Cops raid Jimbo's over fishy business

Jimbo's — the venerable Virginia Key hobo den, petting zoo, and bocce pit — was recently named one of Esquire's best bars in America. It looks like a Mad Max gang hangout.

In a figurative sense, the smoked fish sold there is like an enema. Some people swear by it. The more squeamish, however, refuse to even think about putting it inside their bodies.

While Riptide understands the hesitancy, we love the stuff. Indeed, New Times awarded Jimbo's Best Smoked Fish in 2003. Turns out it's so good it's illegal.

Alex Izaguirre

This past May, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer conducted a "routine" inspection of Jimbo's, according to an agency report. He quizzed 57-year-old James Luznar — son of still-kicking 84-year-old founder Jimbo Luznar — about a license to sell the smoked fish.

When young Jimbo admitted the establishment didn't have a license, he was arrested.

It's not the first time the father and son behind Jimbo's, which was originally booted from mainland Miami to make room for the Miami Herald building, have had their style cramped by authorities. The old man was cuffed for the unlawful buying and selling of bluefish in 2000. (The charge was not prosecuted.) And since 1975, Junior has been accused of careless operation of a boat (sentenced to community service), unlawful operation of a motorboat (convicted), taking a vessel into a restricted area (community service), game and fish violations (convicted), manning an unregistered vessel (fined), assault and battery (not prosecuted), and marijuana possession (suspended sentence). The man is pretty much a pirate.

He's also laid up in the hospital with an undisclosed illness. But his sister-in-law Jennie DeLano Luznar — the new public face of Jimbo's — told us that the smoked-fish arrest "wasn't like it sounds." The cop, she says, had a problem with Jimbo's old-time smoker. "But that smoker," she adds, "is what makes the fish so popular."

Addicts of the stuff need not worry. The charge against young Jimbo — running a seafood operation without a license — was recently dropped. And, says Jennie: "We're still selling the smoked fish. Now we just make it at a different location."

 
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16 comments
ken
ken

You gotta respect the 'little guy' trying to make a living.. more so nowadays. Why is it always a government body trying to bring the little guy down? All the while supporting large corporate-owned businesses??

When are Americans going to get their BALLS back and SPEAK UP and ACT OUT against our government who is obviously OPPOSED to us and FOR any other nationality?Why does our government spend SO MUCH money (our money) on countries like Pakistan?

We have all become so complacent and content sitting in front of our computers and tv's that we just sit by idly allowing our elected officials to rape us without a kiss.

Jimbo's is an unconventional institution in Miami and let's support them!.. (right after this episode of True Blood that is..)

brando
brando

SHAME ON YOU GUS... Riptide is the first section of New Times I read but I found your article quite constipated. "Pirates of Virginia Key", "Up in Smoke", for the love of God how full of s**t can you be?

Robert A. Burr
Robert A. Burr

After 50 years of smoking fish there, they want to see his license. Unfortunately, Jimbo is used to being harassed by "officials" from time to time. It seems almost impossible that the last genuine, original Florida establishment is still around -- but it is -- and will be for some time if his friends have anything to say about it. The article is a bit rough, but Gus probably sees his missive as a love poem of sorts. Not to worry, it's all good. Let's discuss the issue of the $5 fee that crept back in for all those who want to go visit Jimbo. There is supposed to be a waiver for all who are going to Jimbo's. When you pass the toll booth at the old road on Virginia Key, don't pay the $5.

Timboland25
Timboland25

Jimbos improvement is amazing. You people need to come see it for yourselves

Jon
Jon

I have been eating Jimbo's Smoked fish for nearly 28 years now. The taste has only improved in the years...the fish I buy is now vacuum sealed in individual pouches for ease of purchase as well as if you need it, "ease of mind". The Smoked Fish is great and Jimbo's secret as to how he does the smoking is now passed along safely to his youngest son, Bobby. "New Time's" don't attack something that is great and has become a world famous tradition for over 50 years that actually is made in and founded in Miami...Name 10 other good famous things that have come out of Miami and lasted for 50 years plus...Jimbo is the friendliest place in Miami..no aires and first names only...only chief there is Jimbo...long live Mr. Jimbo. Funny thing until your article I didn't know that Jimbo had/has a last name...

Cte419
Cte419

Hey Miami, was at Jimbo's last Thursday and it was so peaceful and friendly...and to think Jimbo's is in the shadow of Miami...the staff was cordial and the "new" Jimbo style lounge chairs are awsome...You go Jimbo....rest of Miami go visit and enjoy...I am headed back this weekend..

David
David

Dear Readers...You have to see to believe what the younger "Jimbo'ites" have been able to accomplish at Jimbo's on Virginia Key in just two weeks time. The new managers are magicians and in fact Jimbo himself has been on site twice this past week. Jimbo's Rocks...love you Jimbo and family...

Gerry
Gerry

So a few mistakes were made you say. I am sure between "JimbosJennie" and her husband Bobby who was literally raised on that dock, fished the waters, shrimped the water and loves his family and the sanctuary so many have grown to love all will be worked out. No need to get mean about it. I say give em a break.

Roadrunner
Roadrunner

In a figurative sense, the smoked fish sold there is like an enema. That is sooooooooooo wrong!! I drive 2 hours for Jimbo's fish. Have been for 10 years now.

Jenna
Jenna

Ouch, Pretty brutal beginning! I take it the writer of this article is a little up tight. Wow, I never laugh more than when I am at a Jimbo event. Might want to try it. That Madmax feel is the movie company magic. I call it charm. However we all entitled to our opinions.

PamDavis
PamDavis

Jimbo'sJennie is only a spokes person and family member who loves the place as much as the rest of us do. NO ONE could ever be the new face of Jimbo. They broke the mold with Jimbo.

Jose44
Jose44

Jimbo' s hospitality and beautiful fishing village has captured my heart and my fathers heart who brought me to this Paradise since I was seven. I have fished, joked, and whittled away many weekends with my father and now my son. Often I can almost see my now deceased father still sitting on pier a line in the water a smile on his face. As for the smoked fish I had some last week it was delicious. Jose Redondo.

Marleyfox101
Marleyfox101

Jimbo' s has been around forever. If you love true Florida NATURE and GOOD PEOPLE.. You will find it on the little bit of untouched land left in this state. You can call someone a bum, call people what you want.. At Jimbo's you can be sitting with a homeless man, a judge and a construction worker all talking and laughing and SHARING that smoked fish. I call that heaven.Marley Fox Jimbinite since 1979.

middlejohn
middlejohn

Ho-hum! Aren't you glad that we have sufficient tax dollars to harass an old curmudgeon like this!!!

Mike Williams
Mike Williams

If the state fish police want to investigate something fishy they should look to the politicians! As far as I can tell they are all corrupt form the local dog catcher to the President. I have bought smoked fish from jimbos on an off for about 40 years and have never gotten sick, but politicians make me sick every day!

Pauley
Pauley

Good for you Marley. Jimbo's has turned into a place where you can express your talents. Musical from Rock To Latin Bands, Artisticly, painting, photography. It is famous for all the movies made. If Jimbo and the Jimbo family wasn't there I shudder to think what would be there. It might not be everyones cup of tea but what is. If it was good enough for Jack Nicolson it's good enough for me!! Let the family alone I know they are hard working humble people. I don't want anyone to ruin it for "progress" It is a landmark and I have enjoyed it for 15 years and counting.

 
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