First look: Parisi reopens after massive renovations
Parisi Italian Market & Deli reopened last Thursday after closing for two weeks to renovate its space at 4401 Tennyson Street. The new quarters, designed by Semple Brown, boast an additional 24 seats, beetle-kill pine lumber, putty-colored booths, and a new, rough-hewn bar, constructed from decades-old truss wood, that features a full syllabus of spirits, plus six tap beers and four keg wines, in addition to bottles -- and soon, you'll be able to imbibe barrel-aged cocktails.
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The prepared foods display case, which previously occupied a large portion of the space, is gone completely, although the gelato case is still in full view, and there's a small retail section near the front door that's shelved with dried pastas, olive oils and vinegars and other Italian pantry staples. But for the most part, Parisi has morphed into a full-fledged restaurant that's undergone a sweeping, modern makeover.
"It's the third generation of Parisi, and every five years or so, it's important to update it," says owner Simone Parisi, who opened the first Parisi in 1998, where Cafe Brazil is now located. "The best part about this space is that it's so open, and I can see every single face that's sitting down, and that's a very cool thing," he adds.
Parisi replaced just about everything in the restaurant, save for the wood-fired brick oven that's now the focal point of the expansive open kitchen, which is surrounded by stools. "I think the whole restaurant is really beautiful, and the fact that we basically knocked it and reopened in two weeks, is just amazing to me," says Parisi, who also invested in a wood-burning grill. And 60 percent of what's on his expanded menu, he notes, is now cooked over hickory -- and finished with apple and cherry woods.
Parisi also tells me that he's contemplating opening on Sunday so he can serve brunch and family-style suppers. "I think we need to be open on Sundays -- our guests keep asking us to make that happen -- so we're definitely thinking about it," he reveals.
In the meantime, here's a look at the facelift:
Danielle Lirette Lori Midson Danielle Lirette