WEST TOWN — Months before the coronavirus pandemic hit Chicago, the team behind Parson’s Chicken & Fish signed a lease to take over a vacant building in Ukrainian Village.
But when the hospitality industry ground to a halt in March 2020, so did work at 2109 W. Chicago Ave., the former home of Old Oak Tap and The Rookery.
But the Parson’s team powered through, and after a soft opening for family and friends Tuesday and Wednesday, Parson’s West Town will finally open to the public Thursday.
“We’re excited about being in the neighborhood,” co-owner Robert McAdams said. “It’s definitely a new and different West Town, with all the art galleries going in. We’re excited.”
Parson’s is famous for its fried chicken and Negroni slushies and is part of the Land and Sea Dept. group, which includes Logan Square’s Lost Lake, Lonesome Rose, Longman and Eagle, Milk Room and other businesses.
The West Town location’s Thursday opening was first reported by the Tribune. Parson’s is also planning an Andersonville location and anticipates a May opening.
The Parson team replaced The Rookery’s heavy furnishings and dark interior with bright white exposed brick and tile, lightly stained wood and splashes of red and orange.
The Parson’s team also opened up the top floor of the building, which will eventually have arcade games, McAdams said.
The company plans to decrease the size of the Lincoln Park Parson’s bar. Once that happens, the West Town bar will be Parson’s largest, McAdams said.
The pandemic did more than just slow down the timeline for Parson’s West Town expansion. Banks pulled their funding, which meant the company had to get creative.
McAdams went back to his roots in wood work. He teamed up with others at the Land and Sea Dept. to sand their own wood and build the restaurant piece by piece.
An employee who tiled his home’s bathroom during the pandemic — his first ever tiling project — was tapped to tile the restaurant’s entire back wall. Doing everything by hand made the West Town location the “best-looking Parson’s,” McAdams said.
“We did everything ourselves,” McAdams said. “It’s all about survival.”
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