Parson's Chicken & Fish

  • Restaurants
  • American
4 Love It
1/10
Photograph: Clayton Hauck

Parson's Chicken & Fish

2/10
Photograph: Clayton Hauck

Parson's Chicken & Fish

3/10
Photograph: Clayton Hauck

Parson's Chicken & Fish

4/10
Photograph: Clayton Hauck

Parson's Chicken & Fish

5/10
Photograph: Clayton Hauck

Parson's Chicken & Fish

6/10
Photograph: Clayton Hauck

Parson's Chicken & Fish

7/10
Photograph: Clayton Hauck

Parson's Chicken & Fish

8/10
Photograph: Clayton Hauck

Parson's Chicken & Fish

9/10
Photograph: Clayton Hauck

Parson's Chicken & Fish

10/10
Photograph: Clayton Hauck

Parson's Chicken & Fish

Logan Square

Ninety minutes and two cocktails into our wait for an indoor table at Parson’s Chicken & Fish, I turned to my friend on the patio. “I almost can’t believe we’re going to get a bill at the end of the night,” I said, feeling as if we were at a casual backyard barbecue, albeit one thrown by that pal with a killer booze collection and an eclectic assortment of friends.

Parson’s is the latest project from Land and Sea Dept. (the team behind Longman & Eagle), and the company knows how to make a space with personality. The patio held everyone from tattooed couples clutching cans of cheap beer to newborns and their moms and their moms. Everyone commingles on the sprawling outdoor lot, which sports light-wood picnic tables, striped umbrellas, strings of lights, spindly trees, and ping-pong tables. We ran into people we knew, but expected to run into more—the feeling on Parson’s patio is that everyone is just a friend of a friend you haven’t met yet.

I expected to see a grill and someone calling for burger requests, but instead, servers walked by with baskets of chicken and shrimp toast. We ogled these dishes from the cabana-style bar, but there was one upside to the wait: more time for cocktails. There is a reason the Negroni slushy gained instant fame: This is a damn fine Negroni, frozen or otherwise. Bartender Charlie Schott swaps out the usual Campari in favor of Luxardo Bitter, which is less viscous and sweet, making for a balanced cocktail that goes down easy. For the margarita, Parson's eschews salt for malic acid and sugar, resulting in a rim that tastes exactly like Sour Patch Kids and provides a tart complement to the smoky mezcal.

Like an outdoor party that disperses because of rain, the fun ends when your phone buzzes and your table is ready. The interior is tiny, with just a handful of barstools and a perplexing seating option—communal U-shaped booths. The host asked us to sit side-by-side, but a pair was vacating their barstools, and we immediately jumped on them. I occasionally turned to see couples sitting next to each other at otherwise empty tables, and several groups awkwardly wedged in together. 

Chef Hunter Moore’s menu is divided into raw, fresh, and fried categories, and most dishes are $6–$8. While the chicken and fish would seem to be the highlights, they aren’t. Those would be the oysters, which are pristine and served with a lime wedge and citrus mignonette. And the lively chickpea salad, tossed with grilled octopus tentacles, fresh pea shoots, and crunchy pepitas. And the baccala (salt cod) fritters, an ideal salty bar snack. 

We had the closest seats to the kitchen and saw all the baskets of fried chicken coming out—and there were many. But while the grilled chicken, marinated with citrus, rum and habanero, is lovely and smoky, the fried chicken merely passes muster. It has a light batter without much taste, and a splash of the housemade hot sauce is not an optional condiment. The coating on the fried fish—on this occasion, pollock—was dense, but the fish sings with a dash of chili-infused vinegar. 

If there’s going to be a single dessert on the menu, it should be transformative. This was not the case with the confusing funnel cake, set atop lemon whip and sprinkled with green-peppercorn brittle. None of the flavors meshed, and while I love anything lemon, I had to ask the server what the cream even was.   

This brings us back to an earlier point: Unless that barbecue-throwing pal is also a master chef, you’re probably not going to his party for the food. You’re going for an excuse to be outside and start drinking in the early afternoon. Likewise, you’re not going to Parson’s for the food. You’re going for the convivial atmosphere, the outrageously good cocktails and that patio. While I don’t know what will happen come winter, Parson’s patio is exactly where I want to spend all summer. 

Venue name: Parson's Chicken & Fish
Contact:
Address: 2952 W Armitage
Chicago

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-2am; Sat 10am-3am; Sun 10am-2am
Transport: El stop: Blue to California (Blue). Bus: 73.
Price: Average main course: $8.
Do you own this business?

Pick a date

to
  • Until Monday February 29 2016
    Read more

Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|4
2 people listening
tmjh86

I was visiting Chicago and was brought to Parson's with a bunch of work colleagues - was not disappointed!! Eating and drinking with a big group is the way to go, as we got to eat everything. Fried chicken and fish are a definite must. If you combine this with a regular stream of frozen negronis, you're in for a good night. Get in early to get a good spot!!

Erin Delahanty
moderator

This patio is THE place to spend a summer night (or hell, the whole day) in Logan Square. Start with the hush puppies and a frozen negroni and then eat your way through the whole menu while the negronis keep coming.

Madeline N

I've been to Parson's twice now and love it! They don't take reservations so you'll probably have to wait a bit to get a table if you go on the weekend, but they have plenty of seating and two ping pong tables if you wanna pick up a game. The atmosphere is definitely casual and not super rowdy. They've done a great job of making the decore retro trendy without being to hipster. The first time I ate here I was with some friends and the second was with my parents, so its enjoyable for any crowd you're catering to. My personal favorite is the Parson's hot and their frozen drinks are great!

Laura R
moderator

The patio at Parson's Chicken & Fish gets packed on summer Saturdays, but it's pretty much always worth the wait. Even if you only go to this Logan Square favorite for the negroni slushy (which of course you won't -- you'll also want some of that fried chicken goodness, but seriously, that slushy is strong and delicious), you'll have a perfect afternoon or evening out back on the picnic table under an umbrella. And you can count on the service here always being attentive and friendly.