Manning's Restaurant (519 Fulton St., 593-8118) also opened last week on Fulton Square, the pedestrian mall developed by Harrah's New Orleans. Archie Manning, the former New Orleans Saints quarterback, created the restaurant in partnership with Harrah's.
Naturally, sports play a big part in the program at his restaurant. Its motto, after all, is "Eat, Drink and Cheer." Manning, a one-man NFL talent development lab, is the father of both Peyton Manning and Eli Manning, and family sports memorabilia decks the halls here. Wall space should be at a premium, however, since the 210-seat restaurant has some 30 TVs, including one screen stretching 13 feet long.
The large restaurant is in a new building fitted with a balcony and courtyard. One special feature is a private seating area called the End Zone, which is furnished with 17 leather recliners and available by reservation on game days. The restaurant also has a sports anchor desk intended to host visiting media personalities and programs that broadcast from New Orleans during special events.
The chef is Anthony Spizale, a New Orleans native who previously was executive chef at the Rib Room and had a short stint last year at the Upperline Restaurant before departing for this job. Snacks and appetizers at Manning's offer some twists on familiar sports bar fare. The wings, for instance, are "gris gris duck wings" served with pepper jelly, and potato skins are made from sweet potatoes. They're also pricier than standard sports bar fare, with first courses starting at $10. There are entree salads, burgers and po-boys, including the Crystal-brined fried chicken po-boy. Entrees follow the comfort food format: meatloaf, roasted chicken, catfish, grilled fish and short rib jambalaya. Most main courses are between $11 and $17. Manning's serves lunch and dinner daily and accepts reservations.