaining- figure it out, FIX IT.) The prices are very high for dishes with a sprinkling of frozen popcorn shrimp on top (the Creole, etc..) The atmosphere is like eating in a fast food place (florescent lights, limited character.) But the main problem for us has been the attitude of the very over whelmed family who owns this place.

There used to be a girl there that we loved, but she seems to have realized she could do better. Only Mara remains, and she just doesn't understand customer service. We have actually seen Mara and her husband (?) yelling at each other in the middle of the "dining room" as if they were alone at home. It was so awkward that we haven't returned.

So do yourself a favor and if you must try this particular BBQ place. order take out.

Avoid unless you're looking for some real authentic Southern Hospitality – This is a good one. So four dark-skinned Indian folk walk into Mara's Homemade on a weeknight, I think a Tuesday. Mara's in the main entrance room, unpacking boxes, restaurant supplies, or something at one of the tables, and it reeks of old fish. "Hi. table for four," we say. Mara says "Do you have a reservation?" Us, "no." She's like "Hold on a minute." A man storms in shortly therefater (I suppose her hubby), "May I help you?" in a loud, disturbed voice, as if we didn't belong there. Before we answer, Mara butts in. " Table of four. NO RESERVATIONS." Mind you, the only ones in there were a family of light skinned folk in one of the secluded back rooms. Two or three other back room tables are empty. Mara finally leads us to a table in the fish stinking main room, where she's unpacking boxes on the next table. We politely decline, and proceed to walk out, "Um, Thank you but that's alright." She screams at us, "Um, What's wroong with this. " So apparently, even on a street teeming with Indian restaurants, in the heart of New York, you can find some good ol' Southern hospitality.

Thanks for keeping it real, Mara's Homemade.

This is a horribly dumpy east village spot apparently obsessed with reservations. Avoid.

The color of someones skin does not make any difference to us. The night that this party (which was NOT a Tuesday, since we are closed) came in we were booked with reservations. A restaurant may look empty when a party walks in, but if there are reservations over the next two hours the tables can not be used because they would not be available for the customer with the reservations. Thus, when someone walks in we ask, "Do you have a reservation?" We then check our tables and seat accordingly.

We have two rooms in our restaurant, the bar room and main dining room, with a total of 16 tables.

When these customers walked in the kitchen had just completed preparing the menu for the night, which includes going thru the soft and hard shell crabs for any that might have died. Within a few minutes the fish smell was out and no one else complained.

What a gem! – Cute cute cute & the food was delish! It was crowded, but friendly with really attentive service. Loved the meatloaf and the crawfish. Can't wait to go back!


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