Parlor Pizza Bar all identity, little substance


Photo Editor

Parlor Pizza Bar all identity, little substance

By Assistant Arts & Culture Editor

Whether it is Gino’s East or Pizzeria Uno, Chicago is a city known for its pizza. The city’s signature deep-dish style put Chicago on the map as a top destination for the cheesy delicacy. But not every pizzeria lives up to the city’s reputation, and such is the case for Parlor Pizza Bar, 108 N. Green St., a neighborhood eatery that opened in early September.

Founded by the LGN Group, the entity behind Near North Side Chicago hotspots Stout Barrel House and the Cedar Hotel, the restaurant focuses too much on its concept rather than its cuisine. From the serving staff—all young women dressed in red flannel shirts, blue skinny jeans and bright red Vans shoes—to its club-like atmosphere featuring dark lighting, pounding music and close-quartered seating, Parlor Pizza Bar caters more to the Chicago hipster scene than it does to curious foodies.

Michael Bisbee, managing partner of the LGN Group and previous owner of River North nightclubs RiNo and Manor, turned his eyes toward the restaurant business with Parlor Pizza Bar. His background shows, as the clubby restaurant is dimly lit and has an ambience that makes it impossible to enjoy a meal and converse with other patrons. 

The restaurant’s appetizers, referred to as  “pre-pizza,” range from the fried or grilled calamari ($12) to the Nacho Bites ($9), which include barbecue pork, black beans, avocado and chipotle cream. Parlor’s signature appetizer, the The Craziest Bread ($11), included button-busting house beer bread topped with garlic, mozzarella, shallot, scallion cream, parmesan cheese, pepperoni and cherry peppers. Although the appetizer looks like a bit much, it makes for a tasty starter.

While the restaurant does manage to hit the mark with some items, such as the wood-fired Marinara Pizza ($9), the same could not be said for other dishes. Although tasty, the Margherita Pizza ($10) was not margherita at all. The entree turned out to be a regular cheese pizza with extra leaves of basil sprinkled atop it.

The menu at Parlor Pizza is semi-expensive. The Frites ($6) may make for a delicious appetizer, but the Fried Smoked Mozzarella ($8) is really not worth the money. The starter is served with a choice of Sriracha honey mustard, chipotle ranch and parlor marinara sauce. Despite fried mozzarella hardly ever being disappointing, this starter dish does not satisfy thanks to its overly-smoked taste, which overpowers other the flavors.

While the restaurant’s food was not top-notch, Parlor’s aesthetic design was definitely eye-catching. With its full-length bars—one for alcohol and another directly beside the pizza ovens—the restaurant can accommodate more than 125 customers at a time in its trendy dining hall filled with hardwood floors and several flat-screen televisions on every wall. Parlor Pizza makes for a nice place to take some time while watching the Chicago Bears struggle every Sunday.

Parlor Pizza Bar’s location and atmosphere make it a fun place for young Chicagoans to hang out and catch a football game, but the food is nothing special. With so many other choices for incredibly delicious pizza throughout the city, Parlor Pizza Bar is just another notch in the ever-expanding belt of Chicago.