Galatoire left his home town in 1874 with his wife, the former Gabrielle Marchal, and emigrated to America in the 1880s. He settled in Birmingham and purchased an inn and restaurant. In 1887 he was hired as the chef of the restaurant at the Alabama Club. Before 1889 he opened his own Galatoire's Hotel & Restaurant at 108-110 21st Street North. He closed the business on May 5, 1892 with unpaid debts.
In 1893 Galatoire relocated to Chicago, Illinois, catering to the crowds attending the World's Columbian Exposition. In 1900 be moved to New Orleans and opened a cafe near the L&N Station on Canal Street. In 1905 he bought out Victor's Restaurant on Bourbon Street and reestablished it as Galatoire's. By 1909 Galatoire's was heralded as among the city's finest restaurants, holding to a more classical style of French cuisine in comparison with Jules Alciatore's output at Antoine's. In 1914 Galatoire helped to revive local interest in horse racing.
Galatoire was joined at the restaurant by three nephews, who took over the business in 1916, providing their uncle with room and board in exchange for rent of the restaurant building. Their families have continued it to the present.
Galatoire died in [, leaving an estate valued at over half a million dollars. He is interred at St Louis Cemetery No. 3 in New Orleans.
- North Alabama (Illustrated) (1888) Birmingham: Southern Commercial Publishing Co.
- Diary of J. H. Woodward (December 16, 1889) Woodward Family Papers. University of Alabama Library
- Birmingham National Bank v. Mayer (November 27, 1894) Supreme Court of Alabama
- Galatoire Bros. v. Lines (February 27, 1926) United States District Court for the East District of Louisiana, New Orleans Division.
- "History", from Galatoire's Restaurant (October 2007) at Tulane University Digital Library
- Burton, Marda & Kenneth Holditch (2011) Galatoire's: Biography of a Bistro. New Orleans, Louisiana: Garrett County Press ISBN 9781891053238
- "Jean Galatoire" (April 25, 2014) Wikipedia - accessed June 26, 2015
- Shields, David S. (2017) The Culinarians: Lives and Careers from the First Age of American Fine Dining. Chicago: University of Chicago Press ISBN 9780226406923
- Jean Galatoire at Findagrave.com