Big Shirleys of New Orleans
5222 Elysian Fields Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70122
Every so often, I feel the need to have a down-home cooked lunch. Suddenly, Big Shirleys of New Orleans came to mind. I have heard their advertisement frequently on the radio and decided this would be the day that I paid them a visit. My party and I were quickly greeted at the door by a very tall gentleman. With a straight face he asked were we sent over by the radio station to answer the question that would net the $1,000.00 check for the restaurant sponsored contest. I quickly asked what the question was. He stated, “How many midgets can you put in a Volkswagen?” My response was “as many as you have.” He laughed and said you answered correctly but I don’t have the check. Enough of the small talk, I was ready to take on the task I had ventured out for “eating a home-cooked” lunch. He offered us the Obama table, but I opted out because who knows, it is campaign time and Mr. President may be in the neighborhood.
My party and I pondered on the menu not knowing what to order. The tall gentlemen pulled up a chair while we read the menu over and over again. Trying to divert his attention away from the time we were spending trying to make a decision, I asked him was Big Shirley in. He told me Big Shirley was his mom and she was not in right now. I asked did he think she would be in shortly, and he answered that she was deceased. At that moment I felt that there had been a strong connection between mother and son and that she would be forever with him in his place of business. After taking a moment to recollect myself, I settled on one of the entrees pork chops and 2 sides. My choices of sides were macaroni and cheese and yams. There was an option of having my chops grilled, barbecued, jerked, or fried. Trying to stay somewhat healthy (while ordering those fattening sides); I decided to have them grilled. Pork chops are something I hardly ever place on my “must eat list” when dining out, but I was happy I choose them.
Although the wait was quite lengthy for the amount of patrons seated, I felt it was worth it. My plate arrived with not one, but two boneless chops grilled to perfection just for me. Also on the plate in separate containers were my sides, all surrounded by sprinkles of parsley. The mac and cheese and yams were delicious, but would have been knocked up a notch if they were just a little bit warmer. No meal to me is complete without bread, which I requested and was not charged for. I was given a serving of three crunchy slices of French bread, toasted with butter and sprinkled with parsley. Topping it off was a bottle of Barq’s Root Beer. It doesn’t get any better than this in New Orleans! Entrees range from $7.95 for boneless chicken breast also with order options as the pork chops to $16.95 for a seafood plate (catfish, shrimp and oysters). There are local favorites of red beans and rice, jambalaya and also blackened shrimp or chicken Alfred. Also included on the menu are 7 types of salads and 8 poor boy sandwiches. If you have room for dessert, bread pudding and a dessert special each for $3.50 is listed on the menu. Big Shirley’s is also open for breakfast from 7:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. On Friday nights, visit them for live jazz at 6:00 p.m.
I am going to contribute the length of waiting time to receive my lunch to the love and care that is given to each plate that passes over the counter to each and every customer. I am sure Big Shirley’s would have wanted it this way. Big Shirley’s receives 4 fleurs-de-lis for its taste, selection and that warm, fuzzy feeling we all need every once in a while.