UpperWest is inspired by the tiny neighborhood bars on the Upper West Side of New York City, where Chef and Owner Kim Courtney spent many years prior to coming to Cambridge, MA. Those cozy Upper West Side spots offer amazing cheese, charcuterie, and wine, and you can always find a local regular there to enjoy it with. Many are so small that the food is prepared right in front of you, which makes for an intimate experience. Kim decided to take this experience a step further and offer food and drink events, guest chefs, classes and demonstrations for the community.
Kim grew up in the D.C. area, and attended a high school for the arts for dance, and undergraduate school, in D.C. After a couple of years in Tokyo, Japan teaching English and working at a U.S. law firm, Kim attended law school in New York, and practiced as a litigator in New York City for many years. Seeking a break from the intensity of her position at one of the largest law firms in the world, Skadden Arps, Kim decided to change career paths and pursue her interest in food. She still practices law on the side, mostly pro bono, at Courtney Law in Cambridge, MA.
Among her varied restaurant experience, Kim trained with well respected Chef Tom Valenti in New York City at the French restaurant Ouest. Her experience in Cambridge, MA includes brief stage at Rialto, and Harvest. She then accepted a position at Ten Tables working with Chef Ben Lacy.
Kim has lived in Spain, in Granada and Madrid, and spent significant time in northern Italy. She also spent a couple of years teaching English in Japan. Her menu at UpperWest has a particular focus on Spanish and Italian food and wine. In addition to welcoming Guest Chefs to offer specials and dinners, Kim also offers specials such as cold smoked salmon, hand made pastas, and braised meats.
Kim's vision for UpperWest began on the Upper West Side of New York City, but the concept came to fruition with her partner Xavier Dietrich through their exploration of the local food scene in the Boston area, and getting to know local food entrepreneurs through the Food Business Association, which they started in 2013.