1413 Upperline St
New Orleans, LA 70115
Upperline is one of my and Judge’s favorite restaurants in the city of New Orleans. We recently discovered this little gem in the heart of the Uptown area. I highly recommend you take the time to watch the video provided on Upperline’s website, titled “JoAnn Clevenger: A Girl Scout with Gumption.” It will give you an insight into why we so love this dining establishment. JoAnn Clevenger, owner and restauranteur, along with her son, opened the doors of Upperline in January of 1983. As the video states, she was looking in the area for a building to possibly house an Uptown location for her vintage clothing store. Instead, she had a vision and convinced her son, who was a chef, to develop a 40- seat restaurant, where patrons could visit to escape the craziness of everyday life and enjoy delicious Louisiana food and warm hospitality. I do believe she succeeded in her mission! Upperline has received numerous accolades and national reviews over the years and is highly regarded in the culinary world.
JoAnn Clevenger knows the true meaning of hospitality. From the moment you call to make a reservation, to the first time you meet her in person, it will be as though you are amongst a loved one. It’s just that comfortable!! The atmosphere is vibrant and fun, with JoAnn’s personal art collection lining the walls. The wait staff is knowledgeable and attentive to your needs, without hovering over you. I love watching JoAnn work the room in her most pleasant way, greeting guests at the door and meandering around the dining rooms, making certain everyone is enjoying the second-to-none experience this restaurant has to offer. You can guarantee that JoAnn will be donning her favorite red and black dress (reminds me of a ladybug), Girl Scout pin and beautiful silver parrot brooch, with hair pulled up in a loose bun. Attention to detail is her strong point! It is apparent that she is very much a part of the inner workings of her restaurant, which, in my opinion, is a positive attribute, lending itself to a consistently positive atmosphere.
During each visit, Judge and I have been extremely pleased with the quality, quantity and presentation of the various culinary options. Many of the kitchen staff have been serving in this capacity for years. Miguel Gabriel, Upperline’s “soup chef,” has recently been featured in a NYT’s cooking article, highlighting the Duck and Andouille Gumbo recipe. Upperline is known for its delicious “Our Famous 12-hour Roast Duck” dish (featured on The Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” show). The duck is prepared to perfection, with a beautifully bronzed, crispy outer layer, served with your choice of a ginger peach or garlic port wine sauce. One of my personal favorites is the Grilled Rack of Lamb, served with a Mint Madeira or Béarnaise sauce, cooked to your temperature preference. Feel free to pick up the lamb chops with your fingers in order to consume every delicious morsel!! Don’t judge—I was instructed by a waiter in Rome, Italy that this was perfectly acceptable, and I went with it. If JoAnn catches a glimpse of this, she will gladly run to the kitchen and return with your own personal finger bowl, garnished with a slice of lemon! Attention to detail, my friends, attention to detail!!
Other personally highly-recommended dishes include the Turtle Soup with a splash of Sherry, Duck and Andouille Gumbo, The Original Fried Green Tomato with Shrimp Remoulade (this popular combination was first created at Upperline in 1992), Crispy Oysters St Claude (fried perfectly crispy), Spicy Shrimp with Jalapeno Cornbread and Garlic Aioli (Deliciously yummy!!) and the Grilled Fish Piquant/Hot & Hot Shrimp. Please visit the website link above to view the entire menu.
You will, no doubt, come away from this dining experience with a satisfied belly and a happy heart!!
Hours: Opens at 5:30pm Wednesday-Sunday, serving dinner only.
Attire: Dressy Upscale Casual, with instructions for gentlemen to remove their hats (it’s a shame this must be specified, but often times it’s necessary!).
Reservations: Highly recommended! Must call the restaurant after 1pm Wed-Sun to request reservations. No online access. You will, more than likely, speak personally with the owner, JoAnn Clevenger, and she will probably want to know all about you!! That’s part of her charm!