Note: First Looks give previews of new dishes, drinks, and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots and interviews with restaurants, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.
One could be forgiven for passing by Parson's Chicken & Fish in Logan Square and thinking it's just some random fried food joint. Located at the corner of Armitage and Humboldt Boulevard, it's housed in a building that suspiciously looks like one (and could have been in years past). Plus, there's that name, which doesn't exactly stand out when you Google it. So why did I, along with hundreds of other people, rush to visit on opening weekend to eat fried food in cramped communal tables?
That's easy. Parson's is the latest project by the folks behind Longman & Eagle, which every publication, including ours, absolutely adores. Which means that there are some serious expectations for this little restaurant. But if chef Hunter Moore is nervous, he doesn't seem to let on when I chatted with him about the menu.
"The cool thing about fried chicken is that everyone has this special connection to it," says Moore. He grew up in Florida eating fried chicken on Sunday, but instead of trying to mimic the chicken of his youth, he just tried to make the best version he could. "You're not going to be like 'This is exactly like my mother's or some place in Tennesse,' because everyone has their own idea of fried chicken, based on what they ate growing up." The result is chicken that is dark brown, crunchy, and very juicy.
As the name suggests, fish is also a big part of the menu. Along with fried fish, which features a light tempura-style batter, there are a range of raw seafood dishes. "I wanted to have some balance," says Moore. "That's why we have the oysters, hirame, and yellowtail on the menu."
While the inside is fairly small, Parson's has one of the largest outdoor spaces I've seen in the city. Dozens of picnic tables are scattered around, with a couple of trees thrown in for good measure. Currently, you can only eat inside, but drinking is another matter. In the middle of the space is an enormous bar, where you can order much of the restaurant's epic drink menu, including a Negroni slushy (yes, you read that right).
Parson's Chicken & Fish
2952 W Armitage St.