UPTOWN DELI AND RESTAURANT
By M. Scott Morris
Don’t come to the Uptown Deli and Restaurant looking for highfalutin, hoity-toity cuisine.
“It ain’t nothing but some down-home cooked meals. A lot of people don’t get that every day. It’s something to fill you up,” said Charlene Daniels, manager of the restaurant located at the corner of Spring Street and Sherwood Avenue.
Daniels has been cooking this kind of food since she was 12 years old.
“I started out watching my mom in the kitchen and I just learned from her mostly,” Daniels said.
Apparently Daniels’ mother taught a seat-of-your pants style of cooking.
“I don’t usually go by a recipe,” Daniels said. “I usually do my own thing in the kitchen and it turns out pretty good.” Give her a piece of chicken or some ground beef to work with and Daniels is happy to oblige.
The deli offers two meat dishes to choose from each day. Depending on when you visit, expect to find pork chops, roast beef, rib tips, smoked chicken or other down-home favorites.
The vegetable selections alter from day to day. The Southern-style vegetables include such items as fried okra, green beans, purple hull peas, creamed potatoes, turnip greens and a good supply of others.
The homemade desserts include mostly cobblers, banana pudding and cakes.
“I don’t believe there are too many places in town where you can get a meat and two vegetables for $2.99,” said Charles Kelly, co-owner of the Uptown Deli and Restaurant as well as the Uptown Grocery and Market.
Kelly highlighted the fact that the cooks at the Uptown Deli will fix your eggs any style you want for $1.99 during the breakfast rush from 7 to 10 a.m.
Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition to the plate lunches, barbecue ribs, pulled barbecue, fried chicken and cheeseburgers are on the menu every day.
“We also have our salads every day,” said Daniels, referring to the selection of potato salad, macaroni salad, cucumber salad and cole slaw.
Emily Ruth Prude is responsible for coming in early each day to prepare for the breakfast crowd.
“I cook for breakfast and lunch. I do it all,” Prude said. “I cook at home, too, after I leave here.”
Jerry Kimble sits down to lunch at the Uptown Deli pretty much every day.
“The pinto beans keep bringing me back,” Kimble said.
Annice Patton, who specializes in making creamed potatoes and cornbread at the restaurant, said Kimble certainly doesn’t limit himself to the beans.
“He eats about six rolls and four pieces of cornbread every time he comes in here,” Patton teased.
The downtown location is handy for a diverse crowd. Folks from the old courthouse, the Lee County Justice Center and the city and county jails often stop by to sample the menu, Daniels said.
“I eat here whenever I’m working in the area,” said Herman Martin of Tupelo, who takes care of property in the area. “I’m close by, and it’s a good place to eat. You get your money’s worth.”
You don’t have to be close by: the deli caters company picnics and other events.
The restaurant is open Monday through Friday. “We used to be open on Saturday but we didn’t get enough customers,” Daniels said.
If you must have some Uptown Deli pork chops and turnip greens on Saturday, there’s no reason to panic. Just go out and commit a minor crime.
“We cater the (Tupelo City Jail) for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Daniels said.