"If you can eat at only one fine restaurant in
New Orleans, make it the Upperline. "

Southern Living / Travel South

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4 Beans !!!
Brett Anderson
Times-Picayune
August 24, 2012

Staff/History

joannThe original meaning of the word ‘restaurant’ was ‘to restore’ and, says JoAnn Clevenger, “Restaurants were originally more than just a place to find a meal; restaurants existed to soothe and bolster the weary soul with comfort and indulgence. Like the earliest restaurants, my goal for the Upperline is to be a haven for our guests, restoring their serenity after the daily hassles of the world with great Louisiana food, serious wine, and Creole hospitality.” But Upperline is more than just a restaurant, it is a way of life and a strong fixture in the local community. From festivals and charity fundraisers, to theme dinners and business etiquette courses for some of New Orleans’ most renowned universities, there is always something going on at Upperline.

Perhaps Frommer’s Guide to New Orleans said it best, “Get out of the Quarter. Get out of the Quarter. Get out of the Quarter. Are we getting through to you? Hop on the St. Charles Avenue streetcar first thing. Admire the gorgeous homes along the way. Aside from its historical significance and interest, this neighborhood, full of fabulous houses and lush greenery, is just plain beautiful. At night, sample what’s new and happening in New Orleans cooking. We recommend the more-or-less contemporary Creole food at the Upperline. Today you must begin to see what else New Orleans has to offer.”

chefkenDave Bridges is Upperline’s executive chef.

I was born and raised in New Orleans. The earliest memories I have of my compulsion for cuisine have to do with an Easy Bake Oven. Being the youngest of 5 delinquent boys, there was no way in hell I was ever going to admit wanting one for Christmas. All of the marketing schemes by the diabolical conglomerate known as Hasbro, refused to acknowledge the fact that maybe a boy would like to bake a few brownies under a light bulb too. On TV it was girls and on the box it was girls. The choice lay clearly before me. Light bulb lit brownies or get my butt lit up by my older vagrant brothers. I have never been one with enough will to say “no” to a delicious chewy chocolate delight. It was surely worth it!

I own over 1000 cookbooks. If we were to have dinner together in my home, you could point to any cookbook and I could tell you something about it. Perhaps I may be some sort of idiot savant? But self-diagnoseis really isn’t my thing. I cannot even recite my parents or my siblings birthdays. It’s just this vast collection of cookbooks paired with a personality teetering on that same culinary compulsion that gives me such a great insight into what makes a truly great meal. I have a love of cuisine that has brought me to the pinnacle of my happiness as well as the cement boots that carried me to the bottom.

I am in the eternal search for truth in cuisine and my life through the medium of my blog www.TheRooterToTheTooter.com. Amongst simplicity, there is no cloak for excellence. Which is why I am such a good fit for The Upperline Restaurant.

For a retrospective look at Upperline, visit our original site HERE.