When I was recently home in Chicago, my brother, a reliable food compass, insisted on taking my vegan sisters and I to Parson’s Chicken and Fish. I had already had a peek at the menu, whose Po’boy sandwich excited my taste buds and imagination. I’d never had a Po’boy, but visions of New Orleans and the sounds of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess danced in my head.
Set in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, which is not completely gentrified ‘yet,’ is a re-done corner storefront. The owners have made good use of the former parking lot outside, which serves as a relaxed patio in the summer, and an ice rink in the winter.
After being seated at a cramped table with uncomfortable chairs, we turned our focus to the food, which has been described as elevated shack food. The menu is divided into ‘fresh’ and ‘fried’. Though ceviche and oysters representing the East and West coasts sounded promising, we felt it was a bit too early for fish, so concentrated on the fried section. We started with the hush puppies, pillowy balls of cornbread, scallion, ham hock, and cream cheese served alongside harissa aioli.
Next, I had the highly recommended famous chicken sandwich, which consists of fried Amish chicken thighs sandwiched between bread and served with aioli, pickles, and American cheese alongside house made potato chips. At Parson’s, they brine the birds for 12 hours. Then, fry them in a chili-spiked buttermilk-flour batter. The result is an extremely crispy shell around the juicy meat. The Mexican family seated behind us shared a whole chicken.
The meal didn’t really need a side, but we had baked beans [‘navy beans, brown sugar molasses, cider vinegar, San Marzano tomatoes’] and didn’t regret it one bit.
The vegans of our group enjoyed the vegetable club sandwich, which looked hearty and fresh. In the end, we managed to squeeze in fluffy buttermilk pancakes, which were some of the best I have ever had. Parson’s offers drinks, too. The Bloody Marys are strong and spicy. Their signature drink, however, is a bitter Negroni slushy that churns away in a Slurpee-style machine behind the retro eight-seat bar.
Serves food until 1am.
2952 West Armitage Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60647